As Avatar approaches $1.7 billion in worldwide box office sales, I cannot help but wonder how we keep reinventing our future.

Three dimensional movie imagery has been around since the late 1890s when a patent for a stereoscopic 3D movie process was filed by the British film pioneer, William Friese-Greene. It wasn't until 1922, however, until the first 3D film, the Power of Love, was shown to a paying audience.

Through the 20s and 30's the love affair with 3D died down, fueled in part by the Great Depression. It wasn't until 1952 when a short lived Golden Age of 3D released the first color stereoscopic feature, Bwana Devil. Owing to the complexity and economics of production,and the birth of Cinemascope, the decline of 3D began in 1953, just one year later.

Several revivals later, one in the 1970s and another post 1985 improved the technology but none brought it to life like Avatar. From the flimsy cardboard glasses to what was the focus of the Consumer Electronics Show this past month, 3D may be coming of age.

Or is it?

The new technology is impressive, but the experience is still a throwback to the 1950s when sitting in a movie house, wearing polarized, tinted cardboard glasses was a novelty. Step lightly into the 3D craze ... it may not last too long.

Fifty years ago, at a ticket price of just thirty-five cents for two features plus cartoons, how could you go wrong.

No comments: