Posts Tagged ‘James Cameron

12
Sep
11

[Commentary] Old Movies in 3D

I've lost that lovin' feeling . . . for seeing any movie in 3D.

It was reported today that Top Gun would be getting the 3D treatment and could potentially be released back into theaters sometime early next year. Add it to the list of ‘old’ films that will be getting 3D treatment and will be released next year (Star Wars: Episode I and Titanic are also on the list). Hollywood recycling old films is nothing new, the 3D converting of older films however, somewhat is.

Now, I don’t want to rehash my stance on what I think of 3D (for that, see this blog post). However, just when it seems that 3D might be quieting down and we may get a break from it, it’s thrust right back in our faces. The difference this time being that these aren’t new movies that are coming out in 3D . . . they’re old ones.

As you can imagine, converting older films for 3D presentation raises a number of questions with the top one being, “Is this a money grab?” I think we’re all familiar with the Hollywood MO of taking existing properties, turning them into movies, and then bringing them out in 3D to help bump up its box office take. Could that be what’s going on with Star Wars, Top Gun, and Titanic? To answer this question, you really have to look at who’s behind these releases.

James Cameron is reportedly spending $18 million on the 3D conversion of Titanic. Can the 'King of the World' be king with 3D again?


Take for example the Titanic release in 3D. According to the linked article, James Cameron (the guy that brought 3D to the masses with Avatar) is the driving force behind that conversion:

“There’s a whole generation that’s never seen Titanic as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen . . . and this will be Titanic as you’ve never seen it before, digitally remastered at 4K and painstakingly converted to 3D. With the emotional power intact and the images more powerful than ever, this will be an epic experience for fans and newcomers alike.”

The film is slated to come out on April 6, 2012–coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic setting sail. We this much thought and effort being put into this conversion, it seems to me that this is something that Cameron wanted to do and seems to be doing it from an artistic perspective. Will people go out and see it? I’m sure some will, especially those that are big fans of the film.

The case of converting and bring back Top Gun though, doesn’t appear to be from an artistic standpoint, but from an economic one. To quote from the THR.com article:

“We think there is great potential for catalog titles in 3D, but studios have had trouble justifying the expense,” Hummel said [CEO of Legend 3D], explaining that Legend 3D is funding and doing the conversion for Paramount.

In this case the company behind the conversion seems to be spearheading the effort to convert Top Gun–not the studio or not director Tony Scott. “How nice of them,” you might say for footing the bill and doing the work. Well, just remember, nothing in life is ever free. If you continue reading the piece this quote was drawn from, it says Legend 3D has a revenue sharing partnership with Paramount so they will see some return on their work. However, I suspect that the real reason for doing it is because if they can show what a great job they’ve done on Top Gun,  who’s to say other studios or even Paramount might come to them to convert other older films into 3D. I guarantee you they won’t be doing those for free.

In the grand scheme of things I can’t get excited for these 3D releases at all. I just dislike 3D too much. I don’t like the glasses and I don’t like the darkened picture you get while watching 3D movies. Be it for artistic reasons or economic reasons, I’ll probably be staying away from these 3D releases next year.

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30
Dec
09

Questions Answered

So I was going through my computer earlier today, digging through photos specifically, when I stumbled upon the photos and video that we shot while we were at the San Diego Comic Con this summer. I managed to find two videos of particular note: the first of James Cameron talking about Avatar, and the second with Robert Downey Jr talking about Sherlock Holmes–two big movies that were released this month. While I’m sure you could find similar video elsewhere on YouTube or other movie blogs, I thought that I would just post these clips since both of these movies are finally out. Looking back, I wish I had shot more video during comic con.

James Cameron on “why now” for Avatar
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Robert Downey Jr on Sherlock Holmes, the character, and the movie
Vodpod videos no longer available.

I think it’s interesting to hear what they had to say about their movies before they came out and also before the hype started. I hope you enjoy.

Happy New Year everyone!

23
Dec
09

Avatar is King of the World!

The new James Cameron flick out shot the competition on opening weekend, but is Avatar as good as everyone says it is?

So you’ve been to the theater to see James Cameron’s new $400 – $500 film Avatar, and after having taken off the glasses I’m sure something you had to wonder was: Does it live up to the hype? If you’re anything like me, you heard absolutely nothing about this movie before August. More than likely though you started hearing some buzz when the first trailer came out in September or October. Then you started hearing that this was James Cameron’s first movie since Titanic and that he was pushing the boundaries of digital animation and cinema. Now, as the dust settles, is Avatar going to be James Cameron’s next Titanic? Or is it just another in a long line of gimmicky 3D movies?

In my humble opinion . . . it does live up to the hype.

// The Technology

Production on Avatar took four years with Cameron developing new motion capture technology.

While digital animation, effects, and green screen are nothing new in film making, the techniques Cameron has pioneered for Avatar are. By developing new motion capture techniques for actors, with emphasis on facial details, and blending that with Cameron’s own brand of CGI-the line between what is live action and digital effects are starting to blur together. As you watch the movie it is very hard to tell that most of what you are watching was created in a computer. It’s almost as if they added in digital imperfections to give the effects and animation a more realistic look. Also, the movie does a great job of utilizing 3D. Most of the 3D involves defining space within the screen with just enough popping out not to make it seem annoying.

// Word of Mouth

Buzz has been strong among moviegoers. Photo courtesy Flickr.

The general consensus that I’ve heard, for the most part, is that everyone is enjoying their Avatar experience. Friends that I’ve talked to, tweets that I’ve read, reports and blog posts that I’ve been reading all lead me to believe that Avatar is generating a considerable amount of positive buzz. When your movie makes back half of it’s reported budget on opening weekend AND gets a glowing review from hardline movie critic Roger Ebert, good buzz is sure to follow. Who knows, maybe this buzz will lead to Titanic sized attendance in the weeks to come.

// Final Thoughts

Call it cliché or just my own naïveté, but I am going to say that Avatar will be one of the top films of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and while the general plot of the movie is something we’ve sort of all heard before, it truly is the journey and not the destination that matters. I bought in to the characters and what Cameron was selling, so much so that towards the end I didn’t know who was going to make it, and who wasn’t. And, as I’ve previously stated, the visuals in the movie are spectacular, especially when combined with the  Hi-Defness of IMAX. There’s something in this movie for everyone, so if you’ve got the time during the holidays I say go out and check it out . . . after all, the king of the world is back.

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// Avatar Articles and Posts of Interest

Local Review :: by Russel Kealoha of the Two Beer Queers and Metromix Honolulu

Local Review :: by Ryan Senega of Honolulu Weekly

Mainland Soundbites :: from AMC’s Script to Screen has excerpts from various trades

Crazy Tech :: from Screen Rant gives more details on Avatar’s new technology

The Titanic Effect :: from Hollywood.com looks at potential Avatar backlash

Pick Your 3D :: from the 3D Vision Blog breaks down the different 3D technologies in theaters

03
Nov
09

All I Want For Christmas Is Avatar

At the screening of “A Christmas Carol” last night, I went in with no real excitement being that I knew what was going to happen in that movie. But then the previews rolled and this came on.

If you’ve been following this “Avatar” madness, you already know the hype that has been built up. “It’s James Cameron! He’s been working for 900 years on this film! He created cutting edge film technology to make this movie! BLAAAAH!!!” (yes, that’s the exact conversation that you had with someone). Ever since the panel at comic con, I’ve been extremely interested in this project mainly because it’s been shrouded in mystery and they keep teasing us with the footage that is so vibrant and fantastical. So far the footage has been cool, which I’m sure you can agree if you attended one of the Avatar previews but as we’ve seen from Transformers 2… special effects  doesn’t mean anything without a story. This is what critics have been getting at ever since the first trailer hit the web… it even spawned a video of Hitler bashing “Avatar” (which if you haven’t seen, you must!)

Last night when I watched the recently released full length trailer in 3D, I finally let myself buy into the hype… ZOMG!  This is going to be bad ass. James Cameron, please bring Christmas early this year… December 18, 2009 🙂

18
Aug
09

Avatar Preview . . . in Honolulu?

CC_Cameron

At last month’s San Diego Comic Con I was fortunate enough to make it into the infamous Hall H to get a preview of James Cameron’s newest movie AVATAR (his first since doing Titanic). The premise of the movie is that in the future humans have traveled to a far away planet named Pandora and use avatars, genetically created human/alien hybrids, to explore/harvest/mine the planet in place of humans as the planet has a not so hospitable environment. Naturally conflict arises between us and the resident aliens.

So the big deal with this movie is that it has been under wraps for the past two or three years with no one outside of the studio knowing any of the details . . . until Comic Con. Cameron was there to show approximately 20-25 minutes of footage from the movie, most of which was finished, all of which was in 3D (glasses were distributed to the audience). Needless to say, the footage and following Q&A made quite a splash. Towards the end of the panel Cameron mentioned that on August 21 they were going to take over as many IMAX and 3D screens as possible to show 15 minutes of footage . . . free of charge!

The first thing I thought when I heard this was, “wow that’s cool that they’re going to try and do this.” The second thing I immediately thought after that was, “are they going to do it in Hawaii?”

Needless to say, being in the middle of the Pacific, we certainly are off the beaten path for a lot of things–so my questioning did have some validity. However, poking around on the web today imagine my surprise when I ventured over to the Regal Entertainment Group’s website to find a banner indicating a sign-up to see this 15 minutes of footage, this Friday, August 21! Sure enough, going through the listings there are two “showtimes” for the Dole Cannery IMAX screen, one at 6pm and the other at 6:45pm. While the showing will be free, RSVP and invitation is required and you are only able to bring two people per request.

A marketing promo for a big Hollywood blockbuster, by a big time director, here in a small market like Honolulu? Sounds almost to good to be true. I’m not going to waste this opportunity and neither should you. I’ve got my reservations. What about you?

Honolulu residents, click the image to sign up for Dole Cannery screenings.

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More reading for your consideration:

Official Avatar Movie Website
THR.com’s Risky Biz Blog – James Cameron teasing ‘Avatar’ for free on Imax, 3D screens




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