Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cameron on 3D

James C. expounds on stereo features and the future.

... "So far, [3D] has been relegated to some big, beautiful and expensive animated films from Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, and some relatively inexpensive horror films. There's a vast landscape in between where filmmakers of varying degrees of seriousness operate ...

"[The Cameron-produced Sanctum] is an R-rated picture, an adult drama. There are no monsters or fantasy elements. It's basically 'Deliverance' in a cave, a pure psychological drama. The goal with that film is to show you don't have to spend a couple hundred million dollars to make a film in 3D. We're making that picture for about $22 million. I'm going to make all my features in 3D so in a way, what's good for 3D is good for me ..."

Me, I think 3D will become a permanent fixture because studios see movie-goers flocking to the technology and they note with glee that they can charge higher ticket prices for the privilege. (If studios believed that black-and-white silent movies would cause people to stampede to theaters, they would be searching for the next Charlie Chaplin.)

And face it. The picture has been brilliantly marketed with 3D being the major hook, ever since Cameron began touting the technology in the press a year ago. And although reviews are mostly positive (80%+), some movie reviewers are a tad sour:

James Cameron hasn’t made a feature film in 12 years and hasn’t made a good one since 1986. But nothing I can say will stop people from spending their money on “Avatar” ... Now he’s been given state of the art 3D technology and some $250 million to basically remake – as my friend said – “FernGully.” But I appear to be in the minority with my complaints as the film keeps racking up awards and good press ...

We have been through every scene before – outraged scientist confronting military/big business; tough gung ho commander with no sympathy for the natives or such touchy-feely notions as nature and culture; stranger in a strange land trying to befriend the natives; greedy humans pillaging natural resources; etc. ...

[Cameron] doesn’t really integrate [3D] into the story or push it to its limits. In a sense, films like “Up” or even “Coraline” employed 3D to better thematic and stylistic effect. With the exception of that early depth of field shot and maybe one or two more -- Cameron never uses the 3D in a visually innovative way. Plus he can’t resist pointy sticks and arrows aimed at the audience ...

Negative, yes? But the occasional bad internet article won't damage Avatar's box office. And the number of 3D films will steadily increase, the cost of the technology will steadily come down, and your friendly neighborhood entertainment conglomerate will lick its chops at the prospect of premium prices paid by the yokels as they troop through the turnstiles to pick up their plastic glasses.

My only question is, when all movies offer stereo viewing, can Fox, Viacom and the rest go on charging an extra $3 or $5 when we go squint at them? Because how many cheap, polarized spectacles are we really going to need?


Anonymous said...

beautiful and expensive animated films from Pixar and DreamWorks Animation,

Thanks for leaving Blue Sky out. You know, that "other" studio also owned by Fox. You know, the one who made the stereoscopic 20th Century Fox fanfare that plays in front of Avatar. You know, the makers of the animated film that made THE most money this year.

Oh never mind.

Anonymous said...

The question in my mind is does the movie (any movie, but in this case Avatar) hold up without the 3D gimmickery?

Deke Kincaid said...

Heh, when the reviewer said that Cameron doesn't do innovative 3d. Is "innovative" code for throw stuff at the crowd and have characters stick their arm out above the audiences head so they duck.

Steve Hulett said...

I thought it was fun to throw in some snark since so much of Avatar's press has been rapturous.

rufus said...

In the end is up to the spectator to decide if the piece of art in front of him is to his liking or not.

I had fun watching this movie. I was inmersed, even if the story felt familiar. Sigurney Weaver was particularly good.

I imagine some trolls knoking the movie, just like on other blogs already. I'd ask them to elaborate on their own achievements in film, animation, scripts, whatever...


Anonymous said...

Most of those lame 50's 3D movies were not big budget films. But they were "shock and awe" type of films, which is exactly what Cameron's latest efforst are.

In fifty years, nothing has changed.

Anonymous said...

"since so much of Avatar's press has been rapturous"

The "press" prints the press packet. They give good press if they get face time with an actor or director.

Just like 8 years of bush.

And we know where that got us.

Anonymous said...

"Just like 8 years of bush.
And we know where that got us."

Yeah, like one year of Obama.

C'mon, WTF does this have to do with the topic?

Anonymous said...

Some (most) would argue that Obama hasnt done ANYTHING so far in his presidency. Im waiting for some more radical change.

To insinuate that he's done damage would imply he's actually DONE something. What exactly has he done? I voted for him, and Im waiting on him to flex some muscle.

PS) How this got brought up I dont know. Im just fanning the flame now. But you did too...

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's not as much as some would have hoped, but to inply he hasn't done anything is as retarded as Palin.

■Reversed restrictions on stem cell research
■Appointed an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
■Created a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
■Expanded loan programs for small businesses
■Extended and indexed the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
■Expanded eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
■Expanded funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
■Directed military leaders to end war in Iraq
■Sent two additional brigades to Afghanistan
■As promised gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
■Granted Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
■Restored funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
■Released presidential records
■Now requires new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions
■Pushed for enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
■Created a White House Office on Urban Policy
■Supported increased funding for the NEA
■Funded a major expansion of AmeriCorps
■Worked to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
■Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees
■Pledged to weatherize 1 million homes per year
■Invested in all types of alternative energy
■Enacted tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
■Provided grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
■As promised appointed at least one Republican to the cabinet
■Extended unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspended taxes on these benefits
■The withdrawal of troops from Iraq are ahead of schedule. So far he has brought home 22,000 troops out of Iraq.
■He has cut war spending by $30 billion.
■Pakistan has as we speak today launched a major offensive towards the Taliban strongholds within their borders – as much as a response to the new US leadership as anything.
■He has managed to convince Iran to allow in UN inspections, as a result of direct negotiation.
■His effort towards dragging the US, kicking and screaming, toward a modern healthcare system (last country in the western hemisphere) could result in a much more stable and equal society.
■By dismantling the Bush plan of an aging missile defense system in eastern europe, he has opened up unforeseen diplomatic possibilities with Russia – apart from saving billions of dollars while at the same time planning a much more efficient defense plan in the area.
■His promises to close Guantanamo Bay and the administrations refusal to continue previous torture policies is a big move towards human rights in the world.

Deke Kincaid said...

Steve: you should turn off anonymous commenting. It would hopefully prevent crap like the above which has nothing to do with the topic of the blog post.

Anonymous said...

"The question in my mind is does the movie (any movie, but in this case Avatar) hold up without the 3D gimmickery?"

I would say no, but not in the way you'd think.

It's because in this film, the 3d isn't gimmickery any more than the special effects are "gimmickery," the science-fiction plot is "gimmickery", the booming stereo sound is "gimmickery", a big screen is "gimmickery", etc.

Perhaps you should face it and embrace it, movie making is gimmickery. It's all tricks to make the audience have fun.

I think the film is so utterly tied into 3d that seeing it without it makes no sense. It's like seeing Fantasia as a silent film. Could it hold up as a silent film? Maybe... but it's completely missing the point.

A 3d movie that can stand alone in 2d, without diminishment, is a 3d film NOT WORTH MAKING in 3d.

Now go watch the Wizard of Oz in black and white, and tell me color is nothing but a gimmick, because you can still follow the plot.

If you want plot, read a book. Must suck to be you and not like anything where people who are creative create shit with new technology. Go back to the stone age, caveman!

Leave movies to those who actually like visuals.

Anonymous said...

I kinda liked "FernGully".

jeu said...

James Cameron 3d movie will be awesome. The james cameron fan boys knobbing their master even before a frame of this supposed masterpiece has been seen. Now, i am a james cameron fan myself, but don't forget he also made that pile of dung "true lies" as well.

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