3-D CINEMA MAKING A COMEBACK

Last Updated: January 31, 2008By Tags:

(BY SAÏDEH PAKRAVAN) It’s hard to believe that in the early fifties 3-D movies were considered, briefly, the wave of the future. Audiences dutifully wore the dark plastic glasses that gave three dimensions to the images on the screen and sat through now-classics such as Vincent Price in House of Wax (1953; which boasted another first, stereo sound outside Cinerama, another format that remained the rage for a couple of decades). The string of both short and feature films knew some measure of success but interest in 3-D—the actual word is stereoscopic—gradually waned, mainly because of the technical difficulties of simultaneous projection from two projectors not always in sync. The genre has never really disappeared but only aficionados seemed to care. A more popular revival occurred in the 70s, with an improved technique called stereovision that allowed the use of a single strip but 3-D still became limited almost exclusively to nature films in Imax format. The last few years have seen renewed interest in the format. Steven Spielberg is reportedly working on developing a process that would allow to view 3-D without the awkward special glasses. There were 3-D sequences in one of the Harry Potters, and older 3-D movies are making a comeback. The Apple video iPod offers 3-D possibilities. Now, Belgian filmmaker Ben Stassen has produced Fly Me To The Moon, a story of three flies (animated), clandestinely embarked on the Apollo 11 mission that achieved the first manned moon landing in 1969. Stassen has been interested in 3-D for some years now and his 1999 Encounter in the Thrid Dimension (misspelling intentional) was actually a history of the genre. Depending on the success of Fly Me To the Moon which starts in Europe next month, the film may find distribution in this country as well. Stateside, Disney-Pixar plans on releasing a 3-D version of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. An expected 4,000 3-D digital screens are expected to be in operation by mid-2009. (pictured: still from Ben Stassen’s Fly Me To The Moon)

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