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Harry Potter still magical in two dimensions

Nov. 2, 2010

Warner Bros.
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) star in Warner Bros. Pictures' "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part One."

By Cara Leigh

Grab your broomsticks, whip out your wands and hold on to your pointy hats, ladies and gentlemen: Harry Potter's soaring back into town.

Come Nov. 19, the first cinematic installment of the boy wizard's two-part "Deathly Hallows" will make its eagerly anticipated debut in theaters around the globe and consequently give a rousing (and socially celebrated) twist on the meaning of the word "magic."

But as 17-year-old Harry gears up to confront his ultimate enemy (and likewise worthiest opponent), fans everywhere tilt their heads in uniform bewilderment to hear that our four-eyed hero will be presented to them in 2-D.

That's right, folks. In a recent statement, Warner Bros Pictures said that their filmmakers were unable to successfully convert part one of "Deathly Hallows" into 3-D in time for the movie's release date.

I, for one, am relieved. The concept of a three-dimensional film has not only become an exhausted one, but an empty, cheap and lackluster one as well. What once was a media breakthrough, cultural oddity and rare commodity is now an overused and overrated media cash cow.

How much do I resent this cinematic regurgitation? Let me count the ways: "Alice and Wonderland," "Clash of the Titans," "The Last Airbender," "Despicable Me," "Step Up 3-D," "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," "Resident Evil: Afterlife," "Legend of the Guardians," "My Soul to Take," "StreetDance 3-D," "Piranha 3-D," "Jackass 3-D," "Saw 3-D"... even summer blockbuster "Avatar" was re-released in theaters for a second screening.

All of the other movies listed above trailed loyally behind "Avatar," scrambling to compete with James Cameron's shiny new trend in dead-eyed conformity. Tall, slender blue people just seemed to be more intriguing with an extra layer of surely anything else would be, right?

The result is an onslaught of movie mediocrities that -- with a sloppy or slapdash 3-D conversion -- were thrust into the limelight, and sometimes even heralded as revolutionaries in film technique. (It must be acknowledged that films like "How to Train Your Dragon," "Shrek Forever After" and "Toy Story 3" were not only conceived for the extra dimension, but wonderfully executed.)

In all truth, 3-D is not new at all. Nearly a century old, 3-D only began to be acknowledged and refined in the '50s. Mind you, their notion of the effect was ever-confined to an actor's luxurious point, coupled with a cheesy, "Look over THERE!" but it was a humble beginning and a solid springboard for future generations.

Now here we are: acquiring cranium-splitting migraines, unpleasant motion sickness and wallets so empty you can just see the tumbleweeds inside, wading through Hollywood's 3-D cinema backwash simply in pursuit of a film truly worthy of three dimensions.

For you 3-D fanatics, I come bearing good tidings. If you just can't stand the thought of watching a film in merely two dimensions, then you will be overjoyed to hear that the average moviegoer will be bombarded with 3-D film after 3-D film for at least the next two years.

But the Harry Potter finale will not be joining those weary ranks -- at least not for now.

Look at it this way: you won't have to shovel out three extra bucks to see a movie that is already exquisite enough of a story on its own merits. For this film franchise to even acknowledge 3-D is unnecessary and irrelevant to the beloved phenomenon. Fans will flock to see Harry and the gang regardless of whether Ron, Hermione or Neville aim their wands at an eye-crossing distance.

"Deathly Hallows" doesn't need a sensationalist effect to dazzle its audiences or enhance its storytelling. The experience in 2-D is more than satisfactory as is.