Christopher Nolan has a new comrade in his quiet disdain for 3D movies. After a period in which 3D seemingly gained critical acclaim and usage – Martin Scorsese adopted it for his Hugo project, The Avengers boosted box office sales with the increased ticket price of 3D screenings – it appeared as if 3D might just have become an accepted part of the cinema landscape. But it’s a notion Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle doesn’t believe will last.
In an interview with the Guardian during the Empire Magazine movie awards this weekend, Boyle railed against the format. “I don’t use 3D,” he said. “I’m a spectacle wearer, so I hate going to 3D movies because you have to wear two pairs of spectacles, which makes you feel like even more of a prat.”
That’s one issue, but it’s not the full reason Boyle dislikes 3D movies. The director believes there is “extraordinary work” being done in 3D, and that although Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was “incredible,” the format is getting too much attention for what is ultimately a technical innovation. “It’s a tool,” Boyle said. “There are sound innovations coming actually, particularly Dolby Atmos, which are going to do something very equivalent to what 3D does. So, I don’t know if 3D will survive to be honest. I think it may be a phase.”
That may seem like a leap in logic. If aural technology does continue to improve and innovate, that doesn’t mean 3D would be edged out of the marketplace or replaced. Rather, wouldn’t it simply mean that there’s another level of technology for theaters to upgrade to to accompany 3D? Still, Boyle’s comments are interesting for the dual reasons in that he dismisses the format and how oddly old-fashioned they seem now.
Boyle’s right to some extent: 3D glasses are awkward and uncomfortable if you wear “regular” glasses, and they’re hardly the most stylish of items to wear even if everyone else around you is rocking them too. But using that as a way of suggesting that it’s a fad that won’t last when it’s already been highly accepted by moviemakers and moviegoers seems… well, more like someone trying to convince themselves and grasping at straws than anything else. For the most part, we suspect 3D is here to stay – it’s in theaters, video game consoles, smart televisions – whether or not Danny Boyle wants it. Lucky for him, just because it’s around doesn’t mean he has to make a movie with it.