3D Battle: Cameron and Bay Slam 2D-to-3D Conversions

James Cameron has already come out swinging in the past months over the major studio’s rush to present all their blockbuster films, whether worthy of such treatment or not, in 3D.  Since the studios and minor distributors have figured out that they can rake in more first weekend dollars on 3D releases (and more so with faux-IMAX presentations) rather than their 2D versions, more and more titles are now planned for 3D presentation. The only thing is they’re not exactly being made with 3D in mind, and 2D-to-3D conversion isn’t quite up to par with Cameron’s Avatar.  In fact, Cameron has expressly said (with lots of expletives) that the 2D-to-3D process just plain sucks for most films, and since the current spate of films green-lit before Avatar became the great dimensional hope of the industry were not planned for 3D presentation, audiences are going to get a raw deal.  But try telling that to the studios, who are now dead-set to throw everything at’cha in three-dee!  While studios are still waiting to see how Warner’s Clash of the Titans performs before going whole hog, Warner’s is already flying the 3D flag high, and with the success of Disney’s Alice In Wonderland it means you can now expect more of the same in the future, suckers.

Now, as Deadline Hollywood reports, we’ve even got Michael Bay in Cameron’s amen corner, saying only he controls how his films will be presented and he does not feel that the conversion process will be successful for Transformers 3: More Robot Mayhem! His main argument, and rightly so, is that it took James Cameron years to produce Avatar.  He implies that the success of Cameron’s film stems from it not being a slam-bam rush job.  He goes on to say that 3D filming isn’t his style and that he shoots fast action scenes that don’t convert easily into 3D presentation.  You’d think he was talking about making high art, but I feel for Bay in this instance… those films are his baby, and no matter how ‘tarded, at least they’re not deformed.  Technically his films tend to look great, and his fear is that quality you see on the screen (shiny metal robots fighting) will be greatly diminished if his trademark fast action sequences are shown via the conversion process.

It’s interesting to note that Cameron did indeed take years, starting in the late-90s, to create the Reality Camera System technology that allowed him to film his magnum environmental opus in 3DHD (add your irony here).  But after creation and testing stages were completed, the actual production itself, from writing to post, took about three years.  While Bay is planning on shooting a film in 3D from soup-to-nuts (the Fantastic Voyage remake), most other titles are set for 3D conversions only.  However, it’s becoming apparent that though the studios might want to showcase their efforts in 3D not all their hired guns are so willing to put their names on such projects.  As directors start to balk at the prospect of every big action film, and many others, being converted to 3D— and with some of them not liking the gimmick at all— it should be interesting to see what happens next, especially in light of Disney’s recent profit machine (even Tim Burton has chimed in that we’ll soon see a lot more 3D crap) and Warner Bros. recent decree that all summer tentpole movies will be in 3D going forward.

The prospect of great directors like Christopher Nolan shying away from 3D projects should have audiences a bit worried, but as the mainstream seems to love mediocrity, it’s doubtful that the studios will back away from their plans.  Nolan has stated that Batman 3 will not be in 3D and it’s possible a showdown could occur, though Nolan’s gained enough respectability and success, and virtually owns the Batman franchise from a creative standpoint, that he should have carte blanche with the studio and be able to do as he pleases when it comes to that film’s release.  Nevertheless, if directors do take a stand and some big films are released without 3D presentation, what might that mean for the nascent home 3DHD market which will already have major issues out of the gate with the dearth of 3D titles.  It is entirely possible studios will convert older films to 3D for the home market if the gimmick continues to take off and find favor with the public… Stay tuned for more updates.

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Christian Hokenson

Christian Hokenson

Christian Hokenson enjoys knife throwing, growing exotic mosses, and that warm spot where the sun shines through the corrugated box. Christian also writes for Gadget Review. You can also find Christian on Google+, and Twitter.

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