02/22/2011 08:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Time to Say 'No' to 3D

I've said it before and I'll say it again: 3D is a scam. A gimmick. A rip-off. And it's time to stand up and say, "No more."

Because 3D, apparently, is becoming the studios' go-to feature when it comes to ginning up box-office receipts. But it's not clear whether audiences are falling for it.

Sometimes they don't have a choice. When your child wants to see the latest kid-oriented feature and the only theater in your neighborhood has it in 3D, what's your alternative?

The whole comic-book-movie craze has yet to peak - and 3D seems to have given it a boost, despite such stinkers as The Green Hornet and Tron: Legacy. Movie executives are hopping on the bandwagon, because that extra dimension means they can jack up ticket prices by as much as $5 - even though that extra dimension makes the movie darker and slower, without adding anything to its ability to engage you.

So many of these 3D efforts have flopped - most recently, count Green Hornet and Sanctum as bombs - and yet the tide seems to be rolling in that direction. Latest example: this weekend's Drive Angry, yet another Nicolas Cage extrusion.

Indeed, despite all the films that Martin Scorsese supposedly has stacked up like planes over Newark - a Dean Martin film, a film set in Japan, one about the guy who killed Jimmy Hoffa - Scorsese's next film, Hugo Cabret, is in 3D.

And the big news out of Australia is that style-over-substance master Baz Luhrmann is remaking The Great Gatsby - in 3D. Oh joy. Never mind that Luhrmann's last movie, Australia, was a cow flop that nearly closed before its first screening was complete.

I can sort of understand Scorsese - the ultimate cineaste as filmmaker - wanting to venture into a new cinematic realm and doing it with what is, essentially, a children's movie. So you've got the greatest director of his era - yes, I said it and I meant it - dabbling in two arenas he's never stepped into before: a movie for kids and a film in three dimensions. But is that dimension necessary? Of course not.

As for Luhrmann and Gatsby, well, where to start? I'll reserve judgment on the film itself until I see it (though I lump Luhrmann in with Ridley and Tony Scott - directors whose embrace of style over substance has somehow won them an undeserved respectability).

But just the idea of The Great Gatsby in 3D?

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