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Cats and Dogs, Living Together

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 24, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 24, 2010 |

Bigelow might have landed the Oscar, but Cameron’s the one whose film has made the biggest immediate impact to the industry. Is that incredible face-mapping technology getting unique and creative uses? Nope. Studios are just dictating that basically every movie be 3D, and they mean right this instant, not just films yet to be filmed. Already done shooting? They’ll just 3Dify it, which according to Michael Bay means that a third party takes the reels of film, wipes their ass with them, and then hands out the little glasses.

Herr Director Bay said: “I am trying to be sold, and some companies are still working on the shots I gave them. Right now, it looks like fake 3D, with layers that are very apparent. You go to the screening room, you are hoping to be thrilled, and you’re thinking, huh, this kind of sucks. People can say whatever they want about my movies [Note to attorneys: we have a go], but they are technically precise, and if this isn’t going to be excellent, I don’t want to do it. And it is my choice.”

Christ on a tap dancing unicorn, what has the world come to that Michael Bay is the one taking stands on artistic integrity? Everything from The Hobbit to Spiderman: The Reboot to The Cabin in the Woods to The Hangover 2 is being shoehorned into 3D. There are a few directors out there insisting that the move to 3D is inevitable, no different than the move to color or to digital recording. Actually, there’s a huge difference, those innovations were driven by filmmakers not by studios. Artistic decisions were made that were successful enough to drag an entire industry with it. 3D has been little more than a gimmick for decades. Sure, Avatar was neater in 3D, but that was largely because of the specific visuals being conveyed, not to mention the simple fact that Cameron took four years and a zillion dollars to make it that way.

Not all technological changes are good enough to bother. Remember minidiscs? They were smaller, sounded better and held more music than CDs. No one disputed those things, what they disputed was that the benefits knocked it up over the threshold necessary to bother consumers into converting.

Says Bay: “This conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3D. Studios might be willing to sacrifice the look and use the gimmick to make $3 more a ticket, but I’m not. Avatar took four years. You can’t just shit out a 3D movie. I’m saying, the jury is still out.”

Ah yes, the money factor. Look, we all know that corporations are out to make money, that they decide which projects to pursue on a calculus of expected profit. But the idea of tacking on features not because people are willing to pay more for the added benefit but because there’s an expectation that they have to pay more if that feature is in there? It’s like a car company noting that cars with moonroofs sell for $2000 more apiece, using a chainsaw to pop a hole in the existing roofs and then demanding extra money for every car. Don’t want a moonroof? Luddite communist. That sort of douchebaggery? That’s why we don’t get to have nice things.

(source: The Playlist)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.