Christopher Campbell's The Moviegoer - My Bloody, Dying Format
by Christopher Campbell
January 19, 2009
I should have gotten wasted before seeing My Bloody Valentine 3-D. After all, I typically see movies as they're meant to be seen. And Lionsgate literally advertises the horror film as being better when you're drunk. Well, the real copy is specifically, "It's actually '4D' if you're wasted." Being in 4D doesn't necessarily mean it's better. Unfortunately, I went to MBV3D totally sober. And not simply because I saw an early show, at a time I typically figure too early to begin drinking. The truth is I've gotten drunk before and during horror films in the past. Once, for a press screening of Zombie Strippers, the alcohol was even supplied to us by the publicists prior to the movie. But each time I ended up nauseous.
So, because I had never seen a horror film in 3D before (I was too young to have gone to the old analog 3D horror films like Amityville 3D and Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D), and it seemed like it'd be more dizzying than a regular horror film, I opted not to bring booze along. That may have been a mistake, though I can't be sure my experience would have been any greater. Truth be told, this was my least favorite encounter with digital 3D yet. Even worse than Beowulf.
Overly dark, consistently deceptive and mostly dull, My Bloody Valentine 3D is so awful as both a film and as a spectacle that I'm nearly willing to throw in the towel on digital 3D movies altogether. If this is the best Hollywood can do with the new technology for a live-action splatterfest, then perhaps I was wrong to be so supportive of what I've thought to be the saving grace of the cinema. Maybe I was just let down because of the other ads, the ones on TV that promise flames jumping out of the screen and a helmet light that shines around the auditorium. Sure, I know such ads are silly and somewhat fallacious, but I was at least expecting a lot of gimmicky kills. Unfortunately, the in-your-face pickaxes and poked-out eyeballs are few and far between. And not once does fire or a beam of light seem to pierce that fourth wall.
A recent New York Times article detailed the current woes about the slow progress with 3D, speculating that the format is "in danger of becoming Hollywood's latest flub." A week ago, I was still shrugging the idea away, but now I'm beginning to side with the negative outlook. However, I don't believe it's only the economy and the past issues with digital print fees that should be blamed for the potential death of digital 3D. Weak product, in place of films serving as pioneers of the format, is what will ultimately signal public disinterest and the commercial demise of 3D.
Just looking at live-action narrative digital 3D movies, the first, Journey to the Center of the Earth, was exploitative enough of the technology to be a neat advance of cinema. Now the second example, My Bloody Valentine 3-D, is likely to bore moviegoers right out of their 3D glasses forever. It would honestly be a fine, guilty pleasure addition to the format if it came out sometime after digital 3D proved itself a worthy attraction. But it's no revolutionary film deserving of its early placement in the technology's history, and it sure isn't worth the additional surcharge that comes with 3D movies.
Those of us who have been advocates of digital 3D for a long time could just keep hoping that James Cameron will turn things around with Avatar. But with a release date as far away as December, I'm starting to think that even if the film is totally groundbreaking, it might just be too late anyway.
Okay, now I really need a drink.