With a big, fat fantasy novel to grapple with, it’s a relief to hear good news.
3-D movies are like golf. You get it or you don’t. I get it, and I am stoked to hear that they’re beginning to come into their own. The Wall Street Journal informs me that Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola are getting into it. Even better, my favorite American novel, The Great Gatsby is being made in 3-D. Many have howled with derision, but I am adamant that Baz Luhrman couldn’t have made a better choice. (Check out NYU Local’s take on that).
3-D isn’t about things popping out of the screen. It’s about lending visual depth to scenes; it’s the slow scenes that leave me entranced with it. The Great Gatsby‘s heart and soul are in slow scenes. I truly hope Baz makes them shine with this new tool.
Once I stopped geeking out about all this, I realized there’s a bunch of other stuff I’ve read that would make excellent films in 3-D. So in my arrogance and pride, I put them on this blog.
1. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
This book immerses you into the characters and their setting. More than once, the murder at the center of the book doesn’t seem to be the point. 3-D will only help pull you into the little evils and frailties that make up the Karamazovs. Can you imagine Dmitri’s hysteric police interview, or a close-up as Ivan finally goes mad?
2. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
Everybody talks about the prologue, but it’s the first proper chapter of this book that is the reason Dickens’ classic is on this list. Jerry Cruncher riding through the mud to deliver a message. Most vivid scene I’ve ever read to this day. I’d love to see that with the depth of 3-D.
3. The Old Man And The Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
I really hope you’ve read this, because there is no way I can convey the weariness, humility, agony, determination and nobility of the Old Man. All I can say is that they need to wrinkle up Viggo Mortenson and put him in an epic hot with the waves crashing behind him. The Perfect Storm would look like Sea World in comparison.
4. The Violent Bear It Away, by Flannery O’Connor
This would be a downright scary movie even with the 3-D. Francis Tarwater sucking on his whiskey bottle, Rayber hearing that certain noise in the night and realizing the horrible truth… don’t even get me started on that crazed uncle.
5. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I’m not talking about the letter on Hester’s breast sticking out of the screen, you perverts. I was thinking of creepy shots of Chillingworth tormenting Dimmesdale, Pearl flitting through a meadow, and Hester alone in a dark forest. Not to mention the scaffolds, the rosebush, the bird with the broken wing… so many shots that 3-D would make unforgettable. You think Anne Hathaway could do Hester?
6. The Glass Menagerie, By Tennessee Williams
I started putting this down, and then a thought hit me out of nowhere. Have scenes from perspectives of different characters. All of Margaret’s are in 3-D, drawing us into her world. All the scenes with Tom and Momma are in 2-D, showing how practical/unimaginative they are. Maybe have Tom’s rant about the billiard parlor in 3-D, to show he has passions, too. I bet Christopher Nolan could rock this.
7. All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
The horrors of war. Long before I saw Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down, I read this and was astounded by the mindless agony and boredom in war. The trenches, the camp, and Paul Baumer’s old room could haunt many more imaginations than my own, if shot correctly.
8. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
Kurtz is the most compelling character who never shows up for 3/4s of the story. All those spooky, nightmarish things you see in that 3/4 of the story will only be more terrifying in 3-D. The dying slaves in the shadows. The lone student of Kurtz. And all the rest.
9. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, by unknown
Magic, feasts, and cool armor. Need I say more? This poem abounds in luscious descriptions of the heroes, and their costumes, and their awesome parties. 3-D could do so much to lend depth to the banquet halls, and the intimidating sight of the Green Knight himself.
10. The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
Come on. Picture Chanticleer the rooster striking a heroic pose in 3-D. It will make you laugh. And think of all those pilgrims, roaring with merriment in a medieval English pub. It’s enough to put a tear in the eye of this English undergrad.
Did I miss something? Tell me what books you think would make a great 3-D treatment in the cinema. Even better, challenge me about the merits of using 3-D for storytelling at all. I’ll get back to you. I have my own story to work on.