3D Blu Ray Players... Are They Worth It?
Feature: Tempted to purchase a high-end 3D Blu-ray player? Read on!
Hey, look, its like it’s coming right at me! 3D has a long, sad history of being, at worst, a dumb gimmick aimed at elevating extremely mediocre films to the level of wonderful events and at best, a recurring Hollywood ‘get rich quick’ scheme. For the majority of its bespoke history, 3D has sucked. But has the time finally come to let cubic’s arrow take aim, or is it still hip to be square? (OK, I know that was bad). We threatened our reviewer that we could ‘make it look like an accident’ until he agreed to investigate...
A POTTED HISTORY OF 3D
In the 1890’s (yes, that far back), a bloke called William Friese Greene (who invented an incredible amount of things including, by some accounts, cinematography) came up with a process that created 3D images. Fast forward to 1915 and an American named Edwin Porter was producing test images in the familiar red and green mode.
By the 1920’s, 3D films were being shown at reasonably regular intervals, but then the stock market crashed and it sort of got ‘put on the back burner’ while people lived under rolls of newspaper in public parks and/or leapt headfirst out of windows.
There was some progress in the mid 30’s, notably by Edwin Land, who came up with a new method of presentation whilst at University...(Frankly, all I came up with at Uni was a bunch of new ways to cook super noodles, and even then I wouldn’t recommend them to others).
As the 40’s rolled around, 3D seemed to be coming back, but then World War Two came along and buggered it all up. After that, people were much too busy being bombed all night to even think about new ways to watch movies.
Then came the 1950’s and 3D finally arrived as a viable form of mainstream entertainment...Sort of. 3D movies like ‘Man in the Dark’ (which, judging from the title, could easily have been a hoax), ‘House of Wax’ and ‘The Mad Magician’ (or ‘Harry Potter: Episode 1’) drew audiences to the cinema with renewed vigour. By the time ‘It Came From Outer Space’ (never a more perfect title) and ‘The House on Haunted Hill’ turned up in theatres, the craze had subsided and people were sick of it. 3D was expensive to produce and, frankly, it wasn’t very good.
After that, numerous attempts were made to make 3D cool again. In the 80’s,
‘Friday the 13th 3-D’ and ‘Jaws 3-D’ were both a bit silly and have mostly been consigned to the ‘so bad its good’ category. 3D popped up here and there in the 80’s and 90’s, before, digital 3D finally became a genuine commercial prospect in the early 2000’s.
THE ADVENT OF 3D BLU RAY
At the end of the last decade, 3D Blu Ray became a reality. This meant that for the first time ever, 3D films could be made and distributed, easily and cheaply, for home use.
Today, even video games are getting in on the act, with Nintendo releasing the 3DS, a handheld up-grade of the DS that creates three dimensional worlds without needing glasses (for the curious, see ‘Autostereoscopy’).
3D is at last being taken seriously as a creative and commercial force. Movies released in
3D routinely gross more revenue than films that are ‘limited’ to two dimensions and modern filmmakers regularly shoot from certain angles that will create greater depth or field of vision for an audience watching in 3D.
There is an argument to be made that movies of this decade are being designed for 3D and that a 2D showing is missing out on the original creative intention.
SO...IS IT WORTH MY MONEY?
This is a highly subjective and greatly polarizing point. For some, 3D Blu Ray completes their viewing experience. Modern 3D is legitimately impressive and some movies (even those of questionable quality such as ‘Pirates of The Caribbean 4’ or ‘Transformers’) are rendered completely jaw dropping in 3D. James Cameron produced 3D’s first bona-fide mainstream classic with 2009’s ‘Avatar’ and since then, 3D has really mattered.
The question is, does it matter to you? If you don’t feel the need to see movies in 3D, if good old 2D is enough for you, then stick with the devil you know. Personally, I wouldn’t blame you. If, however, you’re looking for some assurance that 3D is here to stay, then I think its safe to say that it will be around for a bit longer this time. Will it stay forever? I don’t know. People might get sick of it and backlash against it eventually, but even if they do, a 3D Blu Ray player will still work in 2D. It is, as ever, up to you the viewer what you choose to watch.
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