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Over the Top Critical Reactions to 5 Attempts to Change How We Watch Movies

By Kathy Benjamin | Think Pieces | April 26, 2012 |

By Kathy Benjamin | Think Pieces | April 26, 2012 |

Sometimes it seems like directors and studios are on a never-ending quest to ruin our movie watching experience. Human beings hate change. Yet it seems every decade or so Hollywood just has to try something new. Here are some hilarious reactions to five major changes in how we watch films.

48 frames per second

Normal movies are shot at 24fps, but because 3D is hard to shoot effectively at that slow speed, filmmakers are beginning to experiment with 48fps, starting with this winter’s The Hobbit. Recently, critics got a sneak peak at the new medium.

“Here’s what The Hobbit looked like to me: a hi-def version of the 1970s I, Claudius. It is drenched in a TV-like — specifically 70’s era BBC — video look. People on Twitter have asked if it has that soap opera look you get from badly calibrated TVs at Best Buy, and the answer is an emphatic YES.” — Devin Faraci, Badass Digest

“The movement of the actors looked… strange. Almost as if the performances had been partly sped up. But the dialogue matched the movement of the lips, so it wasn’t an effect of speed-ramping… It didn’t look cinematic.” — Peter Sciretta, Slashfilm

“I had a feeling this 48fps stuff was gonna just look like amped up 120Hz on an HDTV, which looks awful. Seems to potentially be the case.” — Kris Tapley, In Contention

“The fact is that 48 fps 3D is the most startlingly “real” 3D I’ve ever seen in my life. The downside for older types is that it’s too real … In a word, 48 fps 3D looks like high-def video. It doesn’t look “cinematic”, lacking that filtered or gauzy look we’re all accustomed to.” -Jeff Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

“48 fps has an immediacy that is almost jarring.” - Josh Dickey, Variety

Citations: FilmDrunk, Movieline, Twitter


piranha 3d movie poster.jpg“3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches.” — Roger Ebert

“I think 3D is right smack in the middle of its terrible twos. We have disappointed our audience multiple times now… It’s really heartbreaking to see what has been the single greatest opportunity that has happened to the film business in over a decade being harmed. The audience has spoken, and they have spoken really loudly.” - Jeffrey Katzenberg

“3D exists not to enhance the cinematic experience, but as a pitiful attempt to head off piracy and force audiences to watch films in overpriced, undermanned multiplexes. It is a con designed entirely to protect the bloated bank balances of buck-hungry Hollywood producers. It is not a creative leap on a par with the advent of color or sound, as demonstrated by the fact that the so-called ‘3D revolution’ has already faltered on several occasions (the first 3D movie patent was filed in the 1890s and studios pushed the format in the Fifties, Seventies and Eighties to little effect). I know it, you know it, but fewer and fewer people are able to say it thanks to a multimillion dollar campaign which has fostered the lie that only wonky-eyed old farts don’t get 3D.” - Mark Kermode, The Observer

Citations: The Daily Beast, Guardian, THR


“You’ve got to breathe it to believe it - scented movies are here to stay!” — The World Telegram Sun

“The individual smells simply appear in the nostrils without any effort being made to sniff or strain for them. And what is more remarkable, each individual odor disappears promptly when the image smelled leaves the screen…There is no question about its effectiveness in creating illusions of reality.” - Sunday Herald Tribune

“Check off the novel experience as precisely what we’ve labeled it—a stunt. The artistic benefit of it is here demonstrated to be nil. While odors are wafted through the theatre, as the picture is going on, more or less in the nature of certain odors you might expect to accompany certain scenes, the accuracy of these odors is capricious, to say the least, and the flow of sensations from the ‘smell-track’ is highly irregular.” - The New York Times

“To begin with, most of the production’s 31 odors will probably seem phony, even to the average uneducated nose. A beautiful old pine grove in Peking, for instance, smells rather like a subway rest room on disinfectant day. Besides, the odors are strong enough to give a bloodhound a headache. What is more, the smells are not always removed as rapidly as the scene requires: at one point, the audience distinctly smells grass in the middle of the Gobi desert.” - Time Magazine

Sources: MIT, Variety, NYTimes, Wikipedia

take-me-to-town-movie-poster-1953-1020293610.jpg Technicolor

“Whether color can make black and white pictures as obsolete as sound made silent pictures, is, as suggested, quite another question… color is not so pronounced a revolution as sound. Sound gave the pictures an appeal to the ear as well as the eye; it created dialogue; it established a whole new set of dramatic values. Color adds no new sense.” - Fortune Magazine, 1934

“We have concluded not to do more Technicolor pictures for the present, for two reasons: first, because we have had a great deal of trouble in our exchanges due to the fact that the film… scratches much more readily than black and white; and, second, because the cost is out of all proportion to its added value to us.” - Sydney R. Kent, then head of distribution of Famous Players Lasky Corporation, 1925

“We used to hear the expression color interferes with the drama… We propose to continue to improve our product until the last doubter is swept off his feet.” - J.A. Ball, Technical Director of Technicolor, 1935

“Technicolor was always confronted with objections photographing in color required more light, different costumes, a knowledge of color composition, additional time, and one or the other of these points, plus the added forceful argument that it cost more money, made it difficult for us to get started.” - Herbert Kalmus, founder of Technicolor, 1938

Citations: Google Books, Wide Screen Museum, Widescreen Museum


“A film in which the speech and sound effects are perfectly synchronized and coincide with their visual image on the screen is absolutely contrary to the aims of cinema. It is a degenerate and misguided attempt to destroy the real use of the film and cannot be accepted as coming within the true boundaries of the cinema.” — Paul Rotha, 1930

“Bringing to the screen stage plays… tend to make this independent art a subsidiary of the theater and really make it only a substitute for the theater instead of an art in itself… like reproductions of paintings.” — director Max Reinhardt, 1931

“[Silent film] must be plugged, sold, exploited, merchandised as never before. It must be saved for the economic welfare of the entire industry.” — Maurice Kann, editor of Film Daily, 1930

“My personal opinion is that the silent film will never be eliminated, since certain stories are naturally suited for silent treatment and must be completely rearranged to serve as dialogue vehicles…. Most of the stars at the M-G-M studio seem to feel that the silent picture will remain for certain types of stories.” — Nicholas M. Schenck, President of MGM, 1929

“It is obvious that the talking picture has its definite place in the films scheme. But this does not mean that the silent picture is doomed. On the contrary, it will remain the backbone of the industry’s commercial security.” — Jesse Lasky, founder of Paramount Pictures, 1929

Citation: JRank, Wikipedia

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