As one commenter on this site noted over the past week, would it not be easier right now to run a news story when a major film wasn't going to be made in 3D, as opposed to when it was?
Such has been the effect on 3D on movie box office takings over the past months that it's got to the point where it's almost inconceivable that a major new blockbuster doesn't look to include it somewhere along the line. Only directors with the power of Christopher Nolan or Michael Bay have the chance to say no to this particular trend.
Just today, for example, we've got word that Marvel is looking to make The First Avenger: Captain America in 3D, and even the significantly cheaper Judge Dredd film that's just been confirmed will be going down the same road.
It's been said that this is all down to the Avatar effect, that the nigh-on $3bn in box office takings for James Cameron's science fiction blockbuster has changed Hollywood's perception on 3D for good. For the sheer amount of money raked in by 3D screenings specifically has been a real head turner, and shown Hollywood how it can basically raise ticket prices in one big chunk, with barely anyone complaining.
Perhaps, though, the even more significant 3D moment came with Louis Leterrier's retread of Clash Of The Titans. This is the film that proved that it doesn't matter whether the 3D effect that's bolted onto a film is any good, because people will pay to sit in the dark with funny glasses digging into the sides of their faces anyway.
If you build it, no matter how shitty it is, people will still come.
I should declare my own feelings right here, in the interests of transparency. I've yet to be blown away by 3D. Avatar looked impressive, certainly, but I wasn't one of those who felt that the 3D added a lot to it. The 3D fittings done to the likes of Up, Monsters Vs Aliens and part of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, amongst others, have impressed me not a jot.
Coraline worked well, because it used 3D for genuine effect that was relevant to the story. And I must admit to being really quite impressed with the execution of How To Train Your Dragon in 3D, too. But right now, the number of films with unimpressive 3D is firmly winning.
However, the very fact that the technology is proving so divisive surely proves that it's not working anywhere near as well as it should, and that it's got a lot of work to do to win people over (especially if we're now all expected to buy the new generation of 3D televisions, too). For if this is to be the revolution in cinema that it's being sold as over the past year or two, there should be something approaching unanimous appreciation for 3D. As it stands, head onto any movie discussion board, and consensus of opinion on 3D is best described as hard to find.
Now contrast that with a proper IMAX screening of a film. Not one of those IMAX-lite screens that seem to have popped up over the last year or two. I'm talking about a proper, massive IMAX display, the kind where your eyes can't see anything other than the gigantic screen in front of you. Personally, I'd contend that it's IMAX, rather than 3D, that's the most effective enhancement that filmmakers can make to their movies.
And it all ties back to why I go and see movies at the cinema in the first place. There must be some reason, after all, why I put up with the chattering kids, the legions of text messagers who inevitably sit in front of me, and the man on the end of the row who turns the consuming of a bag of popcorn into an exercise in making the maximum amount of noise from the bare minimum of resources.
As it turns out, there are three reasons why I cherish seeing films at the cinema.
The first is that sound systems in such establishments far outweigh what I've got sitting in my lounge. One consequence of this is that the film can be as loud as it needs to be without it annoying the neighbours/my wife/the cat/my wife again, and thus getting the inevitably shout to "turn the bloody thing down".
The second reason is that I genuinely believe there's something to be gained from watching some films with a big audience. Comedies are great for this, for example, but other genres benefit too.
The main reason I venture to the cinema and hand over my cash though is this: multiplexes own bigger tellies than I do.
This is the killer factor for me. For I love seeing movies projected on as huge a screen as I can possibly find. It's the perfect way to watch a film, for my money, and that's where IMAX comes in. Because to sit back and basically take in a massive wall of movie is a vastly superior way to watch a big film than sitting there with 3D glasses on. I appreciate that you can watch IMAX movies in 3D too, but the latter is easily the less impressive part of that equation.
Let me be clear, though. This isn't me rallying against 3D. I fully accept that lots of people are far more sold on it than I, and I also respect that there are times where it will genuinely be the right fit for the right movie. But it isn't a patch on an IMAX screening. Even more so when a movie has been shot with the IMAX format in mind.
I had the pleasure of watching Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight on a genuinely massive screen, and there were moments when his camera was prowling the heights of Gotham City that it started to make my stomach turn in a way it hadn't at the movies since Sylvester Stallone danced around the mountains in Cliffhanger (a film that, again, I saw on a massive screen).
It was brilliant. It had impact. It took full advantage of the scale of the format, and delivered a cinematic end result that 3D could only look at enviously from the back of the room. It simply offered something that there's no chance of me ever being able to replicate in my living room.
Furthermore, blowing up non-IMAX movies on full IMAX screens also works, in a way that bolting on last minute 3D to a feature doesn't. Because big movies are meant to be seen on big screens, and they get no better than IMAX, even when they weren't shot with such projection in mind.
In an era where we're being encouraged to watch films on postage stamp-sized screens on portable devices, I find I get the most pleasure out of going completely the other way.
I do accept that not every film benefits from an IMAX showing. But for those where it is appropriate, I've yet to walk out of a screening in the IMAX format feeling I've not got my money's worth. I'll happily pay a premium for that, because I do believe that, for very big movies, it really adds to the whole process of watching a movie.
Now contrast that with the couple of extra quid I'm having to pay to see a film shown in 3D. There's no question whatsoever, from where I'm sitting, which offers the better investment. And more often than not, it boils down to this: 3D is more often than not a gimmick, and IMAX is more often than not an enhancement.
Thus, to the producers of The First Avenger: Captain America, Judge Dredd, and the many blockbusters heading to 3D right now: if you want to do something really impressive, call in the IMAX cameras instead. Because they have the potential to offer something far richer to your end product than Hollywood's latest gimmick ever could.
And rest assured, you'll still be able to add your premium to the ticket price. You might be surprised at how many people are willing to pay it willingly, too...