Buying into a worn gimmick

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By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer

 

On the golden age of Hollywood, it was no secret that studios ruled the game. They made their money by making what were considered cutting-edge movies at the time. 3-D movies were some of their biggest attractions and they made the studios a lot of money. After awhile though, the gimmick lost its shine and 3-D wasn’t nearly as popular as it once was, often becoming associated with the double bill at a drive-in.

But, of course, old is new again in Hollywood. 3-D movies are back in a big way. The only problem is most of the 3-D movies made now are not so great. I mean, did you see “Clash of the Titans?” It might not be the best example, considering no one saw that movie, and, in all fairness, it wasn’t originally filmed in 3-D. Nevertheless, it was bad. Really bad.

I love movies. I’m a huge movie buff, and my philosophy has always been that in order to love the good movies, you have to love the bad ones too, and I am a sucker for a good gimmick movie. I mean, who doesn’t love a John Waters movie now and then? Or the latest in the “Ocean’s 11” series?

But 3-D, really? I don’t oppose 3-D so much in principle. The gimmick is great, after all. My biggest issue is the way these movies are being marketed. They’re being marketed as these big budget popcorn movies when, in reality, they are the same movies that were being made back in the 1950s.

Maybe the idea of sending up those old-school drive-in flicks isn’t the worst thing in the world, but they should at least be honest about what they’re selling us. If you ask me, the whole idea of 3-D and its nearly relentless marketing is actually cheapening movies. Sure, it works for movies like “Avatar,” but if movies like that keep making money, what’s next? Hollywood deciding that the next Edward Burns movie needs to be in 3-D? I can almost see the taglines: “Real couples! Real problems! Real laughs! Now in explosive 3-D!”

Yuck.

When James Cameron broke out the 3-D experience for “Avatar,” it was fun and interesting and had a sense of nostalgia. But now it’s just a little tired. From Hollywood’s perspective, 3-D works. The movies make buckets of money, and if they’re done really well, you can get a really enjoyable movie. But if they’re done wrong, which tends to be the general trend, well then, hello Razzie Awards and empty seats!

It’s ironic that in a place like Hollywood, where growing old tends to be a crime against humanity, a trend as old as 3-D seems so hip. I hope this trend doesn’t last too long.

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