3D: The New “Bullet Time”?

There has been a quick proliferation of 3D in movies today. No matter what your stance is on it, it cannot be denied that 3D has exploded in the last two years, thanks mostly to the success of Avatar. Since Avatar is the highest grossing movie in history, studios have hopped on the 3D train in the hope of somehow replicating that success.

A similar tend that springs to mind is how many movies used “bullet time” and the “360 pan” technique after The Matrix came out. The Matrix was the first movie of the 2000’s to utilize the incredibly slow motion “bullet time” mechanic that allowed the viewer to watch bullets fly, follow them in flight closely, and view the dramatic impacts  on scenery and characters alike. The Matrix also pioneered the “360 pan”, where the camera would rapidly pan around the character in a circle, usually while they are slowly engaged in something exciting.

After it was universally confirmed that these techniques were cool and exciting, almost every single action movie in the decade since has attempted to insert them ino their films, although most still can’t showcase it as well as The Matrix did a decade ago.

Are these trends the inevitable growth of the industry as a certain filmmaking technique is made successful? Maybe.

The 3D trend, like the “bullet time” trend before it, seems to be using the presence of a revolutionary film in the hope of a quick cash in. It’s derivative. What’s more, the consumer is exploited by being charged more for faux 3D, while the studios forgo quality in exchage for gimmicks. The line between “homage” and “safe concept” is one that is very thin.

No matter what it’s potential application is, I think it’s safe to say that the 3D trend is something that can take away from the quality of movies. If each studio committed to building their movies around this technology like James Cameron did, it wouldn’t be a problem, and we’d have awesome and technologically advanced films to watch.

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