James Cameron Also Hates The 3D Conversion Craze
Pretend you're James Cameron, for a second. First go ride four jetskis at the same time and book a lavish vacation and seduce a Na'vi and all that, then get back to me. Ready? Pretend you're James Cameron, and think about all the years of effort you put into inventing new cameras for Avatar, in perfecting the 3D filming process, in convincing a world full of theater owners that preparing their theaters for 3D projection will totally be worth it. Then Avatar comes out and is a total hit, everyone is on board the 3D wagon, and how does Hollywood go about the next step? By converting a bunch of already-shot films into 3D using a shitty and cheap process that guarantees that, before Avatar hits DVD, everyone will be convinced 3D is a worthless gimmick all over again.
And the king of the world isn't keeping his annoyance quiet, either. Cameron went to Deadline Hollywood with his frustration, saying "Now, you’ve got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.”
You may be tempted to call "ego" on Cameron, as he assumes that no one's 3D work can be equal to his and all that. But he's nothing compared to Michael Bay, also quoted in the article as a long-time 3D skeptic. Check this out:
“I shoot complicated stuff, I put real elements into action scenes and honestly, I am not sold right now on the conversion process. [...] Right now, it looks like fake 3D, with layers that are very apparent. You go to the screening room, you are hoping to be thrilled, and you’re thinking, huh, this kind of sucks. People can say whatever they want about my movies, but they are technically precise, and if this isn’t going to be excellent, I don’t want to do it. And it is my choice.”
It's not a surprise to see Bay, who tends to pooh-pooh anything new that he didn't come up with, badmouthing the 3D conversion process and complimenting himself at the same time. But it is pretty impressive to see Cameron standing up against it as well, given how hard he's pushed 3D over the years. He's 100% right to say that if we're going to do 3D, we ought to do it right. But I hope he realizes he's the one who opened this Pandora's box-- see what I did there?-- to begin with, and he should have known as well as anyone that, as soon as the industry saw a new way to make money, they'd jump all over it no matter how awful the results.
As Deadline points out, the shallow 3D effect didn't hurt Alice in Wonderland's box office, and Clash of the Titans will likely do well with shoddy converted 3D as well (I've seen parts of it. Do not pay extra money to see this in 3D). If the money is there, they're going to keep going for it. It might actually be up to the likes of Michael Bay, with giant tentpole releases coming up, to stop the flow. I hate to say this, but he might be our only hope.
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