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3D in Depth: Coraline, Hugo, and a Sustainable Aesthetic

Scott Higgins
Film History
Vol. 24, No. 2, Digital Cinema (2012), pp. 196-209
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/filmhistory.24.2.196
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Page Count: 14
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3D in Depth: Coraline, Hugo, and a Sustainable Aesthetic
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Abstract Digital 3D presents a rare opportunity to study the aesthetic impact of a new technology. In the face of its ever-diminishing novelty, filmmakers are seeking a sustainable formal response to 3D. Some are moving away from protrusion effects, which are associated with disruptive gimmickry, and exploring depth as a means of extending the technology's narrative reach. This style, exemplified by Henry Selick's Coraline (2009) and Martin Scorsese's Hugo (2011), courts narrative integration and critical acceptance by downplaying protrusion in favor of precise manipulations of perspective and volume. The essay argues against the concept of perceptual immersion as an explanatory framework for 3D, and focuses instead on the prospects for diegetic absorption.

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