The Coast movie braintrust---Molly Segal, Matt Semanksy and myself, film editor
Carsten Knox---has discussed this recent trend of older movies being released in 3D. We've decided to not review them.
That's included Disney's Beauty and the Beast
and this week's rerelease of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The reasons for not reviewing them are manifold.
For starters, these are movies that have been in the public consciousness for years. Critical thought on them is easy to find, both locally and out there on the interwebs.
Secondly, there is an ongoing discussion right now about the difference betweem 3D movies made utilizing 3D cameras as part of the concept of the thing and movies that are retrofitted for 3D after the fact. Even those who really love the technology providing an illusion of extra depth are critical of 3D as a post-production effect. Movies such as Clash of the Titans
were turned 3D retroactively to the detriment of the film, by many estimates. So are we taking a political stand against retroactive 3D? Not necessarily, but neither are we rushing to embrace it.
Thirdly, what is a reviewer going to tell you about the cinematic experience at these 3D rereleases? There's certainly a part of the job that requires some awareness of the technical bells and whistles, how it was made and how it's being experienced. But asking a reviewer to revisit a film which is changed only by being in 3D hardly seems like a useful application of his or her skills. It's the same reason a reviewer wouldn't necessarily go to Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
in IMAX to review it. Yes, it will increase the spectacle of the experience with a bigger image, more dynamic sound, but there is a standard of quality measured in your average screening space that should define a moviegoing experience.
Which leads me to, finally, the fact that we're kind of waiting to see how this plays out. Perhaps this trend of rereleasing older films in 3D will quickly vanish if audiences don't show up, or perhaps it will linger like the smell of burned toast. One of us is a big supporter of Jim Cameron's Titanic
, which will be rereleased in 3D in April. We are sure to revisit this policy then.
So, in the meantime, we're putting it out to you. Do you want to read a review of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
in 3D, even if the review discusses only whether Jar-Jar leaping off the screen much improves the experience?