Style Over Substance

Jake Sayre, Staff Writer

Filmmaker, George Lucas, best known for his creation of the Star Wars franchise, once stated, “A special effect is a tool, a means of telling a story. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.”

More than thirty years later, Lucas is once again releasing the Star Wars movies in theatres annually, essentially retelling a story known since the 1970’s, this time in 3D, seemingly going completely against his own values.

Though 3D may not be considered a special effect, it is in the same category.

At this point in cinema, technology seems to be overused to the point that it’s almost like the director is attempting to shield the audience from coming to the revelation that there is no interesting story underneath all of the pretty colors and objects shooting out at you.

There are of course, times when integrating 3D or special effects into a movie is understandable and may even make the experience more enjoyable.

James Cameron’s Avatar is a perfect example of this.  The story probably could not be told at all without the use of computers, considering all of the characters and plot were necessary for it. Making the movie three-dimensional was an add-on – as it always is – but it felt natural and organic, making the film more entertaining.

A report by states that in 2011, 50-70% of ticket sales accounted to 3D films.

Something that is completely unnecessary becoming such a large part of movies is not exactly a bad thing, as long as it has a purpose, like it did in Avatar.

But when a concept becomes a gimmick, and certain films are released solely for that purpose, it becomes clear how much of a business the film industry is.

Movies like Dredd 3D, which was released recently, are not only released exclusively for 3D, but are in the actual title as well.

3D may very well have a place in cinema; it is up for debate, but when a tool that should be a means, becomes an end, there is a clear problem with entertainment.