Back in July, I polled you all on your top three most memorable 3D experiences. The most popular involved the movies Avatar, Hugo and Life of Pi. Were I to ask the same question today, Gravity might very well take the number-one slot. This is a movie that has broken the record for how many saw it in 3D versus 2D -- 80% of ticket sales compared to Avatar's 72% and Life of Pi's 68%. It's a movie that had usual 3D haters making an exception and urging moviegoers to see it in the more expensive format (and preferably in IMAX to boot).
Somewhat ironic given that it wasn't even shot in 3D, Gravity might be a savior for the format just in the nick of time. Until now, this year seemed to be indicating 3D was on its deathbed. Only two months ago I wrote, "Clearly moviegoers are tired of 3D," while reporting that The Wolverine and Turbo were lowpoints for the industry with respective 3D shares of 30% and 25%. Maybe now Hollywood will better recognize that we only really want it when it's necessary and done well, not all the time and so they can make money off it.
Is Gravity the best 3D movie of all time, though? Or is it just one great enough to spark our interest in the enhancement/gimmick again, even if only temporarily? How does it rank against our favorite 3D movie experiences? Is it not so much the best movie in 3D as the movie with the best employment of 3D? There are a lot of different questions to ask regarding where it fits and just how significant it is.
Once the box office reporting is through, Gravity will mainly be remembered for its effects breakthroughs rather than its 3D records. Unless the Oscars suddenly present an award for the best use of the format this year. Not that it will need to given that this movie WILL win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, making it the fourth 3D spectacular in five years to do so.
As for my pick for the best 3D movie ever made, both in terms of it being the best movie in 3D and best use of 3D in a movie, I'm going to point to my answer to this week's Criticwire Survey. The question was Gravity based and asks, "What's a film you thought would change movies forever...?" I went with Werner Herzog's 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, indisputably the most important 3D movie ever made.
Is Gravity the best 3D movie ever made?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter:
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