Debate: 3D Movies

By Glenn and Jake 

One consistent criticism of the medium of film is that it's flat--two-dimensional. Well, that has changed with the advent of 3D. The popular gimmick from the 1950s using red and blue lensed glasses has been updated to match our increasing desire to strap non-colored lenses onto our melons and witness an astounding third dimension. If you have seen a movie in two dimensions and another dimension becomes available can you really say that you have seen that movie? This debate will try to answer that question if we can only figure out what it means.

Glenn: 3D movies are the worst thing to happen to the cinematic experience since the advent of audio. I can't even tell you (because of acute memory loss) the number of times I've had a movie ruined by a character or object "coming at me" during a 3D film. We live our lives in three dimensions and I don't want movies to become our life. If you've seen Last Action Hero - and judging by its box office receipts, you did not - you know exactly what I'm talking about. I love the experience of watching a child's movie on a flat screen but hate the sensation that the Dinosaur Train is going to come right out of the screen and into the movie theatre. It's frightening. If I wanted to be scared at a movie, I would watch a documentary about Christian camps or Saw XCLIIVII.

Jake: Watching a 3D movie is a lot like being at the mall: lots of teenagers, more expensive than it would regularly be and everything is coming right at you. In other words, watching a 3D movie is an experience I do not want to miss out on, much like leafing through books like "What to Do With a Dead Dick" at Spencer's Gifts. It might be a novelty, but so are "Weird" Al songs and everybody loves those, which is why they always chart at number one on Billboard's Hot 100. 3D adds an entire extra dimension to a film. I always add an extra star for every extra dimension, which is why I gave the 3D rerelease of Citizen Kane 5 stars just like I gave Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat from Chi-town Rumble. 3D takes a movie-going experience and turns it into a life experience. My opponent hates life, which is why he spends most of his days strung out on heroin watching bugs crawl around the floor of his bungalow.

Glenn: Hey, I love my life in the third and fourth dimensions. My opponent lives his entire life in 2D and finds it amazing when he can see a movie that has more dimensions than his own life. I understand that, but it's still not right. Spencer's Gifts is to the mall what 3D movies are to movies: a terrible place to meet girls and an even worse place to find the new book by Salman Rushdie. Miramax in fact was going to make a 3D version of the Satanic Verses until Islamic radicals threatened to blow it back to the first dimension. Any type of film, whether 3D or pornography, that succeeds on the frequency of things "coming towards you" is not a type of film I want in my life. All the greatest films of the past 1000 years have been 2D. Aliens, Terminator 2 or any other movie by James Cameron are packed with compelling action but they also packed into just two dimensions. They would be ruined if a third was added.

Jake: James Cameron made Avatar, a movie as three-dimensional as it is terrible. While having an extra dimension can be overwhelming at times, it offers extra thrills. My whole movie-going experience can be measured by the thrills I receive from a film. What is more thrilling than shit coming at you? Maybe skydiving, but James Cameron has yet to figure out how to develop that into a theatrical attraction. Until he does, we can up the thrill quotient via 3D glasses. And how about those glasses--aren't they comfortable? It's as if Mother Theresa or Cindy Crawford is cradling your head as you rest and try to fight back an erection. When I saw Up! in 3D I literally felt like I was going up. I would like to see Glenn describe a two-dimensional film experience so eloquently. He would probably say something like "It was really funny," which was his review for Couples Retreat and why he was fired from The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus as a film critic.

Glenn: Do not try to ascribe views about Couples Retreat to me that I never said. Admittedly I saw the film in a North Dakota theatre and it was a mistake. But not as much of the mistake as the time Jake took out a title loan on his car to buy out every showing of Toy Story 3D in Hammond, Indiana. He thought a 3D version of a children's film would combine the two best things that art can offer: being for the whole family and being in 3D. I do not find the 3D glasses comfortable either. Suffering from poor eyesight and Lou Gehrig's disease, I need to wear real glasses. They've yet to make 3D ones that can be worn over the real thing. Until the day comes when I can get Lasik surgery on my eyes so that everything I see is in 3D, I have no interest in seeing a 3D movie.

Jake: I feel like I have said nearly everything there is to say about the third dimension. Does a third dimension make comedy funnier? No, unless it's somebody throwing something at you. Does it make horror more frightening? Yes, I literally died watching SAW 3D, but luckily there were paramedics in the theater. Does it make drama more dramatic? Not really. Are film noirs even more noir? Oddly enough, yes. So, while 3D does not enhance every movie like marijuana does, it enhances it enough to make it worth it. I love when shit is coming at me. 3D is the only way to make this happen in a cinema and until science develops another way for shit to come at you, I will support 3D.


  1. I think we really need to step back and recognize the implications for the future. This could very well lead to an insane downward spiral where we drunkenly stumble into every film with 3D glasses and novelty hats...and demand, loudly, to have shit come in our faces as hard as it can. Eventually, we’ll be clamoring to have these glasses drilled into our head so we can experience life in 3D. Even though life is supposedly already in 3D, shit does not come in our faces all the damn time.

    This will all lead to a bizarre conflict where the only resolution involves advanced neurosurgery and cybernetics that will allow our feeble minds to process vision in 4D.

    Or…perhaps I should stop taking hits of LSD while watching absurd amounts of pornography with the 3D glasses I picked up from How to Train Your Dragon. I just try to live life one day at a time.

  2. I think you raised a really good point. The problem with life is that shit isn't always coming at us. Nobody has ever done a yoyo, Chinese yoyo or paddleball in my face and I am mad as hell about it. I will, however, continue to take it. What happens in 4D? Does shit come at your brain?

  3. Somebody once did a tetherball into my face. Way too big. I think I would better appreciate the simplicity and wonder of a paddleball or a Chinese yo-yo.

    With 4D...shit would come at your brain as hard as Republicans come forth at the mere mention of The-Former-President-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.

    How precisely it would come at your brain has been seriously debated among physicists, mathematicians, 5th graders, and schitzophrenics...but imagine all of mathematics and the entire filmography of Pauly Shore suddenly come at you as hard as it can. Then put that moment on infinite repeat. That's the 4D=spacetime interpretation.

    James Cameron will eventually master the cybernetic and alchemic principles required to bring this to cinema...and shit will come at us on infinite repeat. We won't even notice that it was a Dances with Wolves in Space ripoff that time around.

    But my shitty small town will probably still only show the 2D edition.

  4. Tommy is my favorite commenter!

  5. This article was amazing, and this comment section is awesome.

  6. Thank you for helping us with our history fair project! And Saw 3D was not even scary! I love horror movies, especially when they are gory.. Well thanks again! You guys are funny by the way.

  7. Oh, by the way.. Do you guys know when you published this? We need that for our bibliography.. Or else we'll fail..So it would be kind of you to give us the date... No pressure though.. Just two girls grades in danger... ;P