Adventures in non-3D: Thor, the Church and Random Thoughts

Usually when we want to go to the movies we drive into Moose Jaw, which is about 20 minutes down the highway from Caronport. That was the plan this week, as Chuck and I were eager to see the new Marvel movie Thor. I looked up the showtimes, and figured out what worked best for our schedule.

And then I saw IT.

One number and one letter.


The MJ theatre was only showing Thor in 3D. There was no 2D showing. Grrr. Arrrgh. I quickly looked up the next closest theatre in Regina, nearly an hour away. It too was only showing Thor in 3D. Finally, I found a theatre, in the far north-end of Regina, that was offering both 3D and 2D showings. Not the most convenient location, but we were on a mission. We were going to see Thor. We were going to have a ‘date night.’

It isn’t the extra cost of 3D that bothers me (though is it really necessary to charge an extra $3-$5 for the experience?); it comes down to the practical. Watching a movie in 3D gives me migraine headaches. I’ve tried. I just can’t watch them.

I was lamenting the overabundance of 3D movies and this move by the studios (or theatres?) to only showing movies in 3D to a friend.

His response: “3D is the wave of the future.”
My retort: “That is what they said in the 50’s”.

I keep hoping this 3D craze is a fad. Another year or two and we’ll be back to standard 2D movies. Am I deluding myself by thinking that?

Of course, one could point out the hypocrisy of my rant, as I have no problem going to see comic book movies and they are definitely a money-making Hollywood fad. But here’s the difference: Comic book movies, so far, continue to tell a story. What does 3D do? Does it add to a storyline? Does it add to character development? Other than adding ‘wow and pizazz’ does 3D actually serve to better a movie?

Which got me thinking about the fads that flitter through the church every couple of years. Other than adding ‘wow and pizazz’ do the fads that churches embrace (blindly?) actually serve to better THE Story?

Think about it. How many churches jumped on the bandwagon to offer the Porpoise-Drivel life*? Or the Prayer of Jammies*? Or…fill in the blank. Sure the churches got shiny posters and increased their advertising budgets, but at the end of the fad program was THE story better? How many churches went right back to their regularly-scheduled programming, and six months later, the time and the money and the hype of the hip, new program were forgotten?

[Now before you accuse me of being 100% anti-Porpoise-Drivel Life, let me note for the record that if it wasn’t for PDL, Chuck and I would never have met. PDL served as a wonderful dating screening tool. How many guys would answer the question “what was the last book you read and enjoyed?” with the response PDL? A whole bunch, let me tell you. Which clued me into the idea that maybe they hadn’t actually read anything, and were just trying to look spiritual to be impressive. Thankfully, Chuck’s answer to the question included five books at the same time and none of them were PDL. Talk about standing out in a crowd.]

And it’s not just pre-packaged programs that are the culprit. Buzz-words and trendy new ways of “doing church” are just as faddish as 3D. Take the Shmissional* movement. Everybody wants to be Shmissional. What does that mean?

Sure, the original shmissional is a lot like the 3D of Avatar — a breath-taking experience that was at the heart of the entire movie-making process. Shmissional was cutting edge. shmissional was revolutionary. But now, like Hollywood, every church is trying to jump on the shmissional/3D bandwagon. Is it the same as the original? No. It’s a way to cash in. And at the end of the day, what does it do? Does it better THE story? How long before the next buzz-word comes along to replace shmissional? How powerful will shmissional be then? And at what point does it actually detract from THE story?

So we drove over an hour to go to a theatre that gave us a choice between 3D and 2D. We made an adventure of it. But, we know that given the blockbuster movies that are opening this summer, this will probably not be a one-off occurrence. Green Lantern, Captain America etc will probably be predominantly shown in 3D and we will once again have to decide if we want to drive far away just for the luxury of seeing it in 2D. With gas prices rising, we’ll probably opt to wait until the movies come out on DVD and we can watch them from home.

I wonder how many people, sick of the never-ending cycle of Christian fads, choose to stay home because finding a church that focuses on THE story and not on the ‘wow and pizazz’ is too much hassle?

*due to copyright laws me being in a warped mood, references to Christian fads have been altered to protect their identity.

  • Charles

    I too want to get away from the inundation of 3D films. But, it could be worse:

    For the next Christian fad, I think we should take another shot at formally using the word “primitive” (a la Primitive Baptists & Primitive Methodists) in an attempt to capture the “modern primitive” subculture (although, instead of “subculture,” we could call them an “unchurched people” or something like that) who don’t bother to look up the actual meaning of the term. I’d be happy to get the ball rolling by piercing my lip and getting a faux-tribal tattoo.

  • Rod of Alexandria

    Lols! Poipose Drivel Life! Sigh. Dating Screen!

  • Matt

    Hi Amanda,

    Couldn’t I argue that making a movie of a comic book does nothing to add to the story element? Some people just like the wow and pizaz of seeing the characters move. I don’t think that really adds anything to a story. In fact, because comic books today are so cinematic there really is no need for comic book movies other than to add anything other than a soundtrack, moving special effects and hot celebrities. Personally, I enjoy the comic book movies for the pizaz. If I just wanted story, I’d stick to the comics, but it sure is fun to see Thor and Iron Man move around and sound like actors I enjoy.

    I agree with you that many churches are quick to jump on catchy buzzwords. I loved hearing everyone and their dog talk about having a seeker-friendly church and I remember when all staff at my church had to read PDL. I think a lot of church leaders are like movie studio executives. They are out of touch with contemporary culture so the only thing they have to go by is the hope that past performance predicts future performance.
    Movie exec: “These superhumany types are big now, y’see! Get me the next big super! Get me this Stanley fella’ on the phone!”
    Church leader: “This Purpose Drivel Life guy seems to be where it’s at. From now on we’re a purpose driven church! Get me 50 copies!”
    Of course, I can’t blame a lot of church leaders for doing this. I think many of them have exhausted themselves trying to see fruit in the lives of their congregation and have run out of ideas.