• Life of Pi
    director Ang Lee calls 3D ”
    ” and talks about its overuse.
  • Lee has used 3D on three of his past films:
    Life of Pi
    Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
    , and
    Gemini Man.
  • Lee admits to feeling pressured by economic and studio pressures to create 3D movies in the past.



Oscar-winning director Ang Lee voices his opinions on 3D filmmaking. Lee is an Oscar-winning director behind films such as Life of Pi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Brokeback Mountain. He has won two Oscars for Best Director — including for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi — and has been nominated for Best Picture three times.

Per IndieWire, Lee speaks out regarding the use of 3D in filmmaking. The director made a generalized statement about the use of 3D calling it “so bad.” He said that the “filmmakers are bad” who make these 3D films, and the theaters are “stingy” and “dim” and do not support the technical needs that 3D could have. Nonetheless, he has felt “pressure” in the past to create 3D movies, including “economic pressures” and “studio pressures.” Check out the full quote from Lee below:

I tried higher frame rate and I tried 3D. I tried new ways of making movies. Those pictures are really sharp. That’s a lot of pressure. Everything is difficult, so that is always a great pressure. I cannot get into detail on how to make those movies. People have not tried even one minute of that scale. I did two feature films. That’s great pressure. Of course, that brought in economic pressure, studio pressures, doing something nobody really knows. That’s a lot of pressure. It’s quite complicated [in ways] that audiences don’t see.

In general, not only my two movies, 3D in general … [is] so bad. The filmmakers are bad. The theaters are bad. The whole ecosystem is bad. It’s not made for [3D]. I refuse to complain, to blame it on the medium … it’s the audience, and the industry, [who] were not prepared.

The theaters are stingy. It’s really dim, you can’t really see it. It’s flickering, and the 3D. People do a poor job, [it] gives you a headache, it’s purely bad. You can’t blame the audience for not liking it because it’s bad. And they’re asked to pay more money. When it gets good, people like it. It’s simple. 3D is different than 2D. Your mind works differently. You cannot compare the two. One is sophisticated and the other is like a baby. That’s why I developed new projectors. It’s four times brighter. It’s a new language a filmmaker has to pick up, audience has to get used to it, it just takes time.

Is Ang Lee Right About 3D?

Is 3D Right For Some Movies?

Neteyam laughing in the water in Avatar: The Way of Water

What Lee gets spot on is the fact that 3D is overused by an industry looking for ticket sales over strong narrative choices.

Lee’s comments on 3D come after he has thrice attempted films in the format. These films were Life of Pi, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and GeminiMan. Earning Lee an aforementioned Oscar for Best Director, Life of Pi was well-regarded critically, and led to box office success. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Gemini Man were both panned, with the former receiving a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes and the latter an even lower 27%. Neither film matched anything close to the prowess that Lee has displayed in other works within Lee’s Oscar-winning career.

Lee’s non-Life of Pi 3D career highlights a problem with 21st-century 3D, part of which Lee covers in his argument. This issue is an attempt by studios to make 3D ubiquitous, using it for copious works wherein 3D does not make a lot of sense. Because, as Lee says simply “3D is different than 2D,” not all stories warrant being cast in three dimensions. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a great example of this, for it is a war drama whose dramatization need not be based on the spectacle of objects protruding from the screen.

That said, there are films for which 3D provides a huge benefit. A clear example would be James Cameron’s Avatar franchise, whose stunning water effects are made even more magical in the 3D sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. The immersive quality of the world of Pandora — from the world to the visuals themselves — is part of what gives the Avatar franchise its appeal, therefore making the 3D nature of the film work.

So, Lee is partially right in his statement about the use of 3D on screen. The director perhaps comes down too hard on the side of 3D being bad, though he does make sure to “not blame the medium.” What he gets spot on is the fact that 3D is overused by an industry looking for ticket sales over strong narrative choices.

Source: IndieWire

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