Oh So Dull “Life Of Pi” Confirms the Death of 3D.

Zhang-Ziyi-9Ang Lee is one of the most for­mi­da­ble film mak­ers work­ing any­where in the world. After begin­ning with the charm­ing The Wed­ding Ban­quet (’93) and Eat Man Drink Woman (’94), he made two of the very best films of the last two decades.

Sense And Sen­si­bil­i­ty (’95) and The Ice Storm (’97) com­bine sub­tle­ty, intel­li­gence and range with a vis­cer­al, emo­tion­al depth. And they both cap­ture per­fect­ly the social mores and polit­i­cal com­plex­i­ties of 19th cen­tu­ry Eng­land and 1970s America.

He fol­lowed that up in 2000 with Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Drag­on. The phys­i­cal ties and bonds that bind human beings togeth­er and dri­ve them apart have rarely been explored quite so tan­gi­bly. And few films are as emo­tion­al­ly sat­is­fy­ing and as enig­mat­i­cal­ly layered.

peopleglassesge_450x300Life of Pi is its exact oppo­site. An obvi­ous­ly gay writer express­es his devo­tion by sit­ting and lis­ten­ing as an Indi­an man tells an inter­minable tale of a tiger on a raft. And we have to sit through the guts of two hours, as a com­put­er gen­er­at­ed tiger “inter­acts” with a CGId boy, raft and sea. And the only hold that it might con­ceiv­ably have on your atten­tion is the fact that it’s all shot in 3D.

When tele­vi­sion arrived in the 50s, cin­e­ma respond­ed by re-invent­ing itself to burst forth in glo­ri­ous Cin­e­mas­cope, and then in 3D. Then, when video arrived in the 70s, cin­e­ma respond­ed once again with a still under­whelm­ing ver­sion of 3D

And, with the arrival of the Inter­net in the first decade of the new cen­tu­ry, 3D was once again wheeled out to stave off the immi­nent demise of cin­e­ma. This time it was going to save tele­vi­sion as well.

But every­thing we see in the cin­e­ma and on tele­vi­sion is already in 3D. All “3D” does is to extend that illu­sion from the screen to your eyes. And yes, now that tech­nol­o­gy has final­ly caught up with it, for the first minute or so, it real­ly is extra­or­di­nary to behold. 

HowToMarryAMillionaireBut there are only so many fire­flies you can be amazed by as they appear to be buzzing but inch­es away above your ears. The sec­ond minute is per­fect­ly fine. But by the third minute, you get used to it. And you go back to the actu­al story.

If you want to see what the future holds for 3D, have a look at the woe­ful How To Mar­ry A Mil­lion­aire. It was the first film to be shot in Cin­e­mas­cope. And shorn of its WOW fac­tor, today it looks hope­less­ly clum­sy and embar­rass­ing­ly thin. And what a crim­i­nal waste of Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and, dear Lord, Lau­ren Bacall. 

As for tele­vi­sion, why would any­body want to watch, say a sport­ing event or a doc­u­men­tary in 3D? They’re already in 3D. What’s going to be added by uti­liz­ing the space in between the screen and your eyes when view­ing them?

I hope that what­ev­er bills he need­ed to get paid when he agreed to take this on have now been ser­viced. But Life Of Pi I’m afraid can be added to the Hulk (’03) as yet anoth­er point­less explo­ration of video game tech­nol­o­gy des­tined for a dusty shelf somewhere.

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