"Jason Bourne" Gets 3D Release in China (And Apparently it Sucks)

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In what has become something of a standard, while Paul Greengrass's "Jason Bourne" came to American cinemas in just a 2D form, a 3D version was created for the Chinese market.  And by all reports it's... pretty terrible.  I mean, it is so terrible, that not only are Chinese audiences protesting the 3D version, but many are insisting they get their money back.  What on Earth is it about this 3D version that is so terrible that even the Chinese (who - let's not kid ourselves - are a key reason the format is alive at the moment) are against it?  Well, I obviously haven't seen the 3D version, but having seen the movie itself I can wager a guess: Shaky camera.  Great 3D can come from anything, but there are a few things a movie wants to focus on to get maximum usage out of the effect.  Long shots help.  Steady camera work is a must.  If the movie has scenes where characters are flying or swimming, it will help (but make sure there is a wide open space so that characters can 'float').  Finally, it helps if the film was not only shot with 3D in mind, but with 3D cameras to boot.

"Jason Bourne" is pretty much the opposite of everything I listed above.

It was not shot with 3D in mind.  It has no long shots.  The editing is chaotic and fast paced.  Also, the camera shakes.  Like, it shakes a lot.  When you combine all these components and try to force them into a 3D experience, I can imagine why that would be a miserable experience.  The shaky camera is especially problematic for 3D, because if the image isn't smooth on some level, the image will be blurry and induce headaches.  For all intents and purposes, "Jason Bourne" was made to be a 2D film.  Last I checked, Greengrass has no interest in the 3D format.  And you know what?  That's perfectly fine.  Despite what this blog is about, I'm more interested in trying to convince studios to preserve ways to view films that were made with 3D options, not encourage all films to be made in 3D.  3D (like color) should not be forced onto a film if it doesn't fit, and if our Chinese friends are to be believed, the 3D version of "Jason Bourne" made them sick.

Of course, there is the OTHER issue they had with this, in the fact that apparently 90% of the screens were showing the 3D version!  I mean, isn't that just the cherry on top of this crap sundae?  How would you like to have a 3D version of a movie that makes the film look worse, makes you feel sick while watching it, is more expensive, AND is the only way to easily see it?!  See, as much as it annoys me that American theaters are making seeing 3D movies difficult in some situations, we could be in a situation where we are forced to see 3D movies that are made worse by the mere fact they are in 3D.  Now, this DOES raise the question of how it should be determined what 3D movies should be widely available and which should be hidden, made available only to the most hardcore of fans!  I will discuss this in a later post.  For the time being, it looks like we dodged a bullet by not getting the version of "Jason Bourne" in 3D.  And, since the movie is already bad, the last thing we need to do is pay extra to see a bad movie that will make us physically sick to watch it.


  1. Big Daddy said...:

    This is an unfortunate situation since it's giving 3D a bad rap and fueling the haters. I believe most movies can benefit from 3D, but apparently greed led to this movie being converted despite any logical concept of what 3D does well.

  1. davidbe said...:

    This was probably a Chinese 3D conversion, not the great conversions that are done by the likes of Stereo D or Legend 3D. Transcendence is another movie that got a bad Chinese 3D conversion.

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