Don’t Touch the Art

September 14, 2012

I was a fan of Pixar before I had a child whose devotion to “Cars” means I have seen Lightning McQueen more in the past four years than I have seen my youngest sister. (Hi, Maggie!) I think “The Incredibles” is, well, incredible, and “Ratatouille” is so good at examining the power of food that I can forgive it for having a name that requires spell-check. And I like “Finding Nemo,” which is being rereleased in 3-D today.

What I do not like is this current obsession with taking perfectly good films and applying a technology that is not only unnecessary but actually detracts from the viewing experience.

3-D can be a powerful tool in the right filmmaker’s hands. What 3-D is not is a Midas touch, adding visual richness to everything it touches. When a film shot in 2-D has 3-D retroactively added, the colors get dimmed and the image gets blurred (particularly in animation). So why even use it? Oh, right. Because what 3-D does do right, every time, is make ticket prices go up.

Watching a film as a family is wonderful; movies are the best gateway to thinking critically about art. Add in a theater, where kids have to learn to be quiet, not kick seats and revere Milk Duds as the ultimate movie candy, and you have something really special. But when a studio junks up a film just to get more of your money — well, buy your Duds at CVS and break out the DVD.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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