i saw the last airbender a few days ago. it was, disappointingly, awful. poor story, teenage editing, awful acting, and maybe some of the poorest script choices ever conceived.
and sadly (strangely? inevitably?) the terribleness of the actual film wasn't even what irked me the most. oh no, i'm so used to shit dripping on to my lap near every time i venture in to a movie theater, the fact that i was watching yet another set-up for yet another trilogy of soulless big budgetry, barely phased me. i simply stared at the screen, allowing the mind-numbing imagery to batter out another few brain cells.
what torqued my movie-loving soul the most was the fact that the film, like so many already this summer and so many more to come, was in (cue booming drums and flashy visuals) 3-D! i've vocalized my distaste for the cheap gimmick that is 3-D! before, and even sliding the glasses on to my face prepares me for yet another brown backed slide down shit mountain. before the last airbender though i accredited my dislike for 3-D! to the fact that it usually signaled a film that spun on the lazy axis of visual effects. with so much money thrown towards the ability to see leaves flutter in to your face, i can never imagine that a whole lot is left for a little thing called story. sure toy story 3 blasted me from the bay inland, but i consider it a fluke of the new found medium. 3-D! is a death rattle from a bloated tech-whale, and every time i force those hipster-glasses-gone-wrong over my eyes, i shudder a bit, knowing exactly what comes next.
and still, this aspect of 3-D! wasn't what kicked me the most times in the uvula. during the film, in a boorish bit of dialogued exposition, i decided that in no way whatsoever could my 3-D! glasses be helping or hampering my viewing experience. thus, rebel that i am, i pulled the glasses off of my face and to see what would a 3-D! film in un-3-D! would look like.
as it turns out 3-D! films in un-3-D! look much like the films we we're happily watching for years and years before some pea-brained ass in a leather chair on sunset boulevard decided that 3-D! was the wave of the future. well, they look similar, except for the colors portrayed on screen are actually those colors. one fails to realize that the trick behind, ahem, 3-D! glasses is polarization, a way of pushing the brain and eye to disconnect slightly, drawing the image on screen seemingly closer to the face. to achieve polarization one must tint the glasses slightly, making it so we're viewing our films, our beloved films, through cheap-o sunglasses. yes, the laser beams shot from the laser beam gun are seemingly "wizzing" past our head, but also every bit of beautiful color we could be laying our eyes on is, relegated to somewhere between it's original color and a muted, charcoal-like gray. we are not feasting on an array of delicious colors, but instead chewing the ash of a film put to the fire. it is the sad, unheralded truth, that 3-D! is not only robbing our films of the need for story, but also robbing us of the true visual nature of what we might be seeing.
what i want from the studios isn't the dismissal of 3-D! as a viable filmic option as there are those small-brained individuals in the world who would like to watch jennifer lopez getting a pap smear in enormous, monstrous 3-D!. what i would enjoy rather is the opportunity to never, ever, have to view a 3-D! film again. that i could see films that sucked as hard as the last airbender (and oh how hoover-ish this beast of a film was) in all of the visual glory they were meant to be presented in. i don't want to be an extra four to five dollars to have my optic rainbow painted over with opaque paint.
criterion counsel: film rented. film unwatched.