Recently I was able to catch a showing of Wes Craven’s new film MY SOUL TO TAKE 3D. The film is Craven’s first feature in over 10 years and was also his first foray in the 3D medium. If you got a chance to read my review [My Soul To Take Review] you know by now that the film is a failure on both levels, which is extremely disheartening due to the Craven’s track record of delivering several great genre efforts. MY SOUL TO TAKE would have been a pretty bad film on its own, but somehow the studios managed to take this lazy effort and make it even worse by charging us extra for the “opportunity” to see this film in 3D. The film was not shot in 3D and there is literally no specific scene that was shot with 3D in mind, which makes this effort even worse 3D post conversions than the CLASH OF THE TITANS remake, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and M. Night’s THE LAST AIRBENDER.
I have been against the integration of 3D in nearly every single release the last couple years. It isn’t because I’m cheap and don’t want to fork over the extra dough (even though I would rather not) it’s because they are post converting these films strictly for greedy reasons. I happen to enjoy the medium when they are using it for fun like in the remakes of MY BLOODY VALENTINE and PIRANHA and in movies where the 3D actually adds to the excitement of the film like in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. It’s films like that where I don’t leave the theater irritated that I could have had the same or better experience without the dimmed shades, which I already have to wear on top of my actual glasses that I need to be able to see anything at all. The waves of post converted 3D films do not fully grasp the idea of the technology; they seem to be focused on the dollar signs alone.
In films that utilize the technology in greater respects present images with great depth and add a certain amount of excitement that involves you in the experience. The post conversion movies add layers to the image but layers don’t always equal depth. The result of adding flat layer on top of flat layer simply dulls the image if you can even notice a difference at all.
As movie lovers we have little pull on the studios themselves. As 3D becomes more prominent in the theaters 2D screenings of the same movie seem to be being phased out, giving us no choice but to pay the extra cash in order to see the movie at all. It seems evident the studios are willing to forgo the scrutiny of the public in exchange for box office glory. The only option for us is to revolt against these poor excuses of 3D, ensuring they do not see the box office returns they are so desperate for. It is however a double edged sword, because we could then be subject to even higher ticket prices to pick up the slack.
As frustrating as it has been to endure the resurgence of three dimensional cinema, there have been small doses of triumph hitting the silver screen. The hope being that if 3D continues its foothold in worldwide cinema, that filmmakers utilize it competently by shooting scenes with the effect in mind or by using the special cameras to convey the medium the way it’s meant to be seen. The process is time consuming and expensive I’m sure, but the result makes the product much more endearing to the audience using their hard earned money for a quality cinematic escape.
As MY SOUL TO TAKE has had time to settle in my brain the bitter taste still lingers. This is a problem because historically as I have time to think about a movie a few days to a week after seeing I usually end up liking it more than I would have normally admitted, that is nowhere near the case here. The film is terribly acted, executed and is incredibly awkward. There’s an overly religious character that delivers some of the most laugh out loud moments and I in no way think its intentional. To avoid reviewing the film a second time, I want to focus more on the 3D or lack thereof. This is a teen slasher film so you would assume it would use 3D like MY BLOODY VALENTINE did last year, with knives and blood flying at your face, or even that shot in the trailer of a hand reaching out of the wall over the main character. None of those three aspects are in the actual film. I can recall one moment where I noticed something appearing to come out at the audience and it happens in the opening ambulance crash sequence and no, it’s not the ambulance that flies at you, it’s the small amount of dirt and gravel kicked up in a split second shot. The outrage I was feeling the deeper into the film I got was so overwhelming that I nearly just took the glasses off and endured the blurry foreground and background images and I predict it would have made my overall impression of the film the same. The fact that it’s still a terrible film 3D or not begs the question why bother spending the money to convert it to 3D at all.
The redeeming aspect to take out of the weekend is that the box office estimates are in and the film debuted at number five with less than seven million dollars in box office receipts. While I would have preferred a much lower total it still nice to see that it didn’t overwhelm the much better films above it to bully its way to the top. It is extremely disheartening to see that this film debuted higher than a far superior horror film from the week before LET ME IN. [ Let Me in Movie Review ] In my opinion even though MY SOUL TO TAKE is supposed to come off as an original horror film it is far more offensive than any terrible remake because it borrows so heavily from ever horror movie before it and LET ME IN is a fantastic rehash that stands well on its own. There is literally a moment from MY SOUL TO TAKE that feels like they ran out of ideas and stole dialogue and motives from Craven’s far superior teen slasher SCREAM, which is just makes you sad that Craven’s creativity has sunk so low.
The slack box office numbers are indeed relieving. It is nice to see that audiences are becoming increasingly aware of the con game that is post conversion 3D. Even with the bloated ticket prices, often being at least three or more dollars more than 2D movies, the film is now the worst opening for 3D films, and that is something positive to take from this debacle.
Moving forward we can only hope that the studios take a lesson from the message audiences sent by not forking over the extra cash to see an intensely mediocre film with 3D that looks the exact same as 2D. The lesson we hope they learn is that if they must make these 3D movies, do it the right way. Spend the extra money to shoot it in 3D, if it makes money and people like it, then great; if the trend continues and it flops then take what you’ve learned and eliminate 3D from your mind and focus on a more effective way to revolutionize the movie experience. If MY SOUL TO TAKE is an indication of where horror is headed we are in a lot of trouble, I do not think that is the case though. I, along with many other Wes Craven fans are hoping for a return to form when he releases SCREAM 4 upon the world and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. In the meantime Halloween is rapidly approaching and horror fans will have many DVD and theatrical options to take in many of them easily a better way to spend your money than on the shameful MY SOUL TO TAKE.