Monday, June 14, 2010

The 3D technonoly: history repeats itself

This year's most talked about and advertised movies went out in 3D versions. Well known directors, mainstream like Cameron and more eccentric like Burton, could not resist the tempttation to try the "new" toy? Or were they pressed by the industry to follow the vogue? Do they really think that the technology has something substanbtianal to add to their creation? 3D has become the new -have to see and have to exprerience- thing for the movie-goers. It is the newness and the peculiarity of it that attracted us buck to the theatre, but as we speak the whole thing blows away, forcing us to return to the bitter truth: cinema looses its' audience fast and 3D is just a cheap trick to win it back!
First of all 3D is by no means new. It was invented and implemented in 1952. Cinema was going through a crisis since there was a new opponent on the block, TV. Cinema had to offer something new to its customers, something that the home tv set could not do. Under these circumstances, the Cinemascope and 3D hit the theaters. Soon the audience was tired of the glasses and 3D became obsolete.
Today the same old story is happening again. Cinema is losing its' spectators due to new tv sets and dvd players with excellent image quality (flat screens, home cinema devices, blu ray dvds) and immediate availability of great number of films (torrentz). To make things worse, tickets (at least here in Greece) have gone unreasonably high. And we are going though an economic crisis! In order to be fair I have to admit that Athens has some very pretty, recently reinovated and technologically advanced theaters. It is only logical that the ticket for these theaters will be a little bit higher. In the old days though going to cinema was the cheapest way of spending your evening out. When I was teenager, couple decades back, going to the movies was something that could be easily afforded withn the limits of my week allowence. Today with almost the same amount of money that you need in order to buy a ticket, you can meet your friend for a drink on a local bar or with just a little bit more you can even have a nice dinner at a quite neibourhood taverna.
Cinema started and thrived as a cheap form of entertainmet. During the economic crisis of the '30 people would go to movies in order to dream about a better, richer and more glamorous life. The low price of the ticket allowed the low classes to enjoy two hours of escape.
Today there is a paradox. From on hand the industry tries to make movies that will please the majority. Simple sories with simple narrative that can be understood and appreciated by anyone without any special education. The ideas of the films also refer to a conservative middle class audience. There is nothing there that could possibly offend them or make them think that the world is not necessarily exacly as they imagine it. On the hand, here in Greece at least, economically the cinema has become the privilledge of a higher class, of the fewer. The rest of us have started thinking the price of the cinema and reduced our habbit of cinema going from twice or once per week to once per month or even six times per year. Lets not forget that cinema offers an entertainment that can be more or less dublicated at the comfort of your own home. In discussions of cinema afectionados one argument rises. Most of us would happily go to see a film that we consider that it worths its money. Something that is special, out of the ordinay, artistic enough and spiritually stimulating. These films demand the full attention of the spectator, a leven of attention that it is difficult to dedicate at your home where there are various distractions. We would pay in order to have the opportunity to enjoy something among a bigger audience, enhancing the experience by the mutual reactions of the crowd and the fired discussions at the ailes of the theatre that usually follow these rare and special films. We do not feel that the newest blockbasdter deserves its ticket price. We can always watch that at our house eating pizza and discussing among ourselves. We wouldnt' miss something major that would not allow us to undertand what is happening in the film. Moreover 3D definetely does not worth the ticket value. You see it once and your curiosity is satisfied.
If cinema wants to gain its customer back 3d just doestn cut it! It needs to lower its price and offer more variety, new ideas diversity.

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