With the London Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II last Thursday and the nationwide release due next week people up and down the country will be massing to the cinema, for the eighth and last time, to witness the saga’s finale. However, the last of J.K Rowling’s franchise holds one difference that other films did not which is the option to watch the film in 3D.
For a small extra fee, one can enjoy Harry and pals in three, whole dimensions. Originally, Part One of Deathly Hallows was also meant to be available in 3D. It was going to compete with the myriad of movies that required glasses but was never completed on time to justify making it a 3D release. Now, the film has been adapted to a standard that is apparently acceptable in terms of its quality of 3D and audiences must make the decision whether it is worth the extra cash or not. Many fans will probably see it in both two and three dimensions, but, also a lot of people only intend to see it once and so what way is worth choosing?
The problem is although people will believe that the 3D will match the visual effectiveness of a Pixar film or Avatar, which have showcased the latest in digital technology, Potter has not been shot with the intention of being a 3D release like these. Deathly Hallows is formatted with the rather clunky and unappealing Retro-Fitted 3D that has accompanied such films as Clash of the Titans and was only used to exploit the burgeoning market and audience demand for the three dimensional fad.
Harry Potter was filmed in 2D and not 3D so it will most likely look like Clash (Which garnered a great deal of criticism for its shameless use of 3D to exploit a new market) and look unattractive and somewhat tacky in its Retro-Fitted guise. The use of this retro-fitting has gathered a great deal of opposition against the film including the director James Cameron who has blasted Harry Potter being made into 3D as it not shot but in 3D but added in post production. He believes that it should only be used during production and to ‘make classic films more classic’.
There are also the suggestions that Harry Potter has only been shot in 3D for financial rather than aesthetic reasons and it was the decisions of the studios rather than the filmmakers. 3D restricts the level of DVD piracy as it cannot be translated onto the small screen in the same way and so it gathers more profit, as does the increased cost of the tickets and glasses, which again garners more money for the film. The economics of the platform make 3D irresistible for the studios that are doing anything in their power to maintain the faltering
3D does look to be dying out and a film like this will determine whether it survives. Being the biggest film of the summer and possibly the year it will show whether there still is a love for 3D or whether people have got bored of the short lived fad. In the past few months sales for films in 2D rather than 3D have won out, this was the case with Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and Kung Fu Panda. With top directors, like Christopher Nolan, moving away from 3D it could be the end. Only time will tell really, and the box-office of this film in 3D will be a huge indication of its current state. I myself will be watching the final instalment, at least for the first time in traditional 2D and doubt that the Retro-Graded 3D would offer me anything different. All of the previous films stand up for the calibre of the story and the rich characters rather than the effect of them jumping out at you. A 3D film will not save a terrible film and 2D will not diminish a classic.