I just saw Clash of the Titans in 3D. Kinda. I’m almost certain the 3D was added in post-production, as it was seriously weird.
It just didn’t look right. They’d obviously worked hard to create multiple depths in each shot, but the scale was off. Rooms had a non-Euclidean quality, and seemed too big in places and bizarrely two-dimensional in others. There were obvious discrete depth planes, and faces were just strange: everybody in the film was a convex blob with no detail – noses were flat with the rest of the face – except for a second plane at the edges of their heads to connote roundness, but which was too far away. In more complex scenes the depths sometimes coagulated oddly, and everything became a bit concave. It just looked fake, and tacked on.1
But it gets weirder. The obvious comparison is with Avatar, which was actually filmed with 3D cameras. The people and sets were therefore inherently realistic, but they still had to work hard at the CGI – and most of the film was CGI. The result was, I thought, seamless and incredibly impressive – I spent much of Avatar just looking around at stuff.
Clash of the Titans was also heavy on the CGI. Except the CGI wasn’t 3D either. I’d love to know whether this was for visual consistency or because they only decided on 3D after the film was finished, but they really, really missed a trick here. At one point the heroes attack Medusa, who careens out of a pit with a nest of vipers in her hair. These vipers would have looked great in 3D, but instead seemed to use the same blobby two-on-one-plane, three-on-another post-production technique as the rest. Evil Flying Screamy Things, giant crabs and colossal sea monsters were similarly disappointing.
It just looked bad. I’d honestly prefer to have seen it in 2D, as the badness of the 3D was so distracting. I’m sure it was incredibly hard frame-by-frame work, but there’s just no comparison with filming in 3D from the start. I think I’ll stick to 3D films genuinely made in 3D from now on.
Also, here are my two favourite lines:
- [gruff, heroic, worthy] I mend nets, not wield swords!
- [chasing a lone, injured baddie] Let’s split up and follow the blood trail!
- how do you avoid this, anyway? In 3D the two eyes are seeing different images, but 2D conversions must just use a shifted duplicate. Surely that’s always going to look worse? [↩]