Where Your Favorite Directors Stand on Stereoscopic 3D

A lot of people have a lot of things to say about 3D.

Some of us love it for what it is, some aren't so fond of it, and some think the current iteration of stereoscopic technology is just a stepping stone en route to something greater.

Its always fun to see where the people at the top of the creative industry stand on matters, so we rounded up a nice spread of quotes from some of today's most important directors.

We tried to grab a range of perspectives, including directors that have shot in 3D, a few who stand against it, and one or two who still haven't had an opportunity to use it.

So here we are, starting with Mr. Cameron himself (can you guess his position?):

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James Cameron (Aliens, Avatar, Titanic)

boy and girl watching 3D movie
Rebecca Nelson/ GettyImages

Excerpts from a much longer Voice of America interview conducted by Stephanie Ho:

“If I thought it was a gimmick I'd be the biggest idiot in history, to be so dedicated to developing 3D equipment. Every single thing I've ever said in public about 3D is about quality... so it's really, I think, about delivering a quality product to the screen, and why is 3D better?

Well, because we're not a race of Cyclopes. We have two eyes. We see the world in 3D. It's the way we perceive reality. Why wouldn't our entertainment be in 3D? It's absolutely not a gimmick, it's an alignment. It's a calibration of our entertainment industry to the way in which we actually sensorally perceive the world.

It's absolutely inevitable that eventually, all or at least most of our entertainment will be in 3D.”

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Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit)

Excerpt from Jackson's fourth vlog entry from the set of The Hobbit:

“Shooting The Hobbit in 3D is a dream come true. If I had the ability to shoot the Lord of the Rings in 3D, I certainly would have done it. The reality is, it's not that difficult shooting in 3D. I love it when a film draws you in and you become part of the experience, and 3D helps immerse you in the film.”
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Chris Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception)

From Jeffrey Ressner's fantastic DGA interview with Nolan:

“I find stereoscopic imaging to small scale and intimate in its effect. 3D is a misnomer. Films are [already] 3D. The whole point of photography is that it's three-dimensional.

The thing with stereoscopic imaging is it gives each audience member an individual perspective. It's well suited to video games and other immersive tech, but if you're looking for an audience experience, stereo is hard to embrace.”
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Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Prometheus)

From Scott's Prometheus panel at Comic-Con 2011(via Slashfilm):

“...with the help I've had from a wonderful cameraman and his technical team, it's been, for me, a pretty straight forward ride. That said, I'll never work without 3D again, even for small dialog scenes. I love the whole process. 3D opens up the universe of even a small dialog scene, so I've been very impressed with that.”
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Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E, John Carter)

Excerpt from an interview Stanton gave at Den of Geek while promoting (the underrated) John Carter:

“Personallly I'm not a huge fan of 3D. I don't go see 3D stuff myself, but I'm not against it—I just thought, someone else that cares should be in charge of this. So we've got a great guy who cares at Pixar (Bob Whitehouse), and he's overseen all our other films.
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Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Fountain)

Darren gave the following statement in an interview with MTV (via Slashfilm):

“With the right project, I'm totally into 3D... Like everyone, I thought Avatar was an incredible experience... there's backlash at this point, but I think that's just because it's been overexposed, just because people are rushing to bank in on it.

There's no doubt that interesting things are going to be done in 3D.”
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Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

From a JoBlo press release following the announcement that The Avengers would be released 3D:

“There are definitely movies that shouldn't be in 3D. The Avengers isn't obnoxiously 3D. There's no, oh look we're going to spend 20 minutes going through this tunnel because it's in 3D! ...But it's an action movie. Things tend to hurdle toward the screen... I like to see the space I'm in and relate to it, so 3D kinda fits my aesthetic anyway.”
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Rian Johnson (Looper, Brothers Bloom)

Rian has a lot to say about the current iteration of stereoscopy, and where he thinks the technology is going in the future. If you're at all interested in the debate, I strongly recommend reading the essay he published at his Tumblr page.

His is one of the most nuanced opinions that you'll come across, so it's definitely worth a read. Here's a small excerpt:

“3D is absolutely analogous to the development of color film, and on the developmental timeline stereoscopic photography is the equivalent of hand-painting color onto black and what frames. This perspective gives (for me at least) a vantage point to finally appreciate and enjoy stereoscopic photography.”
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Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Bastards)

Excerpt from a Benjamin Secher interview for Telegraph:

“What's great about Avatar is that it's not just a movie, it's a ride. There's a case to be made that it's an even better ride than it is a movie. It's a complete sensory experience.”

And also:

“I was thinking of 3D after I saw House of Wax. I've always liked 3D. I was thinking 3D after I saw Friday the 13th... so if I had the right stories, for instance if I could do Kill Bill all over again I'd be tempted to do it in 3D.”
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Martin Scorcese (Goodfellas, Hugo)

From Scorcese's 2012 CinemaCon panel with Ang Lee:


“There's something that 3D gives to the picture that takes you into another land and you stay there and it's a good place to be...

It's like seeing a moving sculpture of the actor, and it's almost like a combination of theater and film and it immerses you in the story more. I saw audiences care about the people more.”