In the coming weeks, the studios are going to shove more 3-D movies on the public, whether we like it or not.
Thanks to CGI and other advances in technology, not to mention the phenomenal box office success of "Avatar," studios now think that 3-D is the way to go with everything. Even 3-D TVs have hit the market, and one wonders how long the networks will take to start filming their programs in that format.
The 3-D battle comes to a head in the coming weeks with the release of the animated "How To Tame Your Dragon" coinciding with the release of "Clash of the Titans," which was re-edited from a 2-D movie to a 3-D one to play upon the success of "Avatar."
Because there are only a limited amout of digital 3-D screens in each city around the country, the studios have gotten nasty with each other, each one threatening/cajoling the individual theaters to use the limited screens for their movie at the expense of the other. The theaters, meanwhile, can't upgrade to 3-D screens fast enough.
The studios and theaters get the added benefit of charging an extra $2 a ticket, but for what?
I've written here about the relative lack of merits for "Avatar," which was interesting to look at for about 20 minutes until you realize that they are filling the 3-D screens with two-dimensional characters and a plot rehashed from half a dozen other movies.
I also saw "Alice In Wonderland" last week, and while the 3-D did enhance the movie to some extent, it came off as a tad lackluster overall. Of course, that film has also killed at the box office.
Warner Bros. announced that all future "tentpole" movies (the ones that cost a bunch and are expected to rake in huge numbers) will now be shot in 3-D, perhaps most notably, the final two "Harry Potter" movies. Does this mean the next "Batman" movie from the studio will also be in that format? I hope not.
With all of the digital technology now available, filmmakers are tempted to see what tricks they could put into their movies to enhance them visually when they should be concentrating on story, which is really what all moviegoers want at the end of the day. James Cameron is an example of that with "Avatar," and George Lucas really needed to learn the lesson for the "Star Wars" prequels (not shot in 3-D, but certainly overly obsessed with CGI).
Special effects should be used to enhance the story; the story shouldn't be an excuse to put in more special effects. For the past century, the magic of movies has come from the collaborative effort of the actors, the set designers, the composers, the editors, the hair and makeup folks, the costumers and the cinematographers, all working in conjuction with the writer and director to make a script the reality.
Thanks to the technology available, there's not a single person listed above -- even the actors -- that can't be replaced with something digital.
3-D was a fad first introduced in the 1950s, a gimmick that went away before briefly returning in the '80s. I suppose it's too much to hope for that it will go away again.
'ELLEN' SHOW: Viewers who watch "Ellen" regularly on WPGA noticed this week that the show hasn't aired. I spoke with WPGA and Warner Bros. executives. Debbie Hart, GM of WPGA, said the show's contract with the network ended last week. The WB spokesman said they would announce sometime next week which Macon station they've signed a new contract with, but he didn't have an airdate of when the show would return locally.
R.I.P. ROBERT CULP: The veteran character-actor died Wednesday at 79. He was a fine actor, best known for his TV roles on the series "I Spy" and as an FBI agent on "The Greatest American Hero."
WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Tonight marks the season finale of "Caprica," (SyFy, 9 p.m.). Some "Battlestar Galactica" fans have criticized the show for its pacing and relative lack of action compared to the previous series, but I've enjoyed it.
On the networks, CBS continues with the NCAA basketball tournament all weekend, though if you were like me and picked Kansas for your bracket, you probably don't care at this point.
The new series "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," (ABC, 9 p.m.) in which the British chef tries to help American kids with their nutrition, has a new episode tonight. Also on cable is a new "Spartacus" (Starz, 10 p.m.)
On Sunday, Sacha Baron Cohen is the guest voice as "The Simpsons" (Fox, 8 p.m.) travel to Jerusalem on an all-new night of Fox comedies.
For the CBS programming of "The Amazing Race," "Undercover Boss" and "Cold Case," remember that the NCAA tournament will likely run over, so set your DVRs accordingly.
NBC inflicts more of "Celebrity Apprentice" upon us at 9 p.m., though Donald Trump announced that he'd be returning to the un-celebrity format next year to help people laid off in this economy.
On PBS, "Masterpiece Classic" (GPTV, 9 p.m.) airs a new "Sharpe" as Sean Bean reprises his role as the British military hero in the Napoleanic age.
On cable, it's episode 3 of "The Pacific" (HBO, 9 p.m.), which has been good, but I haven't enjoyed as much as I did "Band of Brothers."
Finally, "Breaking Bad" (AMC, 10 p.m.) is new and as always, awesome.