3-D or Not 3-D? That is the Question (and “Star Trek Into Darkness” too)

Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in "Star Trek Into Darkness"

Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in “Star Trek Into Darkness”

In discussing the idea of movies in 3-D Alfred Hitchcock said, “It’s a nine day wonder, and I came in on the ninth day.”  The great director was, of course, referring to his own 1954 movie “Dial M for Murder, ” shot in 3-D.  By the way, if you ever have a chance to see “Dial M for Murder” in 3-D, it is quite good.  Now, what does any of this have to do with the new movie “Star Trek Into Darkness”?  Well, although Hitchcock correctly pegged early 1950’s 3-D as the passing fad that it was, today 3-D is a very different story.   For those of you who  have not looked at movie advertisements for the past few years, the film industry, in an attempt to hang onto an audience which now has more entertainment options than ever before, has resurrected the formerly obsolete 3-D format to great success.    

One  morning last week I found myself at the AMC Lincoln Square multiplex on the Upper West Side, looking for something about which to write for this week’s column.  My doctor, of all people, told me that he enjoyed the new Star Trek movie, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” so I thought I would give it a try. 

All AMC theatres have a pre-noon discount.  All shows before noon are eight dollars.  It used to be six dollars.  Then, not too long ago, the “bargain” crept its way up to seven dollars.  Now, I discovered, it has reached the height of eight dollars…that is if I chose to see “Star Trek Into Darkness” in 2-D, the way in which we normally see movies.  However, if I wanted to see “Star Trek Into Darkness ” in 3-D I would have to pay a premium, which would have brought my “discounted” ticket up to 12 dollars, an increase of 50%!  Again, this was at the time of day that was supposed to be less expensive.   To see “Star Trek Into Darkness” in 3-D after the noon hour  (same theatre), when most people go to the movies,  is a whopping 19 dollars for an adult ticket! 

This 3-D thing has gotten out of hand.  I think 3-D movies are fine (and I have seen some that are great), but when movie-goers are charged, and apparently are complacent enough to pay, nearly 20 dollars for a movie, it is really time to boycott this format.  Yes, I know, the obvious answer is that if I do not like the high price of 3-D movies then I do not have to go to 3-D movies.  My response to that lame line of reasoning  is that if the film industry is allowed to drive up ticket prices for 3-D movies, this type of leverage can, and will, be used to drive up the price of 2-D movies as well.  As it is, a post-noon ticket to the 2-D version of “Star Trek Into Darkness” is fourteen dollars and fifty cents!  For that kind of money they should throw in a ride on the Starship Enterprise itself!  Needless to say, I elected to see “Star Trek Into Darkness” in 2-D.

The good news, for all of my griping, is that “Star Trek Into Darkness” is, for the most part, a pretty good movie.  It has an intelligent (if a little overly long) story, all manner of special effects and a good cast.  The story is a bit formulaic and tries to hang onto audience attention, for its north of  two hour running time, with lots of CGI (computer graphics imaging) flooded action sequences. 

The idea here, as with the previous “Star Trek” movie, called simply “Star Trek” (2009), is to re-boot the series for a new, younger, audience.  As a result the “Star Trek” characters here, as in the previous movie, are all younger versions of themselves.  This has been nicely emphasized by allowing young Spock (Zachary Quinto) to communicate with his older self (TV’s original Spock, Leonard Nemoy) through some sort of time warp. 

These two re-booted “Star Treks” are prequels.  To this end, the story of “Star Trek Into Darkness” is essentially a prequel to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982), which was itself a sequel to the TV “Star Trek” episode, “Space Seed,” with a bit of “Star Trek III: the Search for Spock” (1984) thrown in.  If you can follow all that, then you are ready to beam aboard!

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About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on June 1, 2013, in New and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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