Nolan: The Dark Knight Rises Isn’t in 3D Because Nobody Likes 3D

    July 19, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Most reports indicate that filmgoers are of mixed feelings, at best, when it comes to 3D. High ticket prices, bulky, uncomfortable glasses, dim picture quality, and literal headaches have all been cited as reasons why 3D might just be a dead technology…again.

And for those of us that fail to understand the magic of 3D, Christopher Nolan is our champion.

The director of what is sure to be the summer’s biggest hit, The Dark Knight Rises, bucked the trend of most superhero movies that hit the big screen this summer like The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman. Viewers heading to the theaters this weekend to see the conclusion of Nolan’s Batman revamp will only have the option to see the film in two dimensions.

IMAX is still a possibility, however.

Nolan’s explanation is pretty simple. Who the hell really likes 3D anyways? Here’s what he had to say in a recent interview:

The question of 3-D is a very straightforward one. I never meet anybody who actually likes the format, and it’s always a source of great concern to me when you’re charging a higher price for something that nobody seems to really say they have any great love for.

Good point, Mr. Nolan.

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert said it best in last year’s essay “The Dying of the Light.” He said:

“I began by asking if you notice, really notice, what a movie looks like. I have a feeling many people don’t. They buy their ticket, they get their popcorn and they obediently watch what is shown to them. But at some level there is a difference. They feel it in their guts. The film should have a brightness, a crispness and sparkle that makes an impact. It should look like a movie! — not a mediocre big-screen television.

When people don’t have a good time at the movies, they’re slower to come back. I can’t tell you how many comments on my blog have informed me that the writers enjoy a “better picture” at home on their big-screen TVs with Blu-ray discs. This should not be true.”

Hopefully, The Dark Knight Rises will prove that a blockbuster need not rely on gimmicks to succeed.

It’s obvious where I stand on the whole 3D issue. 3D lovers, let me know what you love about the technology in the comments.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/gkrew1* DC

    I am not a 3D lover. I do not care for 3D movies. The tickets are too pricey and the technology is not just done right.

  • Angler

    It’s dark and dull because theaters use passive 3d technology, Active 3d is bright and vivid. half of all 3d tv’s are using active 3d, 3d blurays on an active 3dtv at home is the best viewing experience.

    The active glasses cost about $50 compared to passive $1 , so unless cinemas start taking deposits they wont be offering this service anytime soon.
    Also, regular theater screens cant compare to a hd movie on a decent hdtv.

    • Richard C

      I actually prefer passive 3D because the glasses are lighter and more comfortable to wear over my own glasses. And the image tends to feel smoother and more natural to me.

      There are passive 3D projectors out there with plenty of brightness. You just need to go to a theater with good projectors.

  • Side

    Most 3D movies are filmed badly with 3D as an afterthought or converted from 2D in postprocess. Cinematographers seem to still think in 2D. Avengers was largely 2D and spiderman was so subtle it was almost pointless to use a 3D camera. When thought goes into the filming its amazing for example Avatar and to a lesser extent Drive Angry and Alice in wonderland.

    It’s a shame Batman isn’t 3D but its part of a 2D trilogy so it makes sense not to be.

  • james


    Likes 3D:
    Martin Scorsese
    Ridley Scott
    James Cameron
    Ang Lee
    Peter Jackson
    Bryan Singer
    Steven Spielberg
    Henry Selick
    Robert Zemeckis
    Joseph Kosinski
    Rob Marshall
    Tim Burton
    Michael Bay
    Alfonso Cuaron
    Baz Luhrmann
    Wim Wenders
    Jean Luc Goddard
    Werner Herzog

    Hates 3D:
    Christopher Nolan

    Nolan has made a few great films. The other list has made the rest of the great films. Nolan is the bride this weekend, but “nobody likes 3D” is pretty naive statement. Who’s team would you bet on?

    Please repost this article when Nolan starts shooting in 3D.

    • james

      Has Nolan not met any of these people who like 3D? He has to get out more.

    • A.J.

      Let me reiterate Nolan’s comment. Nobody WHO MATTERS cares about 3d. Build it and they will come, but if you give them a headache and rip them off more than they’re used to, they won’t necessarily come again. Great art, when portrayed using less popular methods, doesn’t bring in money or fame.

      • Jim

        Hey, that’s a gross misrepresentation of his views on 3D. He actually says it has a place, and would have used it if he had more time on Inception. Then again, Nolan has also stuck his foot in his mouth by making generalized negative comments about 3D popularity that are untrue and piss me off, so he doesn’t need any more help misrepresenting himself.

  • Gaurav

    Agreed, one thing that has always bothered me while watching 3D movies is that the picture is dull……lacks brightness, we get less then what is made for us. Especially the dark scenes, but thats just the negative point of technology, am sure over a period of time it will get sorted out, as technology is changing constantly……And bout Dark Knight Rises, 3D or no 3D am going to watch it…….many of us are.

  • buckwheat

    Ask anyone who wears glasses. We hate it. Wearing glasses on top of glasses just doesn’t work that well. People’s noses are just not that big.

  • http://www.newalicenwonderland.blogspot.com kcclamb

    Wow. Thing is, I absolutely LOVE 3d. Or, let me re-phrase that. I love the NEW 3d. Old 3d was still flat and color was compromised. The new ones really pop out, and in documentaries with nature scenes, I’ve noticed that they seem crazily real. It gives me the feeling of really being there. The only thing is that not every 3d movie takes advantage of that feeling. many of them have maybe one or two bits that are truly 3d. For the documentaries, even the minutest details are in 3d, like leaves on the trees of a forest. I think that price wise, people should just save their 3d glasses instead of recycling them at the end of each movie. Then bring them to the next 3d movie and pay regular ticket prices. No more high price problems.

  • wbliss

    Wow. I guess just about all of my friends and I are nobodies. Thanks for the insult. Did you take a poll? If so, what did you do to make sure it was a realistic poll of all the people that would watch it in 3D VS 2D? What are those “most reports”? Anybody can say that about just about anything. This is a bogus article with no evidence other than “most reports” to support his claim.

  • lordscion

    I personally enjoy 3d I broughta high end Sony 3d tv for that reason. It not a gimmick. It’s a new piece of tech that gives a greater depth of feel and draws me into the world that much more. The only time 3d is gimmicky is when the peoplemaking the movie use it that way. Prime example piranhas 3d vs avenges in 3d.

  • S

    3D, when done well, adds greatly to the theater experience. A vast setting can be brought to life by 3D in ways that simply aren’t possible in 2D. Movie-makers just need to understand that 3D is a tool that conveys Depth, rather than a tool with which to throw stuff at the audience. That’s the major drawback I see. Many movies created with 3D in mind think we, as the audience, enjoy having debri and other things thrown at us, because ‘HEY , LOOK 3D’. People generally don’t appreciate that, but when you have a movie like How To Train Your Dragon, which takes you through it’s own world and immerses you in the beautiful scenery and the power of flight and freedom with the aid of 3D, it isn’t an experience to miss. Well worth the money as long as those who make the movie know to to properly take advantage of 3D.

  • David fox

    I like the idea of 3D. The problem is that it only works in animated movies. When live action is filmed in 3D there is a problem with focus. Our cameras can’t focus on someone 6 feet away and on the car traveling in the background. What you end up with is a focal point that moves around in perceived depth. The effect causes a lot of problems and just isn’t visualized as real. Once we have a software that will digitally refocus the background to match the true focal point it may work. Till then it will always look fake and cheap.

  • MC

    Besides Avatar, the only live action 3D films that were not major disappointments and worth the inflated ticket price was the brilliantly crafted HUGO and Alexandre Aja’s campy Piranha 3D. Unlike The Avengers, The Amazing Spider Man, Thor, Prometheus, as well as other recent action films that used the 3D format, Hugo was pure magic in 3D and Piranha playfully used 3D to gleefully gross out the audience. Scorsese and Aja truly understood the assets and limitations of the medium in which they were shooting with. My disappoint with The Avengers, The Amazing Spider Man, Thor, & Prometheus is not in the films themselves, but with the fact that they didn’t need to be seen in 3D to be enjoyed. In all of those films I’ve lifted the glasses after eye fatigue and noticed that entire scenes could be seen IN FOCUS without the glasses. It appears that a lot of these films are only spending the time to convert the action sequences to 3D and leaving all the talking and dramatic scenes untouched. This technique has left me feeling duped by the industry to gouge more money out of me. My request to the filmmakers is to shoot the film in 3D only if they have a love for that medium as to converting your film that wasn’t shot to be in 3D only to make more money.

  • Joe

    Inflated price?…is going to the movies period! The difference for 3D is usually only a couple dollars. The real question is why are they charging more for 3D in the first place? Make it the same price then see what people prefer! I have like 20 pairs of those real 3D glasses but I still can’t go to the theater and not pay that extra fee..even if I bring my own…That is the problem with 3D. Stop raping us! Movies cost soo much that I expect a complimentary copy of the movie on DVD if I am gonna see it in 2D otherwise I’ll wait and buy in on DVD or Blu-ray and watch it at my house…I will save atleast 20 bucks on soda and popcorn that way! I expect if I am going to the movies and dropping at least 50 dollars to get an experience that I cant get at home (Not getting financially robbed) and 3D is currently the movies best option to provide such an experience.

    The only real complaint I have with 3D is that the producers dont know how to shoot for it. Fast action in 3D degrades the effect also when the odject moves off of any side of the screen it flattens it. Slow it down and keep it on the screen and 3D will be all the more impressive. I think Mr. Nolan is just making excuses for his lack of true understanding of the technology..I think it is time for him to seek some schooling from experts of 3D before he makes too much of an ass of himself with his public comments.

    • The Other Side of the Coin

      People who take home “like twenty pairs of those Real 3D glasses” instead of returning them are only inflating the price of the next ticket for everybody — including you.

      Plus, popcorn and soda are actually optional. You’re not getting robbed, you’re volunteering your money and then going online to complain about it. Chill.

  • kert

    i love 3d and its only a couple of bucks more i don’t know what hes talking about. any action movie i can see in 3d i do, pirates or the caribean was awsome in 3d.so was the advengers.

  • http://Darknight Lou G

    It is a step forward and you dont HAVE to pay for 3D if one doesnt want to. I’ll wait for Blue Ray

  • http://google Jack

    Love 3d movies.

  • dixie

    i like the idea of 3D but have been disappointed with every 3D film I’ve seen. it feels like I’m missing alot and the film always seems to be dark. I want to take off the glasses to “see” the picture, but that never works. Plus I get eye trouble or tiredness of the eye and an ache in my head. I think that is caused by the format because I don’t have the problem with 2D. So I vote for 2D until 3D is improved enough to not distract from the movie.

  • Radrex

    3D Animated movies are AMAZING when done by Pixar or Dreamworks. Live action movies, IF done right can also be really cool, as long as you are not the type to get sick at them. A lot of people get sick riding roller coasters too but it is stupid to say they suck and no one likes them because they make people sick. But I know they can be amazing if done right because the original Imax movies that were made only for Imax 3D (mostly educational) were amazing and made me feel like I was really there. How can feeling like you are there not be superior to 2D?

  • Phil

    I am a 3d fan. For those people who moan about the 3d loosing its effect at the edges, try sitting closer to the screen. Maybe this is just my personal preference, but I find sitting at the right distance allows the screen to fill your entire vision and immerses you in the whole experience. No distractions and when you can’t see the edges you feel like you are part of the film. That’s how IMAX is so effective also. Never noticed brightness being a problem either. I would like to add that the cheap glasses could be larger. My local cinema has recently started using smaller glasses which may save them money but I prefer it when I can’t see the frames when I am wearing them!

  • zach

    I for one am very dissapointed, i was just now looking up movie times to finaly go see batman in 3D at my local theater……but it is not in 3D….i thought it was as all good movies have two formats available in theaters, 2D OR 3D, our choice to make wich one to see, upon seeing this film is not available on both, i will not go see it now, i can just wait till it comes out, there is no magic with normal 2D and we should have a choice, the fact CN chose to outcast 3D and say no one likes it is bull, he doesnt like it, not us, we love 3D and all these reviews that have been written here prove how stupid CN is for not making it available in both formats, shame, who is he to make the desicion for us just because he feels its a dieng format, no, its the future, the avengers 3D omg awesome, spiderman 3D awesome, resident evil 3D awesome, the fact is people are bored with the normal 2D sitting waiting to pee after the movie, no magic there, just the same mediocre boring thing i can watch at home, movies like noland said are suppose to be an engaging eye opening blast of awesomeness that leaves you breathless in awe of how the pictures are blowing your mind making you feel like your their, gripping your seat, instead of sitting with chin in one had and the other hand gripping privates waiting to pee, the same old movie experience, noland clearly lacks experience in films and filmgoers, for him to make this decision for us and not letting us make the choice on our own is a fail in his career, he will now go into the black hole of film makers because his only success “Batman” will be the only thing he is known for..enjoy the end of the line noland, could have been a better financial end for you if you included 3D. I will save my money and go see Dred 3D when it releases instead, because that movie looks like it has EYEPOPPING 3D VISUALS THAT ALL MOVIES SHOULD HAVE, MAKING ME GO WOW THATS AWESOME INSTEAD OF JUST BORING 2D THAT I GET ALLDAY LONG AT HOME, MOVIES SHOULD BE EYEPOPPING AND MAGICAL, NOT BORING, LEARN CN CUZ YOU JUST FAILED….career over….

  • Alby

    Nolan just lost my respect. I was just looking through Amazon to pre-order some movies and I came across Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and searched for a 3D version which led me to this article. What a disappointment….

    Obviously there are a lot of people that love 3D even though there might be a great majority that don’t. The best thing to do is have options. Since getting a 3D TV, I always opt to buy the 3D version of movies, and actually haven’t bought a regular 2D Bluray at all since. I will most likely rent any movie that doesn’t have 3D, including Batman: The Dark Knight Rises as opposed to spending more money to own it.

    Lost sales….

  • http://Johnsmith John smith

    3D gaming is awesome. Have you ever played Gears of war 3 in 3D it’s amazing. I love 3D Blu rays like man of steel, the hobbit.