Does the Future of 3-D Rest with Prestige?

The Wall Street Journal has an informative article about Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Steven Spielberg venturing into 3-D for the first time, and ponders if the prestige will elevate the technique commercially just as viewers are growing weary of it being so ubiquitous.

However, what I find intriguing are the artistic possibilities of pushing 3-D further (plus we have Ridley Scott and Ang Lee testing the stereoscopic waters next year with Prometheus, June 8, and Life of Pi, Dec. 14). As one VFX supervisor complained to me, the science still hasn’t been worked out sufficiently because it’s not natural: we don’t perceive the world like a View-Master, so it’s a tricky aesthetic. Still, there is a lot of room for creatively shooting in 3-D to enhance the narrative experience, which these three directors instinctively understand.

Scorsese, obviously impressed by Avatar, hired James Cameron’s partner, Vince Pace, to build a 3-D camera system for Hugo (opening Nov. 23) in London and he subsequently walked the director and his crew through the paces of creating multiple dimensions with composition, lighting, and camera movement. Based on the children’s book Hugo Cabret, the movie is perfectly suited to 3-D since it’s set in a 1931 Paris train station and centers around French film pioneer, Georges Méliès, the father of special effects. Between “the machines of the trains, the mechanisms of the clocks [in the train station] and the projectors of the cinema,” the film seemed to “cry out for the extra element of space and depth,” Scorsese suggested. Naturally he kept pushing the depth to attain the theatricality of Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder. But I think he goes too far in his speculative revisionism about Taxi Driver and Raging Bull benefiting from 3-D. Yet this flamboyant sense of theatricality is what Coppola said he’s striving for with his Gothic Twixt when he appeared at Comic-Con.

However, it’s the emotional pull that’s most important, which is what Spielberg told us (via polycom) at a Weta gathering last month for The Adventures of Tintin (opening Dec.23): “I wanted to try to be as immediate as the actors were being in giving their performances for the first time. I wanted to be inspired by those performances and be able to find the shots and choreograph the masters and the coverage at the same time the actors were discovering who they were. And that is a very conventional way of making a movie, but at least I found a purpose, not just directing actors, like a stage director…but I really found a creative way of making the movie in real-time.”

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation

One Response to Does the Future of 3-D Rest with Prestige?

  1. JRW007

    These three movies seem to have one thing in common:

    They all look awful.

    Three formerly visionary filmmakers trying desperately to fit in and be relevant by creating something “cool and hip.” But just like a grandpa, they don’t realize that what they THINK is cool and hip … is actually already passe and square.

    3-D is awful. There’s no way around it. Audiences are bored by it, and you know what they say about people who don’t learn from history being doomed to repeat it? Well, there you go. Another 3-D “fad” gone awry.

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