Movies are better without the 3D

3D movies have never been good and just need to end

A guy is sitting in a theatre. He is wearing 3D glasses, and manages to look both skeptical and unimpressed.
Why pay more for a worse experience? PHOTO: Tima Miroshnichenko, Pexels

By: Craig Allan, Peak Associate

Imagine this: you’re going to see a movie that you’ve been looking forward to. You have your tickets paid and your seats reserved. As you walk to the theatre, your excitement growing by the step, you see an unfortunate sight: a theatre employee is handing out glasses. You’ve made a terrible mistake — the tickets you bought were actually for a 3D movie, not a regular 2D movie. 

3D movies have been a novelty item for theatres from almost the inception of film. However, the practice didn’t really take off until the 1950’s when studios were faced with the growing threat of television. Even then, there was some dissatisfaction — famed film critic Roger Ebert also spoke against it. 

The problem with 3D movies is the glasses needed to make the film work filter out light and make the film darker. Additionally, with 3D images, you tend to miss more of the movie because the screen is constantly refocusing your eyes on the images jumping out in front of you. It’s distracting, and makes it less likely for a film to catch you with what really matters: the great stories and characters. Rather than enhancing the movie experience, 3D often breaks the immersion of the film.

Along with being a terrible way to watch a movie, 3D isn’t good for the environment either. Yes, many of the glasses are recycled, cleaned, and repackaged, but the plastic packaging is still garbage. As someone who works at a theatre, I have seen so many children popping out the lenses for the paltry five seconds of fun it provides. I doubt many of those pairs are salvageable.

If 3D is so bad, we might wonder why movie studios still make movies like this. Relying on the draw of novelty, the motivation is in the profit. Converting a film to 3D is usually expensive, but for a blockbuster film like Spider-Man: No Way Home that you know people will clamour to see, it’s safe to expect that the extra expense will be made back, especially with a $3 increase on ticket prices. There are great things about watching a movie in theatres instead of at home. The big screen, the surround sound, the feeling of going out — but 3D isn’t one of them.