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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Opinion

3-D effects typically prove unnecessary to overall movie quality


Hollywood: land of the stars, fame and lots of money. Greed and excess are also used to describe the place as well, and one of the most recent symptoms is the obsession with 3-D everything.

Imagine your first time seeing “Avatar” in theaters. Although you may have thought the plot was just “Dances with Wolves” and “Aliens,” the visual effects were an eye-opener for many viewers into how amazing our movies could be.

Instead, we’ve been treated to a selection of abominations such as the re-mastering of “Star Wars,” “The Last Airbender” and “The Green Lantern.” Now, I don’t hate all of these examples — I enjoyed some. But a consistent problem throughout these examples is that 3-D and CGI effects are misused, abused and overused.

Whether it’s the “The Green Lantern’s” CGI mask or the 3-D effects in “Alice in Wonderland,” many movies add in unnecessary and poorly done special effects, often in hopes of boosting ticket sales. Many times, 3-D effects are added in post-production to increase the costs of tickets.

The dispute between fans and George Lucas on whether Han shot first is an early example of how fans can be easily angered by special effects usage, and the disregard from those in Hollywood towards its viewers.

Although the scene was changed in 1997, George Lucas tried defending his changes in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter as recently as 2012, stating that Han never shot first, even in the original version. This statement further angered fans, who still insist that Han did shoot first, or at least that the ambiguity suited the character better.

Even more telling is Lucas’ insistence that his changes are minor. “It’s a movie, just a movie,” has too long been his response to anger from fans.

“The Last Airbender,” “Star Wars” and “Alice in Wonderland” are proof enough that classic works are never considered holy to Hollywood when it comes to poor additions of special effects, but recently the trailer for “Peanuts” announced that it would be released in 3-D as well.

I’m not saying “Peanuts” will be a bomb at the box office, or that I think it will be bad. In fact, I hope it will be good, and I think it has a good chance at success.

Craig Schulz, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz’s son, insists the movie will be authentic to his father’s legacy.

In an interview with USA Today, he said the film’s plot is being kept under wraps but that it will explore “traditionally imagined realms such as Snoopy’s World War I fighter-pilot adventures.”

That’s something I’ll never complain about.

However, the problem comes with Hollywood wasting part of the budget on an aspect that is completely unnecessary to the quality of a classic such as “Peanuts.”

Because producers hope to make more money at the box office, money that should be going to hire better writers and animators will be going to a gimmicky effect. Perhaps we will get to see Woodstock or Snoopy run into the screen, but the great special effects aren’t why I ever watched or read “Peanuts” as a kid.

In addition to the gimmicky aspect of 3-D in some movies, the glasses can be downright uncomfortable and nauseating.

Aside from the discomfort of a poorly fitting pair of glasses, research from the Pacific University College of Optometry found that viewing 3-D movies can cause blurred vision, double vision, disorientation and nausea.

If others are like me, they may have also experienced some of these symptoms while watching a 3-D movie.

Even while watching movies like “Gravity” and “Avatar,” in which audiences typically love the use of 3-D effects, motion sickness can occur. Not to mention that if one deals with an issue like a lazy eye, they won’t be able to enjoy the effects at all. Because of these issues, 3-D effects have often become nothing more than a wasteful grab for a few extra bucks on the theater ticket.

I will never advise that 3-D and CGI technology should be ignored or dismissed, because I know how well they can be used, and “Gravity” and “Avatar” are two prime examples of how and when they should be used. But frankly, I’m tired of misuse of 3-D effects in Hollywood, and I think we’re due for a change.

Perhaps George Lucas feels adding in a poorly done Jabba the Hutt into “Star Wars” is his prerogative, but there is a certain level of respect that should be given to the viewers and fans who supported his original movies and brought him his success in the first place.

I have every hope as well that the new “Peanuts” movie will find success and that it will stay true to its roots. After seeing the trailer, I’m hopeful for a movie respectful of its source, but I couldn’t help but feel cautious at just the mention of 3-D at the end.

Perhaps the Schulz family will do its best to respect the original material, but I won’t assume that anyone in Hollywood is invulnerable to greed.

Opinion columnist Shane Brandt is a petroleum engineering junior and may be reached at [email protected]


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