I have seen the future of movie-going, and it is in three dimensions! Finally emerging from the shadows of cheap gimmickry, where it has resided virtually since 3-D movies started popping up in the 1920s, I think it's instead becoming a artistic choice -- like anamorphic widescreen and black-and-white -- that can seriously enhance the movie-going experience. There are an increasing number of movies you can see in 3-D now, though they're still mostly relegated to the 60-or-so IMAX theaters around the country, though Beowulf was a recent exception. (In fact, Beowulf director Robert Zemeckis is among an increasing minority of filmmakers who are pledging to release upcoming films in both 2- and 3-D. James Cameron's epic Avatar will be another one to watch for.)
I probably would've liked Beowulf in 2-D just fine -- it's a big fun popcorn movie, not high art, either way you slice it -- but I caught an advance screening of U23D last night (a friend produced it), and honestly, it blew Beowulf out of the 3-D water. It's nothing more than a well-done concert film, shot during the South American leg of U2's "Vertigo" tour, but in 3-D on the big screen, it became a really unique movie experience. It's not even that I'm huge U2 fan (don't get me wrong, I like 'em as much as the next person), but the three-dimensionality of the film evoked the experience of being in a huge 70,000-person arena, filled to capacity and rockin', like nothing else short of being there. Honestly, I'd rather watch U2 in 3-D than actually have been there, getting sweat on by a thousand strangers in the nosebleeds, and probably watching most of the event on the Jumbo-Tron anyway. U23D premieres at Sundance this weekend, comes out in IMAX theaters soon after, and by the end of the month will hit 500 screens across the country -- so catch it if you can, and let us know what you thought!
Here's a trailer for the film (in 2-D ... laaaaame).