Thursday, January 01, 2009

Half a Prediction to Believe In

Business Week -- after mocking bad economic predictions for '08-- wheels around and makes a bushel basket of media predictions for 2009. Here's the one that caught my eye:

... The age of commercial 3D may be upon us, but it won't be Cameron [and Avatar] that brings it to the fore. My money is on DreamWorks Animation's (DWA) Monsters vs. Aliens, which comes out in March, months before Avatar's Dec. 18 release. I've seen parts of it, and "real" 3D cartoons are where the action is gonna be ...

I've got no idea about the Jimmy Cameron part of the above. Maybe Avatar will be a smash hit (God knows, Fox was nervous about Titanic before it came out). Maybe it will be a massive dud.

But I give high odds to Monsters Vs. Aliens owning a big opening weekend. When I saw clips and the trailer for MvA, the feature's 3-D really swept me away, something that didn't happen when I saw Bolt 3-D. (I liked the feature itself, however.)

I puzzled over my reaction until a techie at a big animation house clued me in about the differences:

So far, when Disney makes a 3-D animated feature, they make it as a flat-screen feature, then also make a 3-D version. DreamWorks Animation makes their 3-D features in the stereo format first, then do a flat-screen version.

The stereo version comes first with DWA. That's why its stereo visuals hit you with bigger impact.

Assuming this information is correct (I haven't double sourced here; I'm not Woodward-Bernstein), it would explain the visceral difference I felt between the two.


Anonymous said...

It is certainly just a fad. I've seen the top of the line stereoscopic processes and not one of them made the story any better or made the film more enjoyable to watch.

I think jeffery misunderstood the "making three dimensional characters" note...

Anonymous said...

I'm as skeptical and cynical as they come when we're talking about gimmicks like 3D presentations. However, I recently saw about 10 minutes of MvA in 3D, and I was very impressed. There were very few moments of "look out-it's comin' atcha", and excellent use of the third dimension to enhance the scope and scale of the scenes presented. Who knows if they'll pull it off for the whole film, but from what I saw I'd say they're off to a good start.

Graham Ross said...

If we're lucky they might bring back smell-o-vision soon.

Anonymous said...

It won't be blessed until Lasseter declares it the way to go.
Because we know JK is always wrong....oh, wait...didn't he resurrect Disney Animation a few years ago and start a major studio that's beat Disney and competes head to head with Pixar (and often wins)...?
Not to mentionm predict the demise of VHS tapes when they released Pinocchio...?

Yeah, he don't know shit.

Anonymous said...

Um...he didn't resurrect Disney Animation. The people who left Disney resurrected Disney animation.

Anonymous said...

The unsung person most responsible for resurrecting Disney animation is the late Howard Ashman. Every picture with his songs and story sense killed at the box office. "The Rescuers Down Under", without his songs, took a thirty million dollar bath. Jeffrey knew exactly when to get out and he did.

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