Technology

Roger Ebert: Two Thumbs Down For 3-D

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Now that the top-grossing movie of all time was made in the format, it's kind of hard to claim that contemporary 3-D movie projection is just another fad. But in Newsweek, Roger Ebert says if you want three dimensions get yourself a View-Master:

3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood's current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for.

Jolly Roger is not (only) making a curmudgeon argument. He notes that the format diplays at low light levels; that it creates too much depth of focus (a hazard of digital photography as well, although that seems to have been solved by the Red camera); and that most projected 3-D is still just a series of overlapping 2-D images (that's what it's always looked like to me), which in turn can cause physical discomfort as your actual 3-D brain tries to adjust. Ebert has been a firebrand in the war over what the next big projection format will be, and he also makes the case that 3-D is getting in the way of better projection methods like MaxiVision 48 and Douglas Trumbull's very old Showscan. Finally, this is 3-D's second or third day in court—though clearly the current iteration seems to be a lot more successful than those of the fifties and the eighties.

He can't taste food anymore, but he still sees in 3-D.

Of the new batch of 3-D movies I have only seen Coraline, and that one may have been a retrofit done in 2-D and then tridimensionalized. There was really only one sequence, wherein Coraline gets chased through a giant spider web, in which the effect did add something to the material. I would have been inclined to dismiss the gimmick too, until Avatar made a bazillion dollars. But this may just be a Hollywood rule that everybody should have learned 13 years ago: Don't bet against James Cameron. (Also, since Ebert repeatedly hammers on the point about "grown-up films," I note that while my five-year-old really liked the movie, she took off the glasses halfway through, preferring just to watch the muddy double image.)

Ebert argues that technical innovation tends to be a sign of Hollywood in trouble, and he doesn't even bother mentioning Sensurround or Illusion-O. Every innovation has its downside, and one that requires you to spend an additional five bucks and wear stupid glasses on your head would seem to have more downside than most. Ebert—physically ravaged almost beyond comprehension but at the same time more mentally vigorous than ever thanks to the Twitters—is not just an old fart on the issue. When I was a kid they said movie theaters wouldn't exist by the 21st century, but what Fellini called the "collective dream" has survived and thrived, with and without these kinds of detours into total immersion.

Esquire's Chris Jones profiles the Beyond the Valley of the Dolls scribe in his silent, eating-deprived winter. (If you like that I recommend Too Far From Home, Jones' book about the three guys marooned on the International Space Station after the 2003 shuttle accident.) Here's Ebert in better days:

Courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily.

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  1. In that photo he looks like one of the fly people.

    1. I liked Ebert better when he hated most movies.
      My God, he thought “Hangover” was good.

      1. A lot of people thought The Hangover was good. A lot of people are stupid.

        HA HA HIS TOOTH IS MISSING HA HA HA

        1. Zach Galifinaikis was hilarious. I WILL NOT LET YOU RUIN THIS FOR ME, EPI!

          1. HA HA HE WAS ON DA ROOF DA WHOLE TIME HA HA HA

            1. Epi’s snarky laughs remind me of a hell-bound Jack T. Chick character, HAW-HAW-HAW! Save it for Hangover II: Hangover in Hell, HAW-HAW-HAW! (I’ll admit The Hangover made me laugh.)

              1. HA HA MIKE TYSON IS FUNNY BECAUSE HE’S A FUCKING ANIMAL WHO BITES PEOPLE’S EARS OFF BUT HE LIKES PHIL COLLINS HA HA HA

                1. How is that not funny?

              2. Or Hangover III: The Search for Mike Tyson’s Gold……-Plated Stuffed Tiger.

  2. Avatar was not a movie, it was a theme park ride. I enjoyed it. But aesthetically, the 3-D aspect was a major downer — flickery, washed-out, distracting. I totally agree with Roger. Unfortunately, Hollywood is out of ideas, so it’s going to do 3-D to death.

  3. Aren’t fat men supposed to be jolly?

    1. If you’re referring to Roger, he hasn’t been “fat” for a long time now. Cancer and lacking the ability to eat can do that to you.

  4. I have a large collection of stereo photography — everything from Victorian stereoviews to View-Masters back when they were still cool — but the only 3-D movies I can take are the 3-D IMAX documentaries that run relatively short, and even then I have to close my eyes during certain scenes with too much foreground movement, lest I get a whopping headache.

    I’d speculate that 3-d motion pictures in whatever format will continue to induce headaches and nausea in a large subset of people because of the whole “single overlapping image” problem. The best — and least headache-inducing — stereographic effects come from those viewers where each eye looks at a distinctly different image. That’s also the only way I know of to get true-color images rather than the darkening expected from single-blurry-image 3-d.

    And now, having got my geek on, I really need to do some actual work today. These vanity novels will not edit themselves.

    1. The reason you get a headache is that you don’t get to focus on what you want to look at — the director has to decide beforehand what will be in focus in any given frame. The better the effect gets, the more this will be a problem; with really bad 3D, your brain is not fooled, and so it is content to play along; when this is not the case, it just keeps trying to resolve details in the image which simply do not exist.

    2. These vanity novels will not edit themselves.

      I’ve always assumed that they did.

    3. I had read of a 3D process that alternately projects two different images, one for each eye, and that smart shutters on your glasses close one lens when the picture for the opposite one is being projected. That would seem to be a pretty reasonable approach for single-screen situations. Whatever happened to it?

      1. The 3D used in Avatar I believe is the result of multiple projections. Most 3D movies are also shown in 2D theatres where I believe they simple use one projector.

  5. You’re wrong Tim. Egbert is just being an old fart. Which makes you an old fart too. I’m not sure Roger ever got over movies going to color.

    3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience.

    False. One could argue that the musical score adds nothing essential. This shows a profound lack of appreciation of the experience.

    For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches.

    A lot of people are allergic to peanuts. Does he think Skippy and Jiff are in trouble?

    It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets.

    Evil profit motive! OH NOES!

    Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D.

    True, for the moment.

    It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for.

    Patently false. Just because it hasn’t been used in a serious film yet, doesn’t make it unsuitable. Indeed claiming that it is, demonstrates a serious lack of imagination.

    1. I agree. 100% old fartiness.

      It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets.

      Actually it is being driven entirely by theaters need to sell audiences something they can’t get at home.

      Anyone can afford a home theater system these days, and have better picture and sound quality in their living room than at home.

      3-D is the oNE thing I’m willing to plop down money for, since I can’t fford a 3-D projector in my home.

      1. Er. you can have better picture and sound quality in you living room than in a theater.

        1. You can’t actually have better picture quality at home than in a theater unless you have a film projector, or are retarded and think video looks better than film. ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. You are making the geregious mistake of assuming that:
            A) All theaters use analogue film projectors
            B) The film itself is not faded or damaged in any way
            C) The screen doesn’t have a hole in it or a piece of crap stuck to it.

            I’ve found all three of the above surprisingly common.

            1. Er, well, I mean lots of theaters use digital projectors that are often quite shitty. See AMC.

              1. Well, I can’t argue with that. If a theater is using a digital projector, they deserve to lose their market share to home theaters. ๐Ÿ™‚

                I’d rather watch a faded print on film than a quality digital image though…I just can’t stand the way that black looks on a monitor.

                In standard reason-style full disclosure, I should confess that I’m a projectionist at a drive in though. Still our equipment is far from top of the line, but I’d still rather watch a movie there than on the best home theater system I’ve seen.

                1. oh, and no offense intended…I just like to casually insult people. ๐Ÿ™‚

                  1. @ausmax: Why do you? Like to casually (and anonymously) insult people, that is? It’s a serious question.

                    1. I think I’m just not explaining very well. Imagine you’re talking with a group of friends…you might call each other things like asshole or douchebag without really meaning anything by it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really come across on the internet, which I realized when I read my post, which is why I apologized.

                  2. What is the colour space for a digital cinema projector? Is it equivalent to sRGB as with DVDs and Blu-ray discs?

      2. Ebert doesn’t dismiss 3D films entirely.

        He does doubt whether 3D technology would add anything to dramatic films like Up in the Air, but he also gives props to Avatar, a film created wholly for the 3D experience.

        Also, he writes that he’s looking forward to what directors like Scorsese and Herzog will do with their 3D projects. Doesn’t sound like much of a curmudgeon to me.

      3. I’ve seen a few 3-d movies. So far I can’t help but think they are 2-d movies that they threw in a couple of 3-d effects on. I’ve yet to see anything that was so awesome I wouldn’t have been equally pleased by an 2-d viewing. Of course I skipped Avatar, so maybe it’s just the ones I saw.

    2. Old fart or not, 3D still sucks and always will.

      (I’m 27, not that it matters)

      1. As Roger stated, Avatar is the exception. Having seen it in 3-D, entire sequences of awe would be missed.

    3. 80 years ago, Ebert would have been the guy telling everyone sound movies were just a fad and all serious movies would be silent.

      40 years ago, Ebert would have been the guy telling everyone color movies were just a fad and all serious movies would be monoschrome

      20 years ago, Ebert would have been the guy telling everyone that computer effects were just a fad and all serious movies would be live effects.

      Yes, 3-D is kinda cheesy now. But that’s because it’s new and people haven’t mastered it well enough for anything other than “I’m poking you in the eye” gags. As it matures, that will change.

      1. Compelling argument, Stormy.

      2. 40 years ago, Ebert would have been the guy telling everyone color movies were just a fad and all serious movies would be monoschrome

        For the record, the earliest surviving Technicolor movie is Toll of the Sea, which dates back to… 1922! (If you want to learn a lot about the history of color movies, do a google search for the excellent Wide Screen Museum. I’d post the link, but I’ve already got two links in this post.)

        20 years ago, Ebert would have been the guy telling everyone that computer effects were just a fad and all serious movies would be live effects.

        Count me as somebody who prefers movies that tell good stories, as opposed to movies that put an emphasis on the effects. The original 1960 version of Village of the Damned has very little in the way of effects; there are those glowing eyes, and a double-exposure sequence near the end. But the story is a superb one.

      3. 20 years ago, Ebert would have been the guy telling everyone that computer effects were just a fad and all serious movies would be live effects.

        Why don’t you go and check? Ebert was reviewing movies 20 years ago, and I doubt he said anything like that.

        1. Indeed, IIRC Ebert was a huge Star Wars fan in the 1970s. And come to think of it, color movies were invented a LOT more than 40 years ago.

          Warren’s dating himself.

          (But Ebert is still being a big cranky curmudgeon).

          1. Yes, but up until the 60s, color was largely reserved for escapist movies (e.g. westerns), while serious dramas were filmed in monochrome.

      4. 3-D is not new, dude.

  6. Eventually, 3D will win out over 2D, the way color won out over black and white and sound won out over silent. The question is whether the current technology is good enough to be the format that makes 2D obsolete.

    On that, I don’t know, having watched Avatar in 2D (the 3D theater was sold out, and would have cost an extra $5 if it wasn’t).

    1. Replacing 2D seems doubtful, considering the glasses. But to some extent the reason to go to the theater is to get a different experience than you have in your living room.

      Blu Ray + HDTV seems comparable to the experience (or better) in terms of sharpness and color, so something needed to be added beyond expensive popcorn.

      1. Blu-Ray + HDTV + Surround Sound. Better than the theater.

        For some reason a lot of commercial theaters do not keep their speaker systems properly maintained. You’re either missing a speaker, or one side is louder than the other, or the front center speaker has been turned down so you can’t hear the dialogue.

        AMC theaters, for instance, I will NOT pay money to see a film in. Shitty sound, shitty picture quality.

      2. a different experience than you have in your living room

        I dunno. The seats are sticky and people answer cell calls in my living room too.

      3. If you use a screen and projector, it’s a way better experience than the theater. I have a 77″ screen with a 1080p projector and a whoopass SS system. I can eat what I want and perhaps even get a good fuck in my theater. Not so at the local megaplex. And since buying a Blu-Ray is as cheap or even cheaper than going to the theater, it’s even better.

        1. I can eat what I want and perhaps even get a good fuck in my theater.

          You can already do so in a theater of your choosing. It simply is a matter of how creative, daring and how much of an exhibitionist you are.

          We Lawn Gnomes require none of these, as we are a hearty, fit and content people, provided we have a lawn to spy.

          1. There are still drawbacks, even if exhibitionist enough. Like I can’t sit in my recliner in my underwear and enjoy the rest of the film while I gulp down a cider.

            1. You wear your underwear?;-)

              1. Unless you have a brown couch to hide the stains, and are not particularly obessive about hygiene, underwear is a good idea.

                1. or female

    2. You por thing. 3D was the only reason to bother seeing Avatar in the theater.

      1. I wasn’t aware that there was a reason to see it at all.

        1. I thought it was a pretty good movie with great production values. Enjoyed it in the theater in 2D, enjoyed it at home when it came out on DVD.

          Not good enough to watch a third time, though.

        2. It was a breathtakingly filmed adventure with incredible visuals.

          You do yourself a disservice with hipster flippancy.

    3. Right. Like when artists started working in bas relief and then no one ever drew or painted again.

  7. Hollywood loves 3d because they can make every movie twice. They will probably retrofit every action movie as 3d and re-release them. I saw avatar in 3d. I went with someone who’s eyes are not perfectly aligned, and he couldn’t see the 3d effects.

    1. If you mean people’s eyes have to be average distance apart, that’s BS.
      As long as you can see through both eyes, you should be able to see the effects.

      Unless you have some kind of cognitive focusing deficit or something.

      1. Dude, have you ever seen someone with their eyes facing in opposite directions? That shit tweaks me out, its hard to tell if they’re talking to me or not. Someone told me they have poor depth perception because of it.

        1. also, some people only have one good eye

          1. I did say “as long as you can see out of both eyes”.

        2. My friend is like that. She can’t see depth but she can independently focus on multiple objects (watching two computer screens at once, for example).

    2. So, if he couldn’t see the 3d effects, then what did he see?

      Basically, you have two cameras, set a certain distance apart, and aimed at a common focal point; if your eyes are spaced differently than the space between the lenses, the only result would be that when the director shot something that was 10′ away, it would feel to you as though it were 9′ 11″ or 10′ 1″, depending on whether the lens spread is less than or greater than the distance between your own eyes. The closer the subject, the more pronounced the error — it’s just simple trigonometry.

      If he didn’t see it as 3D, he’s either blind in one eye, or is just experiencing the effect without being able to consciously identify that he is.

    3. It’s probably Strabismus. I have it, and 3D movies don’t work for me. Neither do those damned “magic eye” pictures.

      But maybe this is an advantage – normal movies look as 3-D as the real world does, so whatever extra-realism y’all get from 3D movies, I get all the time.

      1. Okay, i admit my wrongness.

        I was sorta half-right, they have a focusing problem, but it’s not cognitive in nature … their eyes don’t focus on the same depth point due to muscle issues.

      2. LOL…it’s probably nystagmus. Lay off the shooters before you go.

      3. That condition will only be covered by MeCare for those who qualify… by becoming lifetime, 100% loyal members of My Party.

        Otherwise, writhe in 2-D agony.

  8. I’ve seen Avatar and Alice in 3D and was underwhelmed. In the first case it was OK but unnecessary and in the second it was ugly and obtrusive. But things will get better, after they get worse.

    Since the TV manufacturers are pushing hard into 3D, the demand for content should rise. Sports will account for most of this at first — though not many sports lend themselves to 3D presentation — and then there will be a boom in “3D-ification” services to fuck up older films.

    Eventually it’ll become cheap, easy, and well-understood as a part of the craft. Then, on to smell-o-vision!

    1. Can the feelies be far behind?

  9. Ebert has been off the rails of late; his recent rant against video games reads like the last words of an old man telling children to get off his lawn. But Ebert is right about this particular iteration of 3D. Until filmmakers can make 3D movies that don’t involve cumbersome glasses and headaches, 3D is going to suck. It might be OK occasionally as a gimmick, but not for every single action/adventure movie that comes out. I’m happy I’m not going to have to put up with it for Iron Man 2.

    1. Didn’t give me a headache.

      Blair Witch Project gave me a headache, and didn’t need 3D to do it.

      1. Put it back on, turn down the sound, and put Styx’s Kilroy Was Here on the stereo.

        They don’t sync up, but you get double the suck.

        1. More fun to play Styx as the soundtrack to the Kilroy Disney movies of the 1960s.

    2. He absolutely demolished the retarded girl in the video game debate, so I wouldn’t say he’s been off the rails. I disagree with him on video games, but I don’t think shitty games like Flower and Braid should be held as the literature standard of video games. That title belongs to GOOD games.

      1. @C-Dog How is your shitty opinion of Braid and Flower relevant to Ebert’s argument that NO GAMES can ever be considered art? If anything, you should be twice as upset, given that he USED the very games you consider shitty as “evidence” for his shitty claims.

      2. @C-Dog How is your shitty opinion of Braid and Flower relevant to Ebert’s argument that NO GAMES can ever be considered art? If anything, you should be twice as upset, given that he USED the very games you consider shitty as “evidence” for his shitty claims.

    3. You’re description of Ebert’s attitude towards videogames is perfect. I’m actually surprised that this article didn’t mention it, considering that his views about games make this anti-3D argument seem positively erudite. At least Ebert makes some worthwhile points about 3D: e.g., he is right to note that so-called 2D films are not really 2D at all, given that they already communicate a sense of depth to the audience.

      But his argument against videogames is something else. I don’t know whether it’s shameful, embarrassing, insulting, or pathetic. (Just kidding, of course I do: it’s all of the above). The problem is not really the substance of what he said (but make no mistake: he is breathtakingly wrong on substance as well…).

      No, what bothers me about that article is the antagonistic and brazenly ignorant ways in which he attempts to discredit a medium that he knows nothing about and has barely (if ever) experienced.

      As someone pointed out via twitter: ‘Trying to convince Ebert that games are worthwhile is like a 26 year-old trying to convince his parents that he is an adult.’ In other words, we shouldn’t waste time debating videogames with Ebert. Suffices to say that his argument is far more reactionary than the 3D article,and it comes drenched in the kind of resentment that many people struggle with late in life. In this respect, it may be used as a cautionary tale for all of us.

      The lesson? Stay young.

      Oh and here’s a good analysis of the Ebert-games thing in case you have no clue what i’m talking about http://bit.ly/dtf69I

  10. Also, but kind of off topic:
    May is Zombie Awareness Month

    1. Braaaains!!! Chaaaange!!!

      1. Raaaacist!

        And bigoted towards zombies!

  11. Its a fad. I thought all movies are 3D, unless they are a cartoon. Even then, they can be drawn with a 3D perspective.

  12. Who gives a fuck what Ebert says about anything? I stopped listening to this blowhard 20 years ago. Most of what he says sounds like a he’s telling the rest of us how much smarter he is than us. Shut up and go watch The Bicycle Thief frame by frame.

    1. Frame 3,967 is awesome.

    2. Feel better now? Want a cookie?

  13. Yo, whats up with Roger, he is looking a bit “odd” lately??

    Lou
    http://www.vpn-anonymity.us.tc

  14. Movie snobs like Roger Ebert don’t get storytelling, both its structure and more importantly, its purpose among a people.

    The typical Movie Snob champions political homosexism, feminism, anti-capitalism or some other bizarro doctrine and thus deems only those movies that support such beliefs as watch worthy.

    Critics like Ebert declare movies to be good only if such movies adhere to his political view and pans any movie that might enlighten viewers to a truth about human nature.

    The fairly recent Beowulf in 3D reveals smart application of 3D technology to enhance story telling.

    While it would seem that 3D projection would do little to enhance a dinner party scene, 3D projection shall do wonders for any story that reveals physics in action, from car racing to dogfights.

    If anything, Ebert must feel threatened that 3D projection shall become the driving force as to what stories get told. No doubt that with 3D, far fewer movies made by major Hollywood studio-distributors shall feature two women falling in love, a woman fighting to get to the top or a greedy businessman wrecking the lives of the poor.

    1. Exactly. Imagine if Hitchcock had 3D available.

    2. Exactly. Imagine if Hitchcock had 3D available.

      1. Are you joking? Hitchcock hated the ’50’s version of 3-D. The studio forced him to make a version of Dial M for Murder in 3-D, but he also filmed it with regular film cameras, correctly guessing that 3-D would be over by the time the film came out.

        1. Exactly and btw, I loved bizarro shit.

    3. Right. Roger Ebert is a women’s lib stooge and fag lover.

      The man was a close personal friend of Russ Meyer, for Christ’s sake. Please, come back when you know what you’re talking about.

      1. You amuse, Carlos.

        Mere words have made you don a cape and in Super ZERO fashion, you’ve come to defend Roger Ebert!

  15. I miss Gene. He kept Roger under control. Plus, he hated WOPs, which I find particularly amusing, since I am one.

  16. So when will smell-o-vision arrive in a theater near me?

    1. It’s already there. Look for one with a concession stand selling bean burritos.

      1. We are worse, I assure you. Which reminds me… Where have you gone to, Jack Beeno?

  17. Roger Ebert also says video games aren’t art. When an old guy says something isn’t art, he really means that he doesn’t like something new and doesn’t want to be required to take it seriously.

    If Roger can’t understand video games as art, it’s his limitation, not video games’.

    1. Roger Ebert also says video games aren’t art.

      Since when does art have players, rules and scores?

      1. the beautiful game, my friend

        1. Hey, what about us? Aren’t we art too?

          1. Ahem. Who care what Brian Boitano would do. Or Nancy with her Kerrigan sized choppers. And Toanya Harding, the inspiration for Jamie Pressly’s character in “My Name is Earl?” (That one probably is based on Ms. Pressly too; she has a skank look to her). We are poetry in motion.

            When was the last time you heard one of us have controversy?

            1. I’m a faggoty college yuppy bastard sport! I demand respect!

              1. We’re just like hockey… in slow-motion… minus the violence and beer.

                Shit, we suck.

                1. Curling really does suck as a spectator sport.

                  1. The shorter version:

                    Curling sucks.

                    Brevity!

                2. Curling is plus the beer, not minus.

      2. That’s like saying, “Since when does art have a plot?” Or “Why is it art if it’s not hanging in a gallery?”
        Now, get back to the little box you live in. And next time, ask permission before you leave.

        1. Why is it art if it’s not hanging in a gallery?”

          It isn’t. His name is Mat. If Art has a plot, then he is in a grave condition.

          We Lawn Gnomes love silly jokes. We are a jolly people.

        2. So everything made or played by man is “art”? Gotcha.

          1. No, but you have to give criteria as to why a certain game “isn’t” art. Format is a weak excuse. I consider games like Bioshock or Super Metroid to be art.

          2. How can a hundred artists work on something for five years and it not be art?

            Just a question. Personally, after visiting the modern art section of the art museum it’s awful hard to say that a video game just doesn’t make the cut.

      3. You are not an aficionado, Senior Ebert.

      4. Since artists started spending all their time in galleries in NYC.

      5. Since when do (non-video) games or sports require teams of writers and artists?

        For that matter, since when do all video games have players, rules, and scores? Sure, there’s an active audience, and sure, objects in the world behave in a fairly predictable fashion (protip: so do many objects in the real world). But many big-budget single-player games now are about action and narrative, not about high scores; if there are rules, they’re often gracious enough to stay invisible and intuitive. The actual interaction with the game’s world and story may be somewhat simplistic and limited, and there’s definitely going to be more focus on action than on character development, etc. But you could say the same about Michael Bay movies, which are still technically art.

      6. Persons confuse things of art — the output — with art itself.

        Art is a skill as a result of learning or practice.

        A Thing of Art is anything produced by applying Art. Thus, to know what a Thing of Art is takes knowing what the rules are which define the skill.

        All design arises from application of rules as accepted as part of the art.

        Thus all Things of Art reflect the art, that is the rules as expressed in design.

        Video games are Things of Art.

        Some video games are better than others in the same way that some sculptures are better than others and some painting are better than others.

    2. I think video games are art, I’m just tired of retards pointing out “art” games as art instead of good games. Half-Life is a thousand times more artistic than Braid.

      1. If Art has a plot, then he is in a grave condition.

        Ha ha, I love puns.

      2. I liked the art in Borderlands, but what was most beautiful about it was the seventeen million weapons configurations.

  18. Actually, I think the push for 3D has partly to do with ensuring that those not within the Hollywood system are shut out in as much as the technology for making professional, nearly film quality video is financially within the reach of nearly anyone. If 3D becomes the norm, that ensures that current film making technology remains out of reach. The gatekeepers are horrified by the age of the amateur and this is across may fields. or I could be full of it.

    1. Amateur 3d is easy to render in 3d. Programs like Blender which are free allow people to compete. Although funding for such projects is sometimes difficult to obtain, projects like “Big Buck Bunny” show it can be done. Such a film only requires re-rendering with a second camera to become true 3d, and that only takes time.

    2. Nonsense. It’s not like some guy’s amateur film was going to get into major theater chains, or even most arthouses, anyway. That market is direct to video and always will be. All 3D does is save the major theater chains and the blockbuster film industry. All the arthouse, drama quality films are still going to be 2D and they’re all moving to direct to video. So they’re going to effectively end up on the same footing.

      3D doesn’t hold out amateurs so much as it continues the trend towards major theaterical releases being only big SFX blockbusters.

  19. I’m not inclined to agree with Ebert. However, I will say that if that technicolor shitfest of fucktardery called “Avatar” is a sign of things to come, then we’re going to have to wade through a lot of 3D dung to find the occasional diamond.
    James Cameron can go lick all three dimensions of my purple cock.

    1. we’re going to have to wade through a lot of 3D dung to find the occasional diamond

      You mean like normal movies?

    2. Just because one does not like a given “innovation” does not mean one is an old fart.

      LOGIC FAIL.

      1. Particularly when the innovation dates back to 1952…

        1. Actually, it dates back to at least 1941.

      2. If one doesn’t like a given innovation because it is “unsuitable for grownups” then you’re an old fart.

        1. If one doesn’t like a given innovation because it is “unsuitable for grownups” then you’re an old fart.

          Using that logic, then you Hazel are an old fart if you don’t like the games of hopscotch, four-square, or Candyland.

          We Lawn Gnomes are a solitary and immobile people, so such games matter little to us.

          1. Damn. I miss hopscotch.

            1. A few bong loads and someone to get nekkid with = Strip Candyland = potential sweaty adult monkey-fuck fun!

              1. ME HEAR MONKEY-FUCK!!! ME WANT JOIN!!!

          2. We Lawn Gnomes are a solitary and immobile people, so such games matter little to us.

            Once when I was 16 we got into my friends parents liquor cabinet and drank a half a liter of Chevas Regal. Then we took his .410 and when driving around the neighborhood blasting Lawn Gnomes like they were skeet. Good times. Good times.

            1. Gee, Mr. Gill, whatever did we do to you? Driving drunk, committing numerous felonies and generally putting the public at risk? Not to mention destroying OPP and a race of peaceful and diligent people, traits of a sociopath of the highest order.

              We Lawn Gnomes are a forgiving people however, though we consider you worse than Hitler. That’s right, you’ve been pwn’d via Godwin by a Lawn Gnome!

      3. Sure it does. Not liking innovation means one is an “old fart”.

        You hold a false belief because you conflate innovation with invention.

        Invention has to do with the thing itself.

        Innovation has to do with affecting human action.

        Innovation means to renew or change. Invention means to devise a thing, from a finding, a discovery.

        Many things invented never lead to innovation.

        Yet innovation, by definition means living for all has changed from the way acts were done before.

    3. Just three dimensions? So yours doesn’t persist through any time?

      1. Well, it has some sort of quantum powers. When I shove it in my girlfriend’s snatch, she claims to see God.

        1. I don’t think “Oh, God, not THAT again.” means what you think it means, Jaime.

          1. Jaime’s one classy guy.

  20. I’ve only experienced 3D with IMAX documentaries. I’m no NASCAR fan, but the 3D film at the Daytona Speedway IMAX was incredible, especially the in-car stuff.

  21. Roger Ebert’s view of the world(pun intended), for the most part, is hostile to mine. IMO, the same could be said for the majority of H&R posters.

    In the 80s and for much of the 90s, I really did not care much for him. Like Epi, I rooted for Siskel to rein in Roger. I found Ebert to be an intellectual snob as well as a movie snob. At times, I found him to be insufferable. Yet, I would watch.

    We should not forget that Ebert and Siskel were cultural heavyweights for a good 15-17 years. Evidence of this abounded; one example was the recurring skit performed by Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier on In Living Color. How many take offs have there been of Ebert and Siskel performed in theatre, tv shows and in improv classes, radio, etc.? More instances than occaisons James Kunstler (not the deceased lawyer) has predicted that oil has peaked.

    In the last 10-12 years, I think Ebert has evolved, positively. Not a great transformation; rather, a more subtle, nuanced change for the better. Perhaps I grew to appreciate him

    1. We should not forget that Ebert and Siskel were cultural heavyweights for a good 15-17 years.

      Well, one of them was, literally. Roger Ebert, like all critics, suffers from disease of an overdeveloped sense of self importance. Critics believe their own hype more than artists do. Indeed, critics are the ultimate in enablers.

      We Lawn Gnomes aren’t critical of others as we are an observant people, commenting on what we see without prejudice.

    2. you forget the muffins…er, I mean the muppets. I actually like the younger, more prickly Ebert who didn’t like most movies. I think he has sold out to the cineplex Speilberg complex.

  22. I’ll be more impressed when Hollywood manages to produce characters with multiple dimensions.

  23. The market will decide the fate of 3D of course. But I don’t like it because it’s one more thing to cause disagreements – it’s bad enough when you can’t agree on a movie to see, now you get room to disagree over which version to see.

    1. And try making out when you and your date are both wearing goggles.

      1. You’ve been window peeking again. Bad Tim…Bad!!

      2. Tim thinks making out is kissing.

        1. I agree. Often the simplest acts are the most romantic.

  24. 3-D is a gimmick, designed to keep you from noticing that the movie you’re watching is total crap. I can handle it for 20 minutes, max. Ten is better.

    1. Hey, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn was a brilliant masterpiece, much better than Cameron’s Dancing With Smurfs.

      1. Oh my. What an unwieldy title.

          1. Hey I had an excuse, I was in jr high.

  25. He’s just pissed his chin is no longer in 3-D.

  26. I’m trying to explain to my stupid online classmates that economics is not a zero-sum game and that comparative advantage is something real and not made up and that government regulations increase costs for businesses thereby decreasing jobs, and that all of these factors are related to off-shoring of American jobs. And yet all anyone can say is “Durrr, it’s good stuff is cheaper but we lose our jerrrrbs!” Ugh, I could never be a teacher.

    1. Yeah, i agree. You couldn’t be a teacher. Your expected to stick to facts, and not indoctrinate them with your personal beliefs.

      Durrr, regulation bad, freedom to work for less and in an unsafe workplace Good, LIBERTY

      1. Durrr, capitalism BAD, giving people free money GOOD, corporations BAD. Redistribute wealth. multiplier effect magical. Nobody work. Everybody have free stuff.

        1. Lots of people work, the problem is people like you want to still consider them deadbeats and freeloaders. No, you can’t decide what people are worth, and you can’t hide behind the market when you say it either. The only ones i see clamoring for free stuff and money are the banks and corporations. Pretty soon they will think they’re entitled to a workforce who will work for free instead of the depressed wages they’re manipulating now.

          1. “No, you can’t decide what people are worth, and you can’t hide behind the market when you say it either.”

            Um, really? I mean, can’t decide what they are worth as human beings, that’s a cute idea. But since most of us aren’t willing to sacrifice indefinitely to help even people we like, much less people we despise, it’s a pretty safe bet that we do decide how much people are worth. That valuation makes its way into charity, politics, and possibly markets, but at no point does the value of the typical human life ever hit more than a hundred thousand bucks or so. The lives of the rich and powerful are effectively worth more, of course.

            Markets might not decide the value of human life, but they do decide how much human actions are worth. Whether that action involves decades of hard work or a quick, wise decision from a position of power, markets allow people to collectively assess the value of that action — usually by comparing what they are willing and able to sacrifice to reap the benefit of that action.

          2. The only ones i see clamoring for free stuff and money are the banks and corporations.

            Oh really? Nobody’s demanding free healthcare, welfare, social security, medicare, education, roads, food stamps, housing, public broadcasting, art grants, or subsidized mass transit then?

            If you’re not asking for any of those things, maybe we can get along.

            In case you hadn’t noticed, everyone here hates the bank bailouts and thinks they should have been allowed to fail.

            1. +1 – we don’t like corporate welfare around here any more than other handouts. Even a cursory review of posts and articles would make that obvious.

              1. Not to mention the fact that this is the same person who thinks American corporations should be protected from foreign competition by imposing import tariffs on foreign products, and no doubt subsidizing certain favored domestic industries.

                Progressives are complete corporate welfare queens when it comes to “green energy” and “locally produced” goods.

                They’re just too fucking retarded to realize it.

      2. ha ha ha ha ha
        Oh yeah, the great LIBERTY mythology
        LOL

    2. Point out that the money other people save buying the imported product means they can spend it on something else. And then you can get a job producing that other thing. And people will have both the imported product AND whatever the new product you are producing is. Then point out that it’s selfish to force others to support you by buying your product at above market rates.

      Ultimately the response will come down to suggesting there’s not enough stuff other people will want to buy to support other jobs. Which is absurd. Our standards of living are not maxed out to the point that nobody could possible have anything else to spend his money on.

      1. Now that’s the mythology.

        It’s worked out so well for AmeriKa. If you look at the unabridged unemployment numbers, they’ve been pretty scary since before the crisis. So your theory doesn’t really hold up. Since you couldn’t bust out an equal product for a job that has disappeared, I’m gonna assume the market doesn’t wish it to be.

        Now, i imagine, this is the point where you blame those union thugs for expecting a higher standard of living for ongoing employment.

        1. Why are we more morally obligated to do business with certain people just because of their nationality, ONNTA?

          How is that substantially different that suggesting we have a moral obligation to do business only with men, or white people, or Christians? (It’s not as though you are promoting discrimination in favor of the socioeconomically disadvantaged nationality, after all).

          1. SPIN SPIN SPIN SPIN

            Around and around we go

            So you think brown people or those in other countries should work for less and longer. Interesting, yet oddly frightening.

            1. Actually, they are working for more money and fewer hours, compared to what they were doing before.

              Or do you seriously think they are voluntarily safricing a better life for a worse one, just so they can make cheap products to sell Americans. Out of the goodness of their hearts maybe?

            2. You’re doing it wrong.

              This is the point where you realize that blithe assertion doesn’t work, and where you spring for the violins (i.e., sob story). You *know* that. I’m disappointed *shakes head*

        2. It’s not mythology, it’s a basic statement of comparative advantage, which is pretty much mathematically provable.

          1. Here, you might try looking it up:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage

            You can work through the math yourself. It only requires a little multiplication and division. No calculus, so you should be able to handle it.

      2. Point out that the money other people save buying the imported product means they can spend it on something else. And then you can get a job producing that other thing. And people will have both the imported product AND whatever the new product you are producing is.

        Thank you, Hazel. I hadn’t thought of this. The problem most people have is that they think if an American company outsources, even if we get cheaper products, that the jobs are gone. It’s difficult to explain to people who think jobs are scarce, magical things that the rich are so kind to bestow on us. The words zero-sum seem to make eyes glaze over. The more money people save on imported products, the more money they can save to start their own businesses too. Thanks again!

        1. Also, those new businesses might be in something beyond manufactured goods. They could be massage therapists, or kayak instructors, or medical technicians. Adding to the standard of living in some other way than a physical product.

          Who says that people won’t take that extra cash and spend it on a vacation ?

  27. 3-D television causes global climate change! The science is settled… again!

  28. Heck I don’t even go to the theater any more. It’s all better at home with the large TV, sound system, my own popcorn, a pause button and a bathroom I don’t feel sick going into.

    3-D sounds great. Maybe I will upgrade someday. Maybe not.

  29. Ebert hates video games too.

  30. The push for 3-D is obviously coming from an industry struggling to provide reasons why a family of 4 should pay $32 or more to go to the theatre and watch a movie, when they can just netflix it for a fraction of the cost and watch it at home. It’s an attempt to add some value to the experience because movies at home on a nice setup are an acceptable substitute to the traditional theatre experience.

  31. Just wait for 3D HD porn on your new 3D monitor. With smell-a-vision.

    1. You had me up until the smell part.

  32. May 2 and I have your Nanny of the Month. Don’t worry though, they are fixing the completely retarded law with a new and improved retarded law. It’s retarded^2.

    http://www.wbbm780.com/Hair-Br…..se/6946239

    There’s a reason I cross the river here in STL for only one reason.

  33. Avatar was a piece of shit in 2-D or 3-D, just a high tech remake of Dances with Wolves. Good Indians, bad Solders, good nature, bad technology. It even has the Aliens talking and acting like Indians, riding what could pass for horses, using bows, and spouting lots of mystical mumbojumbo.

  34. I preferred Dr. Tongue’s Evil House of Pancakes in 3-D.

  35. Meet Jack Thompson. He lives in a house cut off from the rest of the world by the lava flows of Kilauea. What was once a suburb of some seven hundred homes is now just him.
    It takes him 2 hours to walk to town for provisions. But he won’t let some fancy volcano force him to move.
    A true American Hero?

    1. My information has told me has since moved.

      1. Was this the guy that was on ‘No Reservations’, with Anthony Bourdain?

        Man, H%R left us with crumbs this weekend. Roger Ebert and Norway, fucking hell. I was hoping the Norway thread would reach the Chandrasekhar limit and collapse into a black hole. The number of “begging the question” accusations and asinine MNG comments, when multiplied by the joke handle constant, according to my calculations, determined that the whole thread should have toppled into an unobservable singularity.

        1. But it is a good thing we all hang at H and R, and not H percent R. Tragedy has thus been averted.

        2. yes it was the same. That was in 2008. I was under a false impression tonight’s episode of Nature was new.

          1. Your response just begs the question, if you cannot respond without constructing strawmen and resorting to ad hominem attacks then I should drink another beer.

            Anyone watch ‘Breaking Bad’ tonight?

            1. How is season three? I only got to the end of season two. God, I hate that wife with the stupid name. She should have died in childbirth.

              1. Pretty intense season so far. A lot of stuff happening, I won’t ruin it for you by giving ant details, but I will say it is definitely worth watching.

        3. Yeah, I was sucked into “Norway” much more than usual – 420 comments and counting! – despite the annoyance aggravated by the vast efforts wasted on defining “strawman” to certain annoying commenter(s). Nevertheless it was a pretty meaty topic, with ample opportunity for references to drinking, Vikings, and other miscellany.

          1. Okay I’ll give you the Viking and drinking references, but MNG has grown very stale. I think he has suffered an head injury lately, because the monotony of his posts indicates some sort of mental deficiency.

            And, how many times must it be pointed out that bank bail-outs are antithetical to libertarian philosophy?

            1. A forever number of times, because libertarian = Republican, don’tcha know.

              I do wish there was more cogent lefty counterpoint around here – if only to counter the echo chamber. I used to believe that shit, but even if I did, I wouldn’t argue my case so gracelessly and belligerent as the few lefty jerks we get around here.

              1. I do wish there was more cogent lefty counterpoint around here – if only to counter the echo chamber.

                Rhywun, I don’t think it is an echo chamber here per se. There is the basic beliefs that most here share. However, when throwing in shades of grey that invariably exist with each posters experience, then interesting things come about. I notice the biggest powder keg here is religion and issues of faith. National defense is another.

                Oh the ABBA reference was germane Rhywun, as Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born in Norway.

              2. I tend to agree with you here, as I think having your beliefs challenged, and you being able to articulate a response backed by logic is important. I think MNG made, for awhile, good arguments that required thought to counter. Now, though, he writes like a man that smokes meth out of a light bulb.

            2. I think he has suffered an head injury lately, because the monotony of his posts indicates some sort of mental deficiency.

              I don’t think he has suffered any specific trauma cap l, a la BFT, GSW, or MVA. I won’t rule out some sort of TIA. I chalk it up to his expoused beliefs essentially being exposed for the fallacies that they are and he is experiencing synaptic shutdown. Like Morpheus in the The Matrix, he wishes to believe so blindly and irrationally, he succumbs to The Gambler’s Fallacy, hoping beyond hope that the right leaders and policies will be implemented to vindicate his fallacious beliefs. In psychiatry, this would be called “defensive mechanisms” to prevent his “Wall of Denial” to be dashed to pieces. And I don’t see his Neo appearing anytime soon.

              1. I should of made myself more clear, as I did not think his brains were literally dripping out of his ears, but rather it was possible that he had experienced a stroke, or perhaps early onset alzheimer’s.

                Leaving that aside, I am curious as to why some would spend their time to post on a message board for the express purpose of disagreeing/annoying the regular visitors of the site. I have no desire to go onto slate and espouse my libertarian beliefs to people who could care less, so what are these people’s motivation? In other words what joy does a troll get out of his craft?

                1. perhaps early onset alzheimer’s.

                  Dementia is indeed a possibility. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a form of thromboembolytic stroke, commonly referred to as a mini-stroke.

                  I am curious as to why some would spend their time to post on a message board for the express purpose of disagreeing/annoying the regular visitors of the site.

                  As I posted upthread, it’s a sick pathology. Either he is the type to get his jollies poking hornet’s nests to get attention or he truly is heading the way of LoneWacko. Because the TeamBlue is still in charge of both the executive and legislative branches of government with sufficient levels of collective belief suited to him, not much, absent HCR, has been implemented. He, like Tony and Chad, is a sore winner. He is like a hobo who suddenly won the lottery, but would still rather panhandle and be a vagrant because it is all he knows.

                  1. I have thought that trolling is indicative of some deeper problem, that is we are looking at a pathology rather than assholery.

                    To me, someone who has very little free time, I like to come here because I like the people here and the conversation is interesting. To spend gobs of time to annoy others seems like such a waste, why not whittle the hours in positive pursuits.

                  2. He is like a hobo who suddenly won the lottery, but would still rather panhandle and be a vagrant because it is all he knows.

                    Isn’t he a university professor? At least the hobo’s money is given by those willing to pay it. Not so with the many state employees sucking at the taxpayer teat.

                    1. I believe he has some sort of terminal degree zoltan. I was speaking metaphorically re: hypothesizing his rationale for posting such kookiness and the etiology behind it. Who knows?

                    2. I will say this though,I would rather have MNG, Tony, Chad, etc over the ever increasing joke handle conversations that have infected this place like cockroaches lately.

                      Cue the joke handle response…

                    3. I have done my share of joke handling. It is fun, but if you and other consistent posters think it is too much of a drag on the site, then I’ll do my part and cease.

                    4. I dig the Lawn Gnome. That’s dedication.

  36. I wouldn’t mock Sensurround, there’s not really a lot of difference between that and Dolby 5.1. Sensurround succeeded under another name.

    I have to say, though Avatar in 3-D was pretty cool, I did come away from it with a sense that I should see it in 2-D so this time I could really see it. The most successful 3-D to date for me was probably Superman Returns, where only a few sequences were shown in 3-D Imax. The silliness of “Put Your Glasses On Now” aside, that worked pretty well (though the movie didn’t).

    1. Watching Avatar in 3D left me with the impression that I should NOT see it in 2D.

    2. Maybe I’m still traumatized by a previous 3D trend in the 80s, which gave me, an impressionable teenager, such atrocities as Friday the 13th Part 3D and Jaws 3D, but until it adds something more useful than random, gratuitous crap popping out of the screen at the me, I don’t see the point of 3D. Wake me up when we’ve reached Futurama-style VR – then I might be interested.

  37. I go halfsies on the whole 3-D hullaballo. Sometime it’s neat. Most of the time, I just prefer that the studios produce good stories and tell them well…..something they largely haven’t done lately. Mostly rehashes and remakes and re-explosions of the same crud. You want to add an extra dimension? Try doing it with character development, relationships and a compelling story

    The reason I’m commenting is this;

    The writer of this article should have done the TEENIEST bit of research regarding “Coraline”, a spectacular piece of old-school stop-motion animation done with physical effects and a painstaking 3-D process…..not “a retrofit” as you LITERALLY GUESSED in this article. You admit it’s the only 3-D you’ve seen, and yet you can’t bother to Google it before declaring it a last-minute afterthought addition to the current 3-D pantheon.

    Lazy!

  38. The Siskel & Ebert outtakes were cute.

    They are like an old married couple, bitching at each other constantly. Then Siskel breaks out in a rant about how the protestants are to blame for everything. He seems half serious.

  39. “Now that the top-grossing movie of all time was made in the format, it’s kind of hard to claim that contemporary 3-D movie projection is just another fad.”

    The only reason people are spending money on 3D movies, because movie companies have turned it into the largest marketing campaign of all time. They are slowly dying, and this is their last resort. It is still a fad, because eventually people will realize how much bullshit it is and stop going.

  40. I honestly have no interest in 3d movies. They seem a waste of good time that could be spent making a movie better. Plus, I found this website by Googling “The purple dragon farted obtrusively into the black cat’s mouth”. Don’t know what the deal with that is, just throwing it out there…

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