James Cameron Names The Three 3D Movies Released Post-Avatar That He Thinks Did The Most With The Format

Hollywood has produced a large number of 3D movies ever since the technology was reintroduced into the marketplace, though you can likely count on one hand the number of movies that have properly used the tech as a narrative tool, thereby enhancing a moviegoer’s experience. We here at CinemaBlend go out of our way to review the 3D used in each new movie courtesy of our To 3D Or Not To 3D column. And it’s not just for new movies. Steven Spielberg’s classic Jaws got a 3D re-release as an incentive to lure audiences back into the waters… er, theaters. But of course, the 3D movie on everyone’s minds these days would be Avatar: The Way of Water, mainly because of the care and attention that James Cameron puts into his visual presentations, specifically in Pandora.

But when we sat down with James Cameron to discuss his new Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, I casually mentioned to him that the last film to warrant a trip to the theaters for the 3D presentation was his 2009 groundbreaking feature Avatar. And the master politely disagreed, telling CinemaBlend:     

I would push back a little bit. Life of Pi, Ang (Lee’s) film, and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, and even Ridley Scott’s Prometheus – these were filmmakers at the top of their game authoring in 3D. Those are worthy films. It’s all the kind of rank-and-file conversion movies where the filmmakers haven’t cared, or the studio hasn’t let them shoot – actually shoot – in 3D. They’re not that good. And I think it’s hurt it.

James Cameron cares. He pays close attention to every frame of his Avatar movies, so that when the 3D is graded by a critic, it receives excellent marks. And he’s right that the lazy post-production conversion of a 3D image onto a 2D shot can only create headaches, blur and additional problems, making mainstream audiences think that the 3D presentation isn’t worth the extra money. 

But if you are a filmmaker like Jim Cameron, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese or Ridley Scott, and you are able to “author” your work in native 3D, then you will get high marks from audiences. And from Cameron. 

Audiences are prepared for James Cameron to reinvent 3D, the way he did back when Avatar hit theaters, for the anticipated sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. Early reviews sprung out of the movie’s world premiere in London, and so far, they are very favorable. Cameron, at the very least, gave you three recommendations of movies from his peers that blew him away, so start streaming. And if you want a great 3D movie to see in theaters while you wait for Avatar, we gave solid grades to Disney’s Strange World, so gather up the family and head on out!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.