Friday, July 24, 2009
3D or not 3D?
Now it's 3D that's taken over movie screens as a fad.
Or does it offer new storytelling possibilities? yes and no.
I got one word for ya: Avatar.
3D has seen the industry transform (and the profits rise) so it's not a secret they went for it. Big time. Economically it makes sense, for they can charge a premium (about 17 bucks) per ticket and it'll offset the loss of DVD revenues, which were the cornerstone of the business in the last decade.
But why is 3D special? is it special? I've only seen one film in 3D - Beowolf. It wasn't special. Any technology depends on how the filmmaker uses it, and throwing stuff at the audience at random intervals is just cheap, and gimmicky.
If 3D was the be a viable alternative to enhance the experience, make it an actual part of the process and enhance the storytelling. This is were the technology has promise, and of course it takes an innovator like James Cameron to lead the way.
His film will combine 3D with a newly developed technology that would have really feel as close to being there without actually being there, Avatar will be a mix of CGI and live action, picture Golum from LOTR as the main character in a CG environment and you get the picture.
But that sounds exciting and all, what about the rest?
The rest is bullshit really, why not invest those resources into making better scripts or even better lighting? it's amazing how prosaic film making has become, were camera coverage is like television and fast edits with multiple angles is the idea of excitement. Spectacle always works when you are hooked, and that starts with good characters or something amazing to look at. The Dark Knight in Imax was a defining moment, because that film contained amazing cinematography and characters to tell a good story. Not seeing how destruction can occur or how the earth can be toppled by giant robots, even though that could be fun too...just not for 2 1/2 hours.
Somehow they realized that the shitty product was costing more and revenues were down on auxillary markets, so they developed a fad to keep people interested...and make some more money. That I'm not against, but I am against bad product.
And most of it is. Formula. Even Michael Mann, a filmmaker I adore, struck out by sticking to close to his formula. WFT?
In the business, everything's a formula. What cannot be marketed cannot be made, as simple as that. And 3D has promise despite the gimmick but watch it attached to every talking animal movie Disney makes for the next ten years until it runs it's course.
They jump on the bandwagon for profits, which are record high despite them bitching attendance is down. How can attendance be down when two films this summer (Transformers and Harry Potter) have broken opening week records? the movies have gotten worse and the technology more sophisticated.
Really, Transformers 2 was really a bad movie that looked great. I had more fun watching The Hangover than any film out this year. Last summer had great films to choose from, this summer not so much. And the rest of the year not so much.
Translates into nothing without a good story. Avatar, that shows a lot of promise.