Friday, April 13, 2012

3Defence's Mission

I created 3Defence because 3D cinema deserves better analysis than it's got in the years since Avatar's release. In early 2010, the film reviewing community seemed to be singing along with James Cameron, "the future's so bright I gotta wear shades". Sadly, the lustre wore off quickly. Two years on, it now feels like the 3D technique is considered, by film critics at least, to be dead in the water and barely able to be resuscitated by the likes of Scott, Scorsese and Spielberg. Venerable and respected reviewers often write flip statements, urging their readers to see the 2D version of a film, without providing justification or context about their reasoning for their preference. And you know what? I went to University to study Film and its history, and I expect more than this crass "reviewing" from our leading practitioners in film criticism.

More than a century into its existence, Film is undergoing another metamorphosis. It's tempting, given the prior additions of montage, sound, anaglyph 3D, CinemaScope, Technicolor, CGI, 5.1 mixes etc, to think the changes happening before our eyes in 2012 are as incremental as what we've seen in the past. We should not be tempted to think this way though. The Cinema as we know it is undergoing a brutal and fundamental shift in every way possible, and we're not doing a good job of writing about what it's like to experience these changes. Movies are sent to theatres encrypted on a massive hard-drive now, and screened with clinical precision at a session time that was remotely pre-arranged and authorised online. Everything about the film-making, screening and cinema-going process has changed, but our generation's critics have so far failed to debate it in a sensible and reasoned way. We are failing future film historians. And that, my friends, is why 3Defence exists.

3Defence's mission is to:
  • Be readable, relatable, and be brimming with content that University students of the future can use
  • Take as a given that current costs associated with 3D conversion or production mean studios will likely 'play it safe' in genres that are known to be generally successful and hugely popular with the theatregoing public. i.e.: the mainstream is all we're getting for a while, and that's fine.
  • Assume an 'innocent until proven guilty' mentality for each new film's usage of the 3D technique
  • 3D conversions of a 2D-shot movie will be covered by the above rule; they're acceptable as a concept
  • Discuss the possible reasons why the 3D technique was applied the way it was
  • If we deem something to be 'bad 3D' - consider how the technique may have been better utilised. Compare similar films to help assess this.
  • Consider which is the 'definitive' version of a film: the 2D, or the 3D. To help with this, ask "if the Library of Congress had to archive only one version... which should it be?"
  • Debate whether a 2D-only film may have suited a supplementary 3D release
  • Preview upcoming technologies in film distribution that will aid and abet the release of future 3D films
So. Let's begin.

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