Day Fifty-Three – Finally, Something Jim and I Agree On

22 02 2010

I have a hard time reading anything about what James Cameron has to say. It usually rubs me the wrong way.

Recently, he said that he thinks Katherine Bigelow should win Best Director, which was noble enough, but then he ruined any sense of that by saying the following:

3D movies have their place if they're made with 3D in mind, but exploiting the novelty will bring its demise.

“Look, for myself, I have already got an Oscar. I’ve got a couple of them, you know… I don’t really need another one.”

He’d still like to win Best Picture though, you know, for the team. He’s already been King of the World. A couple times.

Though graciousness isn’t his strong suit, the man knows what he’s talking about when it comes to technology. Specifically talking about 3D, I would have expected him and I to be on opposing war fronts. I’ve made my feelings about the current take-over about 3D quite clear in the past, but Cameron managed to get to the root of the problem I’ve had with the entire concept without even meaning to.

When talking at the 3D Entertainment Summit, which given my “love” for the format, sounds like the meeting to schedule the End of Days, Cameron made his feelings clear about what’s wrong with 3D:

“If you want to make a movie in 3D, make the movie in 3D! And by the way, it should be a filmmaker driven process, not a studio driven process. I’ve been telling filmmakers for the last five years, [there’s] this whole new way to paint, a whole new set of colors, and they’ve all kind of hung back. Now it’s getting crammed down from above, and people are getting told to make movies in 3D, and it should’ve been the other way around, they should’ve been banging on the doors of the studio saying, ‘I want to make a movie in 3D, let me do it!’ And it didn’t happen.”

This point was directed more at films like Alice in Wonderland, that intended to be in 3D at the on-set, but was shot in 2D and transferred to 3D afterward. Still, I agree with the virtue of what Cameron is saying here. 3D films should almost be a genre in themselves. Right now, Hollywood smells the extra dollar and knows the key to getting it is throwing in an extra dimension. It’s going to make everything 3D, regardless of whether it should be or not.

Cameron hopes that studios will make 3D movies for the sake of making movies with a third-dimension, not just to make a buck.

The current process of turning everything 3D will eventually lead to another demise of 3D if it continues. Hollywood seems to forget about the concept of diminishing returns.

I think there’s a place for 3D and so does Jimmy Cameron. Though we may not agree on where that place is, I think it does deserve to be given the extra thought, rather than being passed around like a collection basket at Sunday mass. The reasons for the demise of 3D the first and second time around was that the technology wasn’t quite good enough. Now we have the technology, but it all has the potential of being over-saturated for the sake of a quick cash-in.

3D movies have their place. They bring a special spectacle that can only be appreciated in the movie theatre. We can all agree that if they are treated properly, they can co-exist with 2D movies in the multiplex. Cameron and I seem to agree as far as that goes, and I wouldn’t have expected that.

Though, where he and I still disagree is that good story-telling and character should always come first. I’m still looking at you, Avatar.


Day Thirty-One – One Month Later…

31 01 2010

I’ve made it thirty-one days so far, keeping my promise of posting new content every day. Out of it, I’ve had a few talking points. For many of which, there have been a few developments.

Here’s a handful:

Day Seven – Why Does Everyone Love “Avatar”?

After watching Avatar the week it came out, I wasn’t much of a fan. I knew it was going to make money, that was without question, but I didn’t think it had the legs to push as far as it has. Not only has it surpassed Cameron’s other record-setting blockbuster, Titanic, in the world-wide grosses, but it’s making a run for the domestic title.

It begs the question, who is still watching Avatar. I know a bunch of people who haven’t seen it and don’t intend to, yet they were there to partake the mammoth run of Titanic. Still, it manages to top the box office every single weekend. This one included, with a $30 million that a first-run movie would be happy to take home. There’s going to be a push to give Avatar the Oscar for Best Picture. I’m hoping they don’t give into the pressure after passing on The Dark Knight last year.

Day Nine – It’s About Time, But It Still Won’t Work

It took until the day of posting this for the Toronto Maple Leafs to make a move to bring them out of the rut they have put themselves in. Dion Phaneuf and J. S. Giguere will definitely bring some people back to the TV broadcasts and maybe keep the ticket holders in their seats, but it’s just one step in an eventual run to the Cup. They are still far from it, but at least there’s progress. Shocking progress, at that.

Day Eleven – 3D is a Gimmick!

I’m not the only one who thinks so. A bunch of people turned on 3D after the buzz at CES died off. Roger Ebert has always been against it and G4’s Adam Sessler joined the chorus when they threatened to gimmick-up his beloved games.

Day Twelve – Can’t Go Home Again

Jay did the clichéd thing that everyone does when they have a nice guy image to restore: he went on Oprah.

Still no telling if it’ll work, but he’ll have until at least September before Conan comes back.

Day Thirteen – Why Isn’t MMA Legal Here Yet?

I got some insight into why MMA is having such a hard time coming into the city, by way of The John Downs Show on AM 640. (January 25th)

Basically, people think violence is bad, even in the form of sport. They insist that the UFC is vile and the martial arts teach you respect. That just goes to show the lack of education in the subject people have.

My problem isn’t that people don’t like it. It’s not for everyone, but to prevent me from watching it because you think it’s disgusting is just sad.

Day Seventeen – Movie Theatre Etiquette

Sadly, nothing has changed on this front. I went to the theatre the following week and one of the employees walked in and toyed with his phone in the front row, holding it up so he, and I, could see better. How will movie-goers learn the etiquette if the employees don’t follow it themselves?

Day Twenty-One – I Hate the Evening News

This video says it all, and much better than I ever could:

Day Twenty-Three – I Miss the Drive-In

I still really miss the drive-in.

Day Twenty-Five – Movies I’ve Seen Recently and Why Criticker Makes Them Fun

This was my most popular post of all-time, thanks to a link-back from Criticker’s twitter. Thanks again.

Day Twenty-Eight – Over-Hype

Everyone seems to think they’re completely original when they mention that the iPad sounds like a maxi-pad.

It’s not.

I’m looking forward to next month. Hopefully I can still find something to write about.

Day Eleven – 3D is a Gimmick!

11 01 2010

Chalk up another issue I have with Avatar. technically, it hasn’t really done anything directly, but it seems like being a successful 3D movie has opened the door for everyone to try their hand at it.

I realize 3D televisions and media players have been in development for years. It only makes sense to make TVs 3D at some point, otherwise the Blu-ray/DVD marked can’t get any of that Avatar cash. Not to mention the countless animated children’s movies, but now they are plans to show the FIFA World Cup in 3D. And that’s just the beginning, as the World Cup will help launch ESPN 3D.

Has everyone forgotten 3D is just a gimmick?

All This Money Wasted on 3D Tech Could Be Used to Upgrade the Broadcasts We're Already Equipped to Receive, Rather Than Another Gimmick

It’s neat. That’s about it. There is no benefit to watching a sport in 3D. You get absolutely no new information when the sport pops out of the screen. A film could use it to draw focus, not only to part of the screen, but the field of vision. A sport doesn’t have this benefit. Everything on-screen at any time is as important as the next thing. That’s the #1 reason people get dizzy at the movies, they don’t know how to focus on what the film-maker wants them to.

3D still hasn’t mastered quick movement. Avatar probably did the best job of avoiding the blur when the camera would pan, but it didn’t correct the issue entirely. I don’t see how a cameraman who can rarely keep the action on screen will be able to move without causing world-wide motion-sickness.

I should worry too much. I doubt I’ll watch the World Cup, but I definitely won’t in 3D considering they won’t reach Canada by then.

That doesn’t mean I’m safe, though. Sony seems to be really excited to jump into 3D gaming. They have a couple demos running at CES already. Why do I need to see my game in 3D? Will having my gun in Call of Duty directly in front of me have any affect on the way I play? I highly doubt it.

3D is a parlour trick. It’s not really 3D. You can’t see around the things popping out from the screen. All 3D does is add a layer of depth that is there anyway, it just makes it “pop”.

To be fair, I enjoy 3D in limited amounts. It’s fun for the odd occasion, but it’s beginning to look like it’s going to attempt a take over. A take-over that will fail. People aren’t that excited about 3D. The group that saw Avatar, much like the ones that saw Titanic, are the same group of people over and over again. I had a friend who saw Titanic eight times in theatres. I saw The Dark Knight three times last year.

Yet, I only bought one copy of The Dark Knight on Blu-ray. The same goes for the Avatar fans. They’ll only buy one TV. Only one copy of the Blu-ray in 3D. Only one pair of goofy glasses to sit in front of their new high-tech TV. Not multiple, like a movie ticket.

People have barely made the transition to HD and now they’re expecting a jump to 3D so soon? My brothers and I had to force the issue with our parents and bought them a flat-screen. They still don’t watch the HD channels, though. They can’t be bothered. Now you want them to put on glasses?

I can’t wait for this to crash and burn so these companies can worry more about providing quality content rather that more gimmicks.