Episode 68: How Are We Going to Find a Supreme Leader Without a Map?

The Overthinkers tackle the third dimension on film.

Matthew Wrather is joined by Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel (briefly), Mark Lee, and Josh McNeil to overthink the third dimension in movies.

Update: After recording was done, I heard the static on my line. Very sorry for the less-than-stellar sound quality. I’ll do better next time. —mw

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Download Episode 68 (MP3)

21 Comments on “Episode 68: How Are We Going to Find a Supreme Leader Without a Map?”

  1. Chris #

    Edgar Allen Poe is to American literature as Sigmund Freud is to psychology. Or what Dan Brown is to current literature.

    Also, there was an episode of The Simpsons recently (it was the season premiere last season, I believe) where Marge works at a erotic bakery (also, Homer is a bounty hunter). Clearly, since that Halloween episode Springfield has found a need for such an establishment. Perhaps Homer brought it back to Springfield from the real world?

    Lastly, since I cannot say no to any Simpsons conversation, the best Treehouse of Horror vignette is Citizen Kang. Although, amongst later “non-classic” seasons of The Simpsons, the one where Homer is the Grim Reaper is quite good.


  2. HBomb #

    I tend to agree with you all that 3D is a bit overrated. It is also annoying to have to wear those glasses over your actual glasses… Okay, I’m commenting on several 3D movies, so I’m going to break this up…

    RE: Harry Potter 6

    I saw Harry Potter in 3D IMax the day it opened, just as any HP geek in LA or NYC should have (Transformers was still on all the IMax screens… I’ll diverge for a moment and say that Transformers 2 was totally worth the $3.25 I spent to go see it in the theater… my dislike of Shia LeBoeuf and Megan Fox translated to me enjoying watching them be attacked by giant robots.)

    Oh, anyway, HP in 3D was lame. Plus they blew up the millenium bridge in London, that looked only semi-cool. Plus my friend pointed out that HP6 took place in 1996 (Harry Potter was born in 1980, same as me!), so the Millenium Bridge was not even up yet. And basically the only thing in 3D we see is Harry being hit on my a waitress in a London coffee shop. Seriously.

    RE: The Christmas Carol

    I am excited about seeing The Christmas Carol in 3D… saw the preview in 3D and it was fantastic, I was trying to catch the snowflakes. So I must say that 3D does make the movie going experience more interactive.

    RE: Avatar

    I’m curious about this movie as James Cameron seems very excited about the camera he developed… as for the effects that I think Mark Lee mentioned… he did develop them with a partner who’s name I do not recall. He let Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson play with his new toy camera too and they really liked it. Boys will be boys.

    The movie is also being released in 2D, but as I too thought the trailer released online looked like a video game, I am unsure about it as a 2D film… it depends on character development, which JC has been pretty good with in the past, thinking of T2 and Titanic. I for one am slightly disappointed that Sam Worthington is going to be a 10ft tall blue alien for most of the movie, but I do love that he is giving a paraplegic the opportunity to walk and run again and I hope JC and Worthington really developed the character in that sense. Remember how thrilled Ariel was to get legs in The Little Mermaid?

    Oh, and I heard rumor that Cameron may be rereleasing T2 and Titanic in 3D… T2 I would see in 3D, but Titanic… no. And I did the T2 3D attraction at Universal a couple months ago when Mom was in town and it’s pretty good, but the effects are so old now, the attraction was made in the mid-90s probably… Ironically, the best attraction at Universal Hollywood is Waterworld (The Simpsons ride is also pretty damn good.)

    RE: The Final Destination

    My roommate and I went to go see this in 3D a couple weeks ago and actually enjoyed it! My roommate is a huge fan of really bad horror movies, like the Saw franchise, and in living with her I have acquired a new appreciation of them. We actually met the lead actor at a charity event back in March so that was one of the drawing points. But it was quite entertaining, I haven’t seen any of the other Final Destination movies. One point though: in one of the opening scenes they show a guy cleaning his toenails in 3D. That is something that should never be captured on film *shiver*.


  3. stokes OTI Staff #

    I’ve heard that Poe’s reputation as a great writer is rock solid in France, and Russia, and really anywhere they don’t speak English. Same with Lovecraft, who runs into basically the same problem: interesting existential content, potentially embarrasing prose.


  4. stokes OTI Staff #

    By the way: y’all sound old on this. “These damn kids, with their 3d films, and their hip-hop music! Get off my lawn!” People had the same discussion about color film, when they first created it. And film, when they first created that. And recorded music, when they first created that. And opera, when they first created that.

    Now I’m not trying to be a jerk, here: they were right every time, and Belinkie is right about this too. 2D cinematography has advantages over 3D, just like black and white had advantages over color. I would be really sad if 2D goes the way of black and white. But every time a door closes, another door opens. 3D will be a gimmick for a while, and then people will learn how to *really* use it, and eventually we’ll wonder how we ever lived without it.

    It’s possible that this won’t happen. Some new film technologies never catch on: 3D didn’t the first time it rolled around. But it’s the most likely scenario. Especially if they ever figure out how to do the 3D thing without glasses… they really are a drawback.


  5. Dan #

    I don’t know if it was just me, but the sound quality on this episode was so noisy as to be unlistenable.


  6. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    @Chris – You are totally right. “Citizen Kang” is just pure awesome. “Don’t blame me; I voted for Kodos.” Ah, memories.


  7. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    @Stokes – I guess what bothers me is the idea of taking old movies and making them 3D. Can we all agree that colorizing black and white movies is lame? And can we all agree that widescreen is better than pan and scan? It’s the same thing with adding 3D to something that was never intended to be 3D. A movie should be enjoyed the way it was designed to be enjoyed.

    That being said, I know someday I will pay a silly amount of money to go see Star Wars in 3D. Damn you, Lucas.


  8. RiderIon #

    My favorite Treehouse of Horror episode is the fifth one. The Shining parody is alright as is the Homer with the time traveling toaster. I prefer the thrd skit where the faculty at Springfield Elementary decides to start murdering excess children from detention and serve them as lunch. Thankfully, it’s all a dream. Instead there’s fog that turns you inside out.

    @stokes It’s not my opinion that black and white went out of style because color was the in thing. Black and white went out of style because of what was done with it after the introduction of color. Even after the advent of color, good films still came out in black and white, The Fly being one that jumps to mind. The vast majority of black and white films that came out after that were either subpar or incomprehensible art student films.

    Can someone please explain to me what all the hype for Avatar is for? I’ve seen the trailer, I understand that it’s Cameron’s first film is ages but it doesn’t appeal to me at all. It doesn’t sound interesting, it doesn’t look that great (especially for how long it’s been in production) and I am ready to simply write it off in a case of hype backlash on my part.


  9. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    @Riderlon – Wow, all three of those segments were in the same episode? Amazing – those guys were truly comedy-writing badasses.


  10. RiderIon #

    @Belinkie It’s truly a testament to The Simpsons’ old writing staff that they could put so much humor into one episode. It also shows that the new writing staff isn’t up the standard of times past as evidenced by this year’s episode. I’ll freely admit that I only watch the Simpsons anymore if it’s a rerun I happen to catch. The exception being the Treehouse of Horror episode. I go out of my way to make sure that I watch it.


  11. stokes OTI Staff #

    @Belinkie: Yeah, turning old 2D movies into 3D would be an abomination. But I’m pretty sure that this won’t happen very much, just like colorization doesn’t happen that much (anymore). The “film as art” culture is strong enough that people will want to preserve the original intentions of the artists. I’m sure that a few special effects spectaculars like Star Wars will get a 3D re-release, but I don’t see the 2D versions ever really going away.

    @Riderlon: Your argument about why color replaced black and white doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. You say that it went away because they weren’t making good movies in black and white. It makes a lotmore sense to say that, by the time they stopped making good movies in black and white, it had already gone away! And the later black and white movies that most people would call good were in a very real sense either “subpar” (super low budget, i.e. Night of the Living Dead or Clerks) or “incomprehensible art student films” (the result of an oddball aesthetic choice by the director, i.e. Psycho, The Fly, The Good German, The Man Who Wasn’t There, etc). Pretty much any “normal” movie is color by default, and has been basically since the technique was perfected. In other words, color became the status quo, which is the same as being the “in thing” except it’s permanent.

    I agree with you on Treehouse of Horror V, though. Straight-up brilliant.


  12. RiderIon #

    @stokes Never thought of it that way. Thanks for the insight

    Color became the “in thing” and the standard, is 3D going to be the new standard? I don’t think it’l become the new standard for everything as certain genres don’t have a practical use for it (romantic comedies and dramas come to mind). I do agree with whomever said on the podcast that 3D is going to hit the superhero genre next. It won’t surprise me next year if we see Iron Man 2 in 3D and I’m positive it’s coming, if not 2009 then definitely 2010.

    I’ll admit though, I haven’t seen any recent films in 3D, partially because very few theathers in my area have been carrying them. Captain EO at Epcot was the last 3D film I’ve seen and that was nearly 20 years ago.God, I’m getting old.


  13. Megan from Lombard #

    re the clamshell packaging: It’s been passed around (someone even put up a clip on YouTube) that if you use a can opener to unseal the packaging then you don’t get the jagged edges.

    I saw ‘Up’ in 3D and I have to say that I was pretty unimpressed. Maybe that’s because they had few of the sight gags that normally come along with the type of filming. But the trailer for ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ looked pretty awesome in 3D.


  14. stokes #

    @Matt — I think it’s a pretty stupid idea. But a 3D theatrical release will not “replace” the 2D original… you’d need a 3D DVD for that.

    Would all the Disney movies get 3Dfied? That depends first on whether Beauty and the Beast is a hit, which could go either way. Even if it is, I’d be surprised if anything earlier than the little mermaid got the treatment: the golden-age Disney art style is a lot harder to reconcile to 3D than, say, Aladdin is. And even if all the old Disney movies did get this treatment, that’s a pretty small subset of the larger set of “movies in general.” By the same token, colorized versions of some old movies do exist, but Ted Turner’s “colorize the lot of them and be damned” strategy never got off the ground.


  15. stokes #

    By the way, I saw bloody valentine 3d in 3d, and it was awesome. I might have to make it the subject of my next post, now that you’ve got me thinking about it.


  16. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    @Stokes – But what you’re forgetting is the reason all those black and white movies were colorized was to create content for a new TV channel. And it wasn’t abandoned because people hated it – it was just too expensive.

    So let’s say that ten years from now, they introduce a TV that can broadcast 3D, without the need to wear glasses. People will be excited about this. They are going to want to have 3D content. And at that point I’m worried that 3D Star Wars becomes more viewed than regular flat Star Wars. Or 3D Beauty and the Beast is the Beauty and the Beast people grow up with.

    I realize this scenario is so far off that it’s silly to think about. But when your kid is surprised to learn that Lord of the Rings wasn’t originally shot in 3D, don’t come crying to me.

    PS: Yeah, My Bloody Valentine is a cool little slasher film, with or without 3D. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel – it’s just a nice wheel.


  17. Tomomi #

    You guys disappointed me on this particular podshow. I listened and listened, but nothing. *sigh*

    The name of Jabba the Hutt’s band is… Max Rebo Band!


  18. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    @Tomomi –
    And apparently, Max Rebo is the elephant keyboard player. That makes me happy. There aren’t enough bands led by keyboardists. I guess he’s like the Billy Joel of that galaxy.

    Too bad they all die on Jabba’s sail barge. I feel kind of bad about that. Maybe Luke was a little too extreme in blowing up everybody. A lot of those people were probably just servants and slaves.


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