Historically speaking, 3D has often tended towards the lowbrow, struggling to escape its sideshow appeal as film-makers endlessly chuck stuff at the audience, from harpoons (Friday The 13th Part 3D) to unconvincing sharks (Jaws 3D) to half-digested penises (Piranha 3D).
Enter Johnny Knoxville’s Jackass crew stage left, for whose scatologically enhanced slapstick stereoscopic cinema could have been devised.
With buckets of bodily fluids sloshing merrily across the screen, the medium’s unlikely to lower its brow any further. Unless, that is, Avatar 2 takes a real ideological left-turn.
In places, such as the Busby Berkeley-ish opener, the 3D’s beautiful, with paintballs exploding in impossible rainbows across naked torsos, bellies meeting cannonballs and tubas spewing Dulux.
Elsewhere, there’s a new dimension to the pain. ‘The Rocky’ (involving a face, a glass of water and a boxing glove) has jowls juddering in traumatised slo-mo – you can practically feel the brain damage – while during the ‘Poo Cocktail Supreme’ (involving a bungee rope and a Portaloo), faecal matter dances across the frame with such tangible, glistening heft you can practically taste it. Steve-O certainly can.
After 10 years, numerous series and two movies, the novelty has inevitably tarnished, with the boys’ sometimes forced-looking howls of glee failing to disguise that they’re probably getting too old for this shit.
What’s more, the OAP gags and animal taunting are nowhere near as fresh as the likes of ‘Pissing In The Wind’, ‘Helicockter’ and a brilliantly disgusting little vignette we’ll call ‘The Anal Volcano’.
Patchy, then, but occasionally inspired. At one point a grotesquely overweight chap slips newborn-like through the sides of a split swimming pool, a symbol of arrested development that would surely delight Freud.
Meanwhile, Bam Margera wanders round like a toddler, filming himself urinating on unsuspecting crew members with his handy penis-cam – an image that somehow manages to be unbelievably infantile, visually striking and very funny all at once. Beat that, Cameron!
Is this the future of cinema? Let’s hope not. But the concept of grown men debasing themselves for your viewing pleasure is proves worthy of one more go-around. Thank God it’s not in smell-o-vision…