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Commentary: 3-D movies not always the best choice

BY TOMMY MORGAN JR. | DECEMBER 03, 2009 7:30 AM

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Confession time: I’m a fan of Jackass.

Perhaps it’s because my tween and early teen years were during the height of Jackass’ popularity. I was one of the many young boys who ignored the “do not try this at home” warnings and tried to make my own series of dangerous home movies. These never got more deadly than bad skateboarding videos, but I was proud to defy the warnings in my 14-year-old attempts at glory.

Nowadays, as I grow older and pretend that I’m wiser, whenever I see new information about Jackass, I still give it a passing glance.

When Jackass 2 hit theaters in 2002, I was mostly uninterested, until the 12-year-old in me took over and I went on opening night to see the Jackass guys do whatever their depraved minds came up with that time around. The same thing happened in 2008 during their “takeover” of MTV. I wasn’t glued to the television for all of it, but I still tuned in from time to time.

Now, I think I have to draw the line.

Wednesday, Johnny Knoxville officially announced that the crew will begin filming Jackass 3 next month. And it might be in 3D.

“Whatever dimension it’s in,” Knoxville said on the franchises’ website, “just know its going to be f’ed.”

I’m all for 3D movies. The potential for entertainment seems limitless, capped only by a technology of which we haven’t yet discovered the true limits. It’s an advancement toward more technology and greater entertainment (and potential Lawnmower Man scenarios, but let’s focus on the positive).

However, is it possible for a mostly new and exciting art form to be advanced by a movie such as this?

I mean, it might be. I suppose Jackass 3 will be a move in a direction. 3D filmmaking, after all, has for the most part been the realm of kids’ movies, bad horror flicks, and IMAX snooze fests. But is it a step in the right direction?

Of course, as humans, we seem to always take the most depraved route to advance technology.

Many have said the success and longevity of VHS and DVD were brought about because of the adult-film industry. Perhaps, instead of taking such a route with 3D films, we should work on advancing the art and the medium, not merely use it for two-hour-long penis and flatulence jokes.

Even in the realm of Jackass, I’m not sure this would be the right call. There are plenty of nearly vomit-inducing moments in the series, and bringing in 3D would most likely push that over the edge.

Plus, looking back at the previous incarnations of the Jackass franchise, I’m not so sure that my viewing of the “Butt Chug” would really be enhanced by 3D technology.

As always, though, there is hope on the horizon. More and more action movies — The Dark Knight made use of IMAX and 3D technology — and good horror movies such as Zombieland are about to get the 3D treatment. We don’t need Jackass to sell people on 3D movies.

Let’s just hope that, in the end, it is the good movies (and the potential of the medium) that win out, and that our lasting 3D legacy isn’t Johnny Knoxville getting a bowling ball dropped on his privates or Chris Pontius dancing around in a “Party Boy” thong. Then, we viewers would be the jackasses.


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