Sunday, July 04, 2010

Did You See TITANS? How About AIRBENDER? Here Is Why You Should Reserve Judgement On 3D Conversions!

Wow. Can't a guy go on a few days vacation around here? Right now I am sitting on the coast of Nova Scotia with no cell phone service and very limited Internet. Trying to relax, while yet another 3D conversion tries to wipe 3D off the map. Of course that will not happen but still to say it is an irritant is an understatement.

So M. Night Shymalongadingdong releases the snorefest THE LAST AIRBENDER while I am gone. I actually thought at one point, given the exceptional effects and potential for a great story, that he can't miss with this one. Now I have lined up with the masses on drumming this guy out of Hollywood. Or something. I will say this: We don't know exactly whose ultimate decision it was to convert this pile of %#@* to 3D, but they should be forced to watch it on an endless loop for a week straight.

It sounds like executives saw how lousy it was going to be and as it was too late to pull the plug decided to maximize any revenue coming in by making it 3D after the fact. Sounds plausible doesn't it? If this is true, I am sick to my stomach. It would be even worse than the decision to convert CLASH OF THE TITANS because AIRBENDER executives would at least have knowledge of what can go terribly wrong through TITANS.

I have long held this belief: If you have the time (and I said TIME as in a year at least with current technology) then by all means convert your new feature length film using a reputable company. BUT if you do not have time on your side, nor the financial ability to get it done right - LEAVE IT ALONE.

Further, there are enough titles that need to be converted to 3D from a boundless library of studio classics that will keep everyone very busy for the years to come. What is going to fill the programming slots of those brand new S3DHD channels we are/will be getting? Sure 3D sports and live entertainment, but there needs to be lots of work done with those existing movie libraries. More than enough work for everyone.

But will common sense prevail? Apparently not - at least not in the short term. In fact there is a backlash mounting now against 3D conversion and if they are not careful - against ALL 3D conversions.

Here is why you should reserve judgment on 3D conversions:

1. The technology is rather young. Every month there are new strides being made in the process.
2. Certain companies are FAR better than others in converting material. In time, the better companies will rise to the top as in any capitalist market.
3. Inexperience with a new genre leads to bad decisions being made - time corrects inexperience and future decisions will reflect the errors being made today. And THEY ARE being made today.
4. Wait to see HARRY POTTER's finales in converted 3D. Then make a decision.

Are future native 3D projects threatened by this onslaught of stupid conversion decisions? No. We have AVATAR under our belts. We KNOW what a good 3D movie looks like and there is an obvious deep thirst for that entertainment. What is happening now though is that audiences are becoming fluent with 3D terminology and will start insisting on native 3D movies rather than conversions. And whose fault is it? Studio executives. I can't point the finger at anyone else right now. It is a shame. ALICE IN WONDERLAND was done very well. 3D conversion CAN be done very well.

Personally, TRON cannot get here soon enough. Disney - move the launch up will you? ;-) We need a good solid native 3D blockbuster again and I know without a shadow of a doubt that TRON: LEGACY will fit the bill. In the meanwhile I am a tad worried. I have suspected for some time now that PIRANHA is going to suck - I DIDN'T think AIRBENDER would and it did.

So could PIRANHA be a worse decision for 3D conversion? I hope not. Just keep humming the mantra TROOOOOONNNNNN. TROOOOOOONNNNN in your mind and this should all be over in a matter of months. Deal?

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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