The evolution of 3D and Life of Pi

Is 3D done, on the way out, or here to stay?

It’s certainly difficult to know for certain, especially since there are a myriad of conflicting opinions.For example, some analysts believe the format is basically over and done with. This theory postulates that audiences will be prompted to move on to other things, like 48 frames a second and the new high tech sound system Atmos. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit will be featuring both.

Yet some will tell you the demise of 3D has been greatly exaggerated, especially considering major movies have to be in 3D to play in China, which is why Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim will be in the format, and the big Superman reboot Man of Steel will also be in 3D as well. Not to mention one of the biggest blocksbusters in the history of film, Jurassic Park, has its big 3D conversion coming next year. Now with the Life of Pi coming to theaters, what was once considered a gimmick for the kiddies may finally be coming of age. 

The long awaited big screen adaptation of the best selling novel, Life of Pi is getting tremendous reviews, and it may indeed be the serious film that shows that the technology can be applied to more than blockbusters. Indie Wire ranked Pi, “an inspiring and visually stunning tale of faith, hope and self discovery,” and other reviews feel the movie’s got Oscars written all over it. 

James Cameron is especially ecstatic about Pi, and told the L.A. Times, “Life of Pi breaks the paradigm that 3D has to be some big, action fantasy spectacle, superhero movie. The movie is visually amazing, inventive, and it works on you in ways you’re not really aware of. It does what good 3D is supposed to do, which is it allows you to forget you’re watching a 3D movie.”

As far as the demise of 3D, which we’ve reported upon before for TG, in a recent interview in Film Threat, cinema historian Ray Zone, who wrote the book 3D Revolution, said, “3D will remain permanent in theatrical motion picture exhibition. There are 20,000 digital 3D screens worldwide today and that number is inexorably growing every week. The real masterworks of 21st century 3D cinema will likely be produced in the independent sector and not by the risk averse studios at all.”