In the last year, the movie industry found a way to get the "I'll wait 'til the DVD" crowd back to theaters with 3D. The first film I saw from this new 3D generation was Coraline with my wife on Valentine's Day, and we both agreed 3D made an already great movie more fun. Then we saw Avatar, and again were glad to pay the extra five bucks for the extra dimension. The 3D of today is less a gimmick than it was 50 years ago. But it's still a gimmick. How so? There has yet to be a 3D movie that's not possible to be made in 2D.
I appreciate 3D, and I even think every movie should be 3D whether it's a blockbuster sci-fi epic or a quaint indie dramedy. An extra dimension can only add to the experience, so why not let small-scope films use it too? With a greater number of filmmakers using the technology, the greater the chance becomes that someone will elevate it beyond gimmick status and make a film that simply cannot be made in two dimensions.
I believe this non-existant perfect 3D film begins not with mind-blowingly elaborate camerawork or visual effects so far beyond what the eye can perceive in 2D that they require three dimensions, but at the very root of the film with a story that cannot be told by any other method. This is a new type of film story that hasn't been invented yet. If I could explain it any further I'd have written it already myself, but for the sake of this article I'll at least give this new type of story a name: st3Dory. No idea how to pronounce that, but as you can see, "3D" is at the heart of the story. That's the only way to make an extra dimension matter.
No filmmaker has ever made a st3Dory, and I'm not sure they ever will succeed at making one. But for a better picture of what a st3Dory might look like, let's imagine movies without other essential elements. Picture "The Conversation" as a silent movie:
Or Once without music:
Or Enter the Dragon without martial arts:
Likewise, a st3Dory is a movie where 3D is simply inextricable from the story. And the day when someone writes a st3Dory is the day when 3D stops being merely a gimmick.