It's the Great Gatsby and the era of the story and it being a narrative kept my hopes up that at last, after Hugo, this would be a film that saves 3D.
Two techniques that were lost on this film. All the glorious detail in the period setting of the film was lost in the montage like cutting and filming that the Director resorted to.
Entire scenes looked like watching the action unfold in a diorama setting. The combination of high camera angles, wide field of view and interaxial choice, made every one look 2 feet tall in the movie.
The Great Gatsby – Stereoscopic 3D Review:
I’ve not been reviewing stereoscopic 3D movies recently, as really, there was no need to. All the movies seem to follow a formula: Shoot 2D for 3D, and convert in post. Now while I’ve acknowledged (with caveats) that conversion has gotten better in the past 2 years… I still maintain that conversion is best suited for action scenes where everything’s moving too fast to matter anyway, or for stunt shots where budgets won’t permit multiple 3D rigs or the shot itself would be too expensive to risk 3D in the hands of the in-experienced.
So why did I go see the Great Gatsby in 3D? – I don’t quite remember when or where, but I had made a note to see it the first time I heard it was be shot in native 3D. After all… It’s the Great Gatsby and the era of the story and it being a narrative kept my hopes up that at last, after Hugo, this would be a film that saves 3D.
Sadly… it was not to be.
Here’s the condensed version of the critique on the Stereoscopic aspects of the movie:
Music Video Cutting in 3D:
Who edits like that for a 3D film? It was as though someone laid out a song on a time line and cut to a 4/4 beat. The beginning of the film had these rapid cuts every 4 to 5 seconds. There was no time to immerse the audiences into the world of Jay Gatsby.
This is a classic example of a big name Director/Cinematographer not “getting” the medium of 3D and yet diving head first into the pool (yes that was one of the better 3D shots toward the end of the film)
I have to be harsh and say, that some-one goofed up on this. Either the stereographer did not advise the Director, or the Director did not pay attention, or the editor was given a free hand. Somewhere in the chain, somebody is responsible for ruining what could have been a film on par in S3D work with Hugo.
Hugo 3D workmanship it was not:
There was probably an attempt to pay homage to the excellent gliding 3D camera in Hugo, but unfortunately in the Great Gatsby, it fell short. In Hugo, the camera work in 3D was like a symphony. In the Gatsby, it was cacophony. The completely un-motivated camera moves, while they would have looked good in 2D, created extreme dwarfism in 3D.
Dwarfism in Stereoscopic 3D:
This is why I believe, the stereo supervisors and Cinematographer did not do enough research or are fresh to stereoscopic 3D. Entire scenes looked like watching the action unfold in a diorama setting. The combination of high camera angles, wide field of view and interaxial choice, made every one look 2 feet tall in the movie.
Spatial relationships between objects and subjects cannot be cheated in a 3D film. The un-motivated switching between an objective to subjective camera did not work as intended in this film. In stereoscopic 3D, it is an art to get this right so that artifacts such as dwarfism do not surface.
There were certainly shots later on in the film that were effective with the subjective camera work and stereo space adding to the mood, but for the most part it looked like a 7 foot camera operator shooting the scenes.
Keyframed and Deep Staging in 3D:
Two techniques that were lost on this film. All the glorious detail in the period setting of the film was lost in the montage like cutting and filming that the Director resorted to. There were no Transformers in the Great Gatsby, Iron man did not even make a cameo appearance… So why was the pacing of film and the camera work (in 3D) treated as such?
Overall the Great Gatsby was a film that could have been so much more than it was in 3D. For once, it was the great story with it’s much talked about denouement and good acting that rescued a badly shot 3D film.
Some of the best stereoscopic 3D scenes were the composited 3D typesetting floating around in 3D space.
What about 48 fps?:
Did no one learn from the Hobbit? 48 fps stereo is beautiful. It certainly would have saved the massive strobing effect seen in many of the scenes in the Gatsby.
Ghost Busting, or Lack of it:
Now i’ll admit, I saw the movie in a Cinema with Dolby 3D, so I do not know if it was the sole reason for the cross talk in some scenes. I did however find myself wondering why the colorist did not have a traveling matte toning down some of those scenes when it was easy to do so to bring down contrast. The Lamp-posts on the pier being one of the prime examples that stuck out.
Verdict: If you are serious about learning the art of visual storytelling in Stereoscopic 3D, go see the film, and learn what *not* to do with the camera and edit.