Clash Of The Titans: 3D conversion comes in for heavy criticism

News Simon Brew 3/31/2010 at 2:56AM

The early reviews for Clash Of The Titans are in, and that last minute decision to bolt on 3D doesn’t appear to have been a very successful one…

Just last week - and this following sentence is not an easy one to write - Michael Bay voiced what we suspect many of us were thinking. That the idea of bolting on 3D to a movie in post-production was not a particularly effective one. Granted, it may turn out to be financially lucrative, but Bay's argument - and he was talking with specific relation to his plans for Transformers 3 - was that "this conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3D".

Our report on his comments is here, but as Bay succinctly put it, "Studios might be willing to sacrifice the look and use the gimmick to make $3 more a ticket, but I'm not. Avatar took four years. You can't just shit out a 3D movie."

The yardstick that many of us were looking at to assess just how effective a post-production 3D bolt-on could be was Warner Bros' new blockbuster Clash Of The Titans. This is the film that, infamously, the studio moved back the release of by two weeks, in order to accommodate a last-minute decision to release the film in 3D. The box office take of Avatar, and the premium chargeable on 3D tickets in many cinemas, was too great a lure.

It took 10 weeks in all to convert Clash Of The Titans in 3D, and a little less time to add the necessary couple of words to the poster, which now reads "The Journey Begins - In 3D" (can we mourn the passing of that ‘Titans Will Clash' line one more time?).

So now that Clash Of The Titans has been screened for critics, how has the 3D add-on being going down? Er, not very well at all, as it happens, with the majority confirming the fears that many of us felt. In fact, we're struggling to find a single reviewer with anything particularly positive to say about the 3D aspects of the film (our own review is imminent).

The film itself is picking up solid reviews, but here's a snapshot of the comments on the 3D element:

The Hollywood Reporter:

"The major drawback, especially now, when 3D is all the rage, is its feeble effort in that department. Added as an afterthought in postproduction, the 3D barely registers. Few moviegoers will think it's worth the extra bucks."

Obsessed With Film:

"The problem of course is that in a film with no production planning for an extra dimension the 3D aspect doesn't really add anything to what we're watching, and lifting up my specs now and then I could see what seemed to be the more engaging and immersive experience I was missing."

The Mirror:

"Hoping to cash in on the box-office bonanza created by Avatar, the film is also being released in 3D although I wouldn't bother spending extra for the privilege since the gimmick is severely underused."

It's not the world we thought we were living in when it takes Michael Bay to hit the nail slap bang on the head, but the early word on Clash Of The Titans is that this should be the last 10-week retrofit 3D grab in an attempt to slap a bit extra on the ticket price.

We're still divided on the whole issue of cinematic 3D, and it's probably fair to say that the jury as a whole seems to be out. Unless you're an accountant that is, in which case the verdict was delivered one week after Avatar opened.

If Clash Of The Titans is proving anything though, it's that the one logical request where 3D is concerned would be that, if a studio is keen to release a film in 3D, it, at the very least, commits to it from day one. That way, we don't get a boardroom decision at the last minute that demands a hasty tack-on that doesn't really work.

That's not much to ask, is it?

Clash Of The Titans is released on Friday.