'Inception' cinematographer on 3-D DVD: 'It's just not something I'm that interested in'

Wally-PfisterImage Credit: A.M.P.A.S.While some filmmakers accept 3-D as the inevitable next step — heck, even old-school Martin Scorsese is dabbling in the technology with Hugo Cabret — some of today’s top directors are still holding out. Take Christopher Nolan, whose Inception would seem tailor-made for three dimensions. (Just imagine that Paris cityscape folding on top of you.) Yet Nolan, who still insists on shooting on film rather than video, has complained about the limitations of shooting 3-D, and he has no wish to turn The Dark Knight Rises into a 3-D spectacle. Though Nolan was silent over the weekend, his Oscar-winning cinematographer, Wally Pfister, addressed the subject backstage at the Academy Awards. “I’m personally not a big 3-D fan. It doesn’t really work for me. I don’t like the glasses, I don’t like the dark image, you know, through there. And it’s it feels a little gimmicky to me. That’s my own personal preference, I’m not a big fan of that,” said Pfister, who’s shot all six of Nolan’s films. “In terms of the immersion for the audience, we like to do things like film things in IMAX and put it on a much larger canvas and higher resolution rather than three dimensional. So in terms of what’s happening with Inception, you know, Chris and I are like-minded in that way. I don’t know whether they’re going release a DVD version in 3-D or not, but that’s definitely [going to release]. It’s just not something I’m that interested in as a filmmaker.”

Film buffs might applaud the duo’s commitment to the highest-quality 2-D, but studio bean-counters must be impatiently strumming their fingers against their desks. Would you still like to see Inception in 3-D, as rumored, and will you be disappointed if The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t show in 3-D?

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Comments (24 total) Add your comment
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  • Patrick

    NO 3D!!!!!!!!

    • Mike

      Agreed. Down with 3-D!

  • alex

    so much respect for this guy. um.. great gatsby in 3D? WHY?!?!

  • Sara

    I agree. 3-d is a gimmick and it feels like films only do it now to cash in on the money it brings in. No thank you.

  • Mike

    I’ve never met anyone who says they like 3D. Give it up, Hollywood.

  • TKGM

    No 3D! Thank goodness there’s still one film franchise that hasn’t sold out (Harry Potter I’m talking to you!).

  • Jose

    I’d be interested in a 3D Inception, but it would only work for the exploding street in Paris, plus it was already released in 2D and it was just fine so why bother with the re-release in 3D?

    And is it wrong that I felt that Pfister did not deserve that Oscar?

  • anonymous

    He’s a great cinematographer. I think he really deserved it.

  • John Berggren

    I enjoy the immersive 3D experience, but every choice should be up to the filmmakers rather than the bean counters. If Nolan wants to do flat films, I’ll still be in line on day 1 with my money because his films are genius.
    My only hope is that if someone chooses to do 3d, they do so natively. I don’t like the computer extrapolation of 2d elements into 3d.

    • Frank

      ‘Flat films’? Today’s ‘3D’ is just as flat….check that, it’s actually twice as ‘flat’. Today’s ‘3D’ is stereoscopic, so it’s two ‘flat’ images shown in a way where one eye sees one, the other sees the other. If someone really wants 3D, you’re looking at Holograms.

      I’m not demanding my photos start jumping off the wall at me, I’m not about to start walking around with ‘3D’ glasses to see this stuff, and stereoscopic is over 70 year old technology invented by the Polaroid corporation before they were doing instant film.

      Today’s ‘3D’ is pure gimmick from Cameron, Pfister knows this, IMAX…real IMAX that is, not the LieMAX they have out there, looks more real than this ‘3D’ stuff anyway.

      • James

        You and the rest of the 3D hate brigade need to stop talking about things you know nothing about.

        Mending 2 2D images together results in 3D. That’s exactly how we see real-life 3D as well as cinema 3D.

        Polaroid didn’t invent 3D 50 years ago– Sir Charles Wheatstone invented a way to view 3D drawings in 1838, and 3D was invented before that.

        And it’s not a gimmick from Cameron. How could it be when they’ve been making 3D films since at least the 50’s?

        And IMAX, who you seem to have a ton of respect for, are big supporters of 3D.

        Avatar is no gimmick. It doesn’t have any out-of-screen effects– rather, all the depth happens on the far side of the screen as you look into another world, perceiving better volume, scale and immersion. Filmed maturely and artistically, 3D content is absolutely superior to 2D for these reasons.

        The only thing that’s gimmicky is stuff like Green Hornet, Piranha 3D, Jackass 3D, and other comedies, horrors, and most any recent movie that had a rushed 2D>3D conversion (including the superhero movies Thor and Captain America and Green Lantern coming up).

        Everything else is not a gimmick.

  • LLPR

    Inception 3D Mother nature in peril is going 3D interactive Grace Baine on imdb see trailer on gracebainetv check out the new sci fi hollywood new class of xclass heroines for the GREENzone

  • Will

    Good for Pfister. 3D’s just overdone at this point and the imagery of Inception speaks well for itself without having a gimmick added.

  • Angela

    I do think Inception would be cool in 3-D, but not if they don’t want to do it like that. It’s their movie so they should have creative control.

  • Debra

    WHY? What’s the point? “Inception” blew my mind without 3D, and quite honestly I prefer seeing movies in the best quality the film’s director or cinematographer choose than the gimmicky 3D. Besides, those stupid glasses annoy the hell out of me, especially since I wear regular glasses to see. I’ve given up on going to 3D movies. If a print of a film in theaters isn’t available to view w/o 3D, I’d rather wait to buy the DVD release or rent it through Netflix.

  • Necro

    Debra: WHY? What’s the point? “Inception” blew my mind without 3D, and quite honestly I prefer seeing movies in the best quality the film’s director or cinematographer choose than the gimmicky 3D.


  • WillKeane

    James, Jackass was shot with the same camera as Avatar. I prefer film as opposed to digital and 2D to 3D. 3D has it’s place as long as the film is conceived & shot in 3D and not converted to 3D in post. That just reaks as a studio money grab.

  • Joe

    Color is gimmicky! A good movie doesn’t need color. Give me good tones and focus on textures that B&W gives me. Citizen Kane was an outstanding movie, and it didn’t need Color!!! I hope Color movies die!!!

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