Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Owen Weetch

Thesis Title: ‘Revenge of the Third Dimension’: Strategies of Narrative and Spectacle in the New 3D Cinema

Supervisor: Catherine Constable

My research centres on the recent resurgence of 3D cinema in order to explore the ways in which stereoscopy affects strategies already at work within specific film texts. It takes a generic approach, focusing on certain classical or postclassical genres in order to assess how the dimensional effect impacts upon different kinds of cinema. It utilises detailed textual analysis – of films such as Avatar (James Cameron, 20th Century Fox, U.S.A., 2009), The Hole in 3D (Joe Dante, Bold Films, U.S.A., 2009), and Hugo (Martin Scorsese, GK Films, U.S.A., 2011) - in order to demonstrate that, at its best, stereoscopy has the potential to make a unique contribution to a text’s thematic and narrative unity.

One of the key issues addressed in my work is the relationship between the spectacle that the dimensional effect often occasions and the film’s narrative. Stereoscopic emergence can complicate the suspension of disbelief by, as William Paul has observed, reminding the spectator that there is a screen out of which the object leaps. The thesis examines how this can complicate classical Hollywood’s emphasis upon invisibly guiding the spectator’s attention, but also demonstrates how the effect can be incorporated towards such narrative ends.

My research also builds upon readings of previous technological advances in the cinema, such as sound, colour, and wider screens, in order to understand how stereoscopy might contribute to meaning construction. Changes to screen space alter the cinematic experience, and my research attempts to ask how filmmakers, spectators, and theory might respond to this change.