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Great insight, great question that does need to be answered. I've wondered the same thing about paying more. We've seen a few movies that have been highly pushed as 3-D, but saw in good ol' normal 2-D, instead of paying the extra. Sometimes, I thought that maybe it would have been nice to have that depth, but agree that the hi-def may be enough on its own. Most of the jump off the screen fx are not justified in the story and are too forced.
3-D TV? Seems to be even harder to justify!
Eddie: You mean to tell me you could have taken your hand out of those cuffs at any time?
Roger: Not at any time. Only when it's funny.
The problem with 3D is basically how a studio decides to shoot a picture. If the studio decides after the fact that a film 'needs' to be 3D but originally shot in 2D they will "retro-fit" the film.
The most recent film that did this was Clash of the Titans and it didn't work out too well. 3D doesn't make a film, story will always be king -- but it can give audiences a new way to experience a movie. If Avatar would have tanked you better believe every other studio would run very far away from 3D.
The difference is, Avatar was shot using 3D technology, and it shows in the final work. A retro-fitted 3D film is simply nothing more than a gimmick, one that if over-used will actually kill the market its trying to create. Personally, I'm still not sold on 3D films, much-less 3D television. However, 3D video games really intrigue me.
A great example of Hollywood living by a follow the leader mentality is studios rushing to make CG cartoons after they saw the success of Toy Story. Again, story is king irregardless of what technical advantages exist. I have yet to meet anyone who thinks "Antz" is a better movie than Toy Story...