Friday, 29 June 2007

MOVIE SPECTACLES

Now, I know that there were film-goers and film-moguls who swore that 'talkies' would never catch on...

Not only that, but there were similar nay-sayers who didn't believe that anyone would want to watch movies in colour or wide-screen or with stereophonic sound and, indeed, they were all proved hopelessly wrong, but... well...

I really do wonder at the announcement this week by DreamWorks' Mr Jeffrey Katzenberg that he has looked into his Hollywood crystal ball (never the surest of devices, god knows) and has foreseen a rebirth of that '50s film fad, known as --- 3D!

Katzenberg announced - and it certainly sounds as if he believes it: “I can honestly say to you with every ounce of conviction in my being - I have seen the future of movies, and this is it.”

And so sure is he, that all DreamWorks Animation from 2009 will be made in 3D. And live-action films, he says, will follow suit - especially since projecting in 3D will deliver a devastating broadside to would-be movie pirates.


Now, I'm the first to admit that Jeff is one hell of a smart cookie (all those Shrek movies and, before that, a string of much-lauded hits for Disney including The Lion King) but is he right to put his shirt (and that of Messrs Spielberg and Geffen) on the fact that we're going to start donning those wretched 3D glasses again every time we go to our local multiplex?

Nowadays, of course they're Polaroid - as opposed to the old cardboard variety with one red eye and one green (later, blue) eye - but it's always been a bit of naff idea: fine for some sort of quirky novelty such a Muppet film in a Disney themepark or a Nostalgia Night screening of Vincent Price in The House of Wax...


But surely not the way to view 'proper' movies...?

Mr K, however, is unconcerned... “Once [audiences] realise that glasses are an essential part of a 3D movie-going experience," he says, "the glasses companies will be the first to take charge.” So, no doubt we can soon expect Optical Express to be offering a free pair of 3D specs with each prescription and a range of expensive designer-frames from Paul Smith, Police, Ray-Ban and D&G...

The really odd thing is that Mr K (who is apparently attempting to get fellow Hollywood honchos to follow his lead) says that the new-look 3D will be gimmick-free - a slight confusion over terminology there, I'd have said - with nothing popping up, poking out or projecting through the screen at us: “I’m not interested in breaking the proscenium. Any time you tweak people on the nose and become overt about what you’re doing you break the bond that exists between them and the movie.”

Hmmm... But will we accept 3D if it stops punching us on the nose or slapping a custard pie in our face?

Maybe...

After all, there's already a form of three-dimensional entertainment that is free from any such tomfoolery ----- it's called THEATRE!

15 comments:

Boll Weavil said...

I can predict just as confidently that it ain't gonna happen ! I remember the mini boom of the eighties when they tried to bring these things back - I remember going to the cinema to see Jaws 3. A dreadful way to watch a dreadful film ! Imax have made it work certainly though. Their 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' is great but that is because the animation is masterly.I would suggest however,that only on a screen of that dimension can you truly appreciate the format.For your bog standard Odean, it just gets in the way.

Elliot said...

Spielberg and Peter Jackson believe the same, actually...

LisaH said...

Somehow I think his decision might be reversed before 2009. Sounds to me as if he has taken a brainstorm.
Maybe Dreamworks should concentrate more on coming up with new ideas for films instead of sequels that are increasingly less well made than the originals.
Love the Shrek + pals 3D pic.

Andy J. Latham said...

I'm sure I heard Spielberg harping on about the 3D comeback some time ago. He hinted at a method of creating the experience without the requirement of glasses. I think the technology lay in the screen itself.

Also, I'm sure I heard George Lucas is transforming the Star Wars saga into 3D. Will those films ever be 'finished'?

I don't think every film will end up in 3D. In a lot of cases it doesn't add anything. In terms of animation, perhaps the 3D kind needs it though. I remember being blown away by Toy Story, but I'm really getting tired of a new 3D film being released avery other week! Oh, How I long for the return of 2D!
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Visit Andy's Animation!

Brian Sibley said...

BOLL WEAVIL - JAWS 3D? Yep, terrible! IMAX are now showing some blockbusters with 3D sequences (they did it with SUPERMAN RETURNS and are announcing they will be doing it with the new HARRY POTTER), but that is even more faddish than an entire 3D movie.

ELLIOT - I know, and they have the power (or, at least Spielberg does) to give it a go, but - like Boll Weavil - I doubt it will ever be more than a fad... Installing 3D projectors in every cinema seems as unlikely as the 50s/60s dream of Cinerama being the way all film would be seen.

LisaH - I haven't yet seen SHREK THE THIRD, but every review confirms your verdict... I thought, in contrast that TOY STORY 2 was even better than TS1 - but such things are rare...

ANDY - Well Katzenberg (and, therefore, presumably Spielberg) are back with the specs again - personally, as someone (like Mr Katz) who already WEARS spectacles in order to see ANYTHING, I have yet to find a pair of 3D glasses that fit properly OVER my own glasses and feel comfortable enough to watch a 20-minute film let alone, say, a Peter Jackson 3-hour + epic...

STAR WARS in 3D...? Poor George, he just doesn't get it, does he? He did it, it made film history and it's over... LET GO, GEORGE, LET GO!!!!

Boris Hiestand said...

Another problem is that they will have to completely adapt their film making ways to the medium. Modern 'music video style' editing doesn't accomodate for 3d. Watching action sequences or anything longer than half an hour will give you headaches. Also, whenever there is a motion blur (which is obviously all the time) the 3d effect is almost gone.

I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a great deal more of it in the future however. It is after all a nifty little novelty.

Andy J. Latham said...

Imagine if Peter Jackson kept tinkering with LOTR in the Lucas fashion, adding bits here and there every year. We'd be in the cinema for about three days at a time!

Having said that, to me it felt like that when watching all three hobbity installments, having the impressive accolade of having fallen asleep during all three of them!
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Visit Andy's Animation!

Brian Sibley said...

BORIS - You're right and that is probably one of the essential differences between animation and live action - although animators have been adding fake 'motion-blur' for years!

ANDY - You and BENTOS both (see comments on my previous BORED OF THE RINGS post). I've never watched the extended versions at a run but when I want a good long zizzzz, then I most certainly will...

Qenny said...

There are very few films that would really benefit from 3D, and I suspect that the 3D element will reduce the effective viewing angle. It's bad enough on a big screen if you're sat off to one side. It will be worse if the picture is messed up with 3D nonsense on it. So I, for one, agree with the naysayers.

Perhaps it will become available on DVD versions of movies for those who want it, in much the way that some disks have different audio encodings that you can choose to take advantage of depending on your choice of playback equipment and what not.

Qenny said...

One other thought. The difference between 3D and talkies, colour, stereo sound, widescreen is very easy to spot: those things did catch on. 3D has been tried before, more than once, and it failed to catch on. What is different now?

Brian Sibley said...

QUENNY - The technology today (both in terms of projection and viewing is different) but I'm sure you're right...

Good Dog said...

If they want to add 3D to their toy box, fine.

Just as long as they have one great story to begin with.

To many times all the added bells and whistles seem to be there to make up for a deficiency in the most important department.

As for Star Wars coming soon in 3D, you're right he should just LEAVE IT!

Ages back I went to see all three when they were screened at... one of the Odeon cinemas in Leicester Square. Must have been the mid-eighties because I went with folk from art school. Fell asleep in each one.

But... I have watched the three extended Rings films on DVD one after the other. Didn't mean to. Couldn't help myself. And I stayed awake through the whole thing.

Ryan Rasmussen said...

I am selfishly ambivalent when it comes to 3D. My wife doesn't see in 3D normally -- doesn't have stereovision -- and had a terrible time watching Cameron's Ghosts of the Abyss (the visual experience wasn't much better for me). I'd hate to think she wouldn't be able to enjoy films in the theater (or, for that matter, on the TV once the technology is figured out for that format).

Boll Weavil said...

Toy Story 2 better than 1 ? That's a whole blog in itself. Some good ideas but when you know the ingredient of your success and pander to it, it can become laboured and stale very quickly.

Ray Ban Sunglasses said...

Maybe Dreamworks should concentrate more on coming up with new ideas for films instead of sequels that are increasingly less well made than the originals.