A week and a half ago on a Friday afternoon, I went with a group of my co-workers for a movie and drinks to celebrate and thank my boss who, after five years at the company, was moving on to a new opportunity.  (He was employee #2 at the company, and was largely responsible for building the company from the ground up.)

We went to see The Green Hornet.  The movie itself was epic in its atrociousness.  It was poorly written, horrendously acted, unimaginative in its cinematography, sloppily edited, had poorly balanced sound, and had one of the most irritating leading men ever to grace the silver screen.  But above and beyond that, the movie had one giant, fatal flaw.

It was in 3D.

And that cinematic experience was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.  It caused me to make an important life choice: I WILL NEVER set foot inside a movie theater to watch a 3D movie for as long as I live. 

Whether or not you believe in evolution or whether you believe in creation, or some combination of the two, our eyes and brains have not developed to process movies that are displayed utilizing the tricks that 3D films utilize.  (For a thorough and fascinating article about why the eyes and brain don’t process 3D movies well, check out this blog post by Roger Ebert, and Academy Award-winning editor and sound designer, Walter Murch.)  If God had wanted us to watch movies in 3D, he would have built our eyes different.  And, quite frankly, I’m not interested in sticking around for the millions of years it will take for our eyes and brains to evolve to see 3D movies correctly.  (Quite frankly, I don’t think I could stand to watch that many summer blockbusters.)

Watching a movie in 3D is essentially watching a movie in a dark room with sunglasses on.  For those photography enthusiasts out there, 3D glasses actually darken the image by 1 full f-stop.  It’s like watching through a strong neutral density filter.  Many people, myself included, get terrible headaches or eye strain from watching 3D movies.  Some people physically can’t even see 3D images.  Also, many people, myself included, wear glasses in daily life (due to discomfort issues with contacts and the needed ability to remove the glasses for reading.  (I can’t read with my glasses or contacts in.)  So, I have to wear my scratched, warped, and previously worn sunglasses over top of my regular glasses, which is exceptionally uncomfortable. 

But worst of all, perhaps, is that displaying the movies in 3D does not improve the quality of the movie-going experience.  I have seen perhaps 20 films in 3D over the last 6 years.  I saw one of the very first films to be released in RealD 3D, Monster House.  Never once have I left the theater glad that I paid an extra 2-3 dollars to see the film in 3D.  Usually, I leave the theater crabby and with a throbbing headache.   Even Avatar, the movie that everyone says was “3D done right” was still a crappy movie.  If I’m going to suffer for my art, I want it to be art.  Nobody likes to suffer for schlock.

All of this would be a minor quibble except for one thing: if a movie is released in 3D, most theaters have stopped showing the regular, 2D version of the film entirely.  When Tangled came out recently, I had to go out of my way to find a theater that didn’t play the 3D version, and I ended up driving an extra 10 miles in order to do so.  (Yes, I know this is a first world problem.  But I live in the first world.  And I’m crabbier than usual because it’s January.  So shut up.)

So, I am taking this opportunity to publicly take a stand, and to invite others to do the same.  Hollywood, starting now, I will NEVER set foot inside a movie theater in order to watch a 3D movie again.  I will never pay extra to watch a movie projected in 3D.  I will never again don those stupid, ugly, scratched up glasses over my regular, everyday glasses.  I will never willing pay extra to watch movies through what are, in essence, sunglasses.  It’s not going to happen.

I love going to the theater to watch movies.  Love it.  I’ve loved it since the day I turned 16 years old, got my driver’s license, and drove Jeff, Jamelah, and I to Jackson, Michigan to watch a movie in the cineplex behind Paka Plaza.  Even when I was broke, I went to movies.  I have seen more movies in the theater in the last 16 years than most people will see in their lifetime.  I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on movie tickets in my lifetime.  But until this 3D trend stops, you’re going to be seeing less and less of me all the time.

I have a very nice television and a very nice sound system at home.  I have a Netflix membership with Blu-Ray discs.  There’s not a movie in this world that I need to see so badly I can’t just wait until it comes out on disc at watch in the comfort of my own home.  I would prefer to go see my movies in the theater.  But as long as they keep foisting $15 3D movies on me against my will, I’ll just stay at home.

With Hollywood, money talks.  So here’s my money leaving.  Stop showing 3D movies (exclusively) and I’ll start coming back to the theaters.  I’ll give you my money.  I will even buy your LUDICROUSLY overpriced concessions on occasion.  But never again will a 3D movie get any of my money or my time.

Fellow movie-goers, do the right thing and join me in my boycott of the 3D movie.

  • mukluk

    Reading this makes me want to convince/trick you to go to a 3D movie with me, just to see if I could do it…except I hate them too. :)

  • I went and saw True Grit and the three closest theaters only had it in 3D. Essentially we paid extra for something that added zero value to the enjoyment of the movie. 3D is a total waste, for sure.

  • Fink

    3D movies blow. It can be interesting for some sequences where your traveling through a bunch of flashy, epic crap–but usually it adds nothing to the experience. I think it actually makes movies less engrossing. To hell with them!