Action movies lack depth. There, I said it. Typically they hang archetypical characters in a less than sophisticated story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I have spent many hours of my life watching these films and being completely entertained. It’s interesting that these action movies were the first to embrace the new world of 3D. It’s almost as though they recognized their lack of depth and decided to add it technologically. This made 3D films easy to ignore until James Cameron’s Avatar. Cameron has enough respect that even though Avatar was not graced with a sophisticated story, his visual sense of style was enough to break 3D out of the dark alley of action movies.
I will join the chorus of people who felt that Martin Scorsese’s Hugo was last year’s best film. I think it was hurt by being in 3D because I don’t imagine the old people who vote for Academy Awards got passed the 50′s version of the technology (and interestingly, positive nostalgia pushed The Artist into the winning slot). Scorsese has said that his future films would be in 3D. He liked how Hugo turned out. He likes the technology. He’s even stated that were he to do it again, some of his past films would have been in 3D (please MGM, spare us a convert!).
I think starting with Avatar and building with the quality of 3D done in Pixar and Dreamworks Animation films (and even last summer’s Fright Night in my opinion), 3D has matured enough that directors of better caliber are ready to dive in and move film forward. With Ang Lee currently shooting in the third dimension, the quality of 3D film will be moved forward. These are directors who work with skilled directors of photography. They have access to better scripts. They have the clout to make films with 3D cameras instead of being forced into conversions (although Disney is proving good conversions can be done).
I understand that the technology is not to the point that everyone has the ability to sit and enjoy a 3D movie. These technological problems won’t be resolved until enough people demand it. As long as people dismiss 3D films as being propped up by a gimmick, this won’t happen. We are finally entering the phase where 3D isn’t just a trick to add depth.