Point/Counterpoint: Disney Re-releases in 3D
It’s official—we’re getting old.
As college students, we’re old enough to be legitimately nostalgic for the way movies used to be. Maybe we can’t relate to the subjects of silent films or the advent of Technicolor, but we do miss the days when Disney made fully animated musicals every year or two, and the sequels were just straight-to-video monstrosities we all ignored.
That’s what “The Lion King 3D” is capitalizing on: nostalgia. “The Princess and the Frog” was great and all, but for the most part, Disney—and Hollywood in general—is putting out kind of lame movies. Given the choice between seeing “The Lion King” or, say, “Dolphin Tale,” I’ll choose “The Lion King” every time.
So, I’m in favor of any excuse to see my favorite movies again on the big screen. 3D technology provides that excuse.
I’m not necessarily saying that “The Lion King 3D” is a significantly different viewing experience from the original. It doesn’t need to be, but it is different enough to keep the movie fresh. You can come out of the theater with a new visual appreciation for one of your childhood favorites. And even better, a whole new generation of kids is exposed to the film.
One of Disney World’s best attractions is Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a 3D adventure through five iconic Disney songs. If you’ve seen it, you can understand the pleasure of not only seeing “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” on the big screen with the special glasses, but also how awesome it is when the food and dishes pop out at you in “Be Our Guest.” Why not expand to the rest of the film?
So, I’m firmly of the opinion that the trend of re-releasing older, well-loved movies in 3D should—and inevitably will—continue. Filmmakers will always lack originality, and they’ll always try to make a quick buck by capitalizing on what people already like. So what are the alternatives? Sequels? Remakes? It’s a much better option to just re-release the original. And there are plenty of movies I can think of that could be really interesting to see with a 3D element. Imagine “Fantasia 3D,” “Dark Knight 3D,” “Pan’s Labyrinth 3D.”
If I’m going to pay the $15 to see a 3D movie, I need to know it will be amazing. “The Lion King” meets that standard, and so do most of the other movies that are going to be re-released. I can’t necessarily say the same for whatever Hollywood happened to release this week.
Why mess with a classic? Personally, I am against the recent trend in the film industry to re-release classic movies in 3D. Does 3D make that much of a difference in quality, or is Hollywood merely using these films as a ploy to increase profits? While “The Lion King 3D” had great success at the box office, I don’t see the appeal. Why spend the $12+ when I can simply watch the original version on DVD? The price of a DVD these days is actually less than the cost of going to a 3D movie, and with a DVD, I can watch the movie as many times as I want.
I understand the “reliving the magic” mentality that brings many to the theaters, and I’m not necessarily opposed to that. What I am opposed to is the use of 3D. The nostalgic fondness I associate with a movie such as “Beauty and the Beast” does not mean I want to see an “improved” version in 3D. I’m just fine with it in its original format, and putting it in 3D isn’t guaranteed to make me like it more. In fact, 3D might ruin the movie for me by changing its original essence. If people are so excited about the chance to relive a part of their childhood or getting to share the magic they experienced from the movie by taking their kids, why does that automatically imply 3D? Why not just re-release the 2D versions in theaters?
Disney in particular plays off the nostalgia of young adults, leading me to argue that the box office success of “The Lion King 3D” is not so much due to its being in 3D as much as its being in theaters. Its release offered audiences a chance to see this classic on the big screen once again—3D just happened to be part of that experience.
I get it: 3D is the hot trend in the industry now. But I’d rather see Hollywood innovate and create new characters and storylines to love, instead of just refurbishing old ones. Hollywood should be reinterpreting these classics to fit today’s world. In an industry built on innovation, 3D re-releases are the antithesis, emphasizing the industry’s profit-seeking nature over creativity.
Hollywood seems intent on continuing the 3D trend sparked by “Avatar.” My one word of caution to the industry is: Don’t alter the original movie. Go ahead and add your 3D technology, but please, don’t edit the essence of the films themselves. The re-release in 3D should not precipitate a change in content, only a change in technology affecting how audiences engage with the film.