Transformers: Dark of the Moon

(2011)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Christy and Ignatiy: 3D - What is the Use?

Transcript for Christy and Ignatiy: 3D - What is the Use?

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Is there a use for 3D?
 
IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Well, I tend to take a more positive view of 3-D than Roger does. Or you [pointing at Christy] for that matter—I think regular viewers of the show are very familiar with Christy’s often-repeated phrase “now, it didn’t need to be in 3D.”

CHRISTY:
Cause it doesn’t.

IGNATIY:
Well, personally, I think that 3D is a powerful technology with tremendous potential. But we’re still trying to figure out what that potential is. The big issue isn’t whether or not 3D plays to the strengths of the medium—I mean, the technology of filmmaking has changed so dramatically over the decades, I think an extra dimension isn’t going to destroy it—but what exactly the use of 3D is. For now, it’s mostly a gimmick—it could be more, but we’ll get to that later.
 
CLIP

3D movies were made as far back as the 1930s, and we saw some crazes for 3-D—nothing like what's going on right now—in the early 1950s and again in the 1970s. The classic 3D movie that best shows how to use the 3D gimmick is House of Wax, from 1953. It's a lurid horror movie, and it uses 3D to surprise its audience. Objects pop into the foreground like monsters in a haunted house. 3D is great for highlighting a particular moment or a particular object—even if it's a paddleball—and drawing an audience's attention to it.

CLIP

Now, I’m rather fond of THE GREEN HORNET, which Christy doesn’t really like at all. It’s one of the movies that was shot in 2D and then converted to 3D, which should be a strike against it. But the director, Michel Gondry, makes very imaginative use of 3D’s ability to “pop out” in a few sequences, achieving effects that would be impossible in 2D.

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My favorite of these effects is a dissolve where one shot melts into the next, two different planes of view co-exist on the screen at the same time. Sure, it’s a gimmick, and it’s really got nothing to do with what’s going on in the plot of the movie, but I think it’s quite beautiful.

CHRISTY:
I don’t know so many movies come out every year in 3D, whether they need to be in 3D or not, whether the 3D actually is germane to the narrative or what’s happening with the characters. Like you look at something like THOR. Right. Kenneth Branagh directed it--big action movie, and the use of 3D is kind of baffling to me sometimes like I would often do the thing that I do where I lift my glasses up to see what’s in 2D and what’s in 3D. There’s a scene where Stellan Skarsgard and Chris Hemsworth are drinking in a bar.

IGNATIY:
Yeah.

CHRISTY:
And whoever is sitting in the foreground is in 3D. Like how is that useful? How does that make us feel like we’re hanging out with these guys? Is that what it’s meant to do? I don’t know, or is it just because,”Okay, it’s in 3D so something has to be in 3D, so let’s pop this out.” I don’t know what the thought process is there.

IGNATIY:
Well, I think because so many filmmakers treat it as a gimmick when there isn’t a big action scene, when there isn’t like a spaceship hurdling towards the camera or something; they don’t really know what to do with it. I think when used, you know, for example to pop something out. It can be really effective. Now, GREEN LANTERN is not really a very good movie, and often the 3D doesn’t look all that good, but during the opening sequences; a lot of it, it looks almost like a pop-up picture book, like, a cross between a pop-up picture book and a, a comic book really. These comic book panel style images that are popping out of the viewer. I think it’s very effective.

CHRISTY:
But then a lot of it, a lot it takes place in space, in the darkness, at night and then the glasses make it ever darker so it’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on.
 
CHRISTY:
So now that we’ve discovered some uses for 3D, are there cases where it works better than its 2D counterparts? Very infrequently. I'm not a fan of it for the most part -- I find it needless for viewers. And it's essentially an excuse to charge more money at the box office, especially during the summer, when there seems to be a new movie coming out in 3D every week. But there are some movies that have come out in the past few years that are in 3D, and it's actually worked for me.

CLIP
 
CHRISTY:
The main film that comes to mind is one that isn't trying so hard to be artsy -- and that's "Piranha 3D." Now people were shocked when I gave this movie a rave last summer -- three and a half stars out of four. But I had a blast watching it, and it seemed like the people involved had a blast making it. "Piranha 3D" knows exactly what it is and it just goes for it -- it wallows in the gimmickry. I mean, the title tells you everything you need to know. It's about piranhas ... in 3-D.

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CHRISTY:
On the other end of the artistic spectrum, I really enjoyed the Werner Herzog documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams." Here, the 3-D is actually germane to the story, and not an afterthought. Herzog takes you inside a French cave that's been sealed off for many thousands of years. But researchers found pristine drawings -- the most ancient visual art known to have been made by mankind. Shooting it all in 3-D heightens the sense of immersion and magnifies the tactile nature of these discoveries.

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CHRISTY:
But way too often, we get movies that were originally shot in 2-D and then converted to 3-D -- which always looks lousy. "Clash of the Titans" is probably the most infamous example of this, but I was even more appalled by M. Night Shyamalan's, "The Last Airbender." It just looked dark, murky and muddled -- which didn't help the incomprehensible storytelling.  Just take a look at this clip. Even in 2D, you can hardly make out what’s going on
.

CLIP (toward the end there’s a giant wave the kid has his arms up)

CHRISTY:
So are there times where you think 3D is more useful than 2D?

IGNATIY:
Well, Christy I have a little present for you. I know how much you love TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON. This is a pair of 3D glasses in the shape of Optimus Prime’s head. This is to protect your brain from the movie.

CHRISTY:
Oh is that what it’s for? I was wondering. I have one for you as well. It’s Bumblebee. He’s not quite so powerful as Optimus Prime, but he has a good heart.

IGNATIY:
Nobody wants to be Bumblebee.

CHRISTY:
He’s a nice guy. He’s a happy sweet talking car.

IGNATIY:
All right, I think TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is a great example of how much you can do with 3D and a case where 3D is doing something that you certainly cannot do with 2D. It’s a film that I don’t think I would have liked as much seeing it in 2D, and just the things that Michael Bay is doing with these 3D images; and I don’t just mean, you know, these big set pieces, the collapsing office builiding or the destruction of Chicago. For example, he uses lense flares in 3D, which no one has really done. And the most interesting thing about it is that the lense actually becomes something that you physically see. When the light flares off of the lense, it’s the, kind of the, closest thing to you and the 3D is what’s popping out at you.

CHRISTY:
Well, you do get the sense in TRANSFORMERS that Michael Bay actually had 3D in mind every step of the way versus a lot of films where it’s just an afterthought, and it’s just a gimmick that they stuck on there to make more money.

IGNATIY:
It’s not the greatest film ever made by any means.

CHRISTY:
It’s not? It’s the best of the three TRANSFORMERS movies.

IGNATIY:
It is the best of the three TRANSFORMERS movies, but that really shows what can be done with 3D. That you really cannot do with 2D.

CHRISTY:
Rosie Hunting-Whiteley’s butt in 3D. Good use of technology there.