Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Opinion: Mark Canton vs. James Cameron Blown WAY Out of Proportion

By now you are probably aware of an online spat that has been taking place involving the producer of PIRANHA 3D, Mark Canton and the director of AVATAR, James Cameron. Cameron has publicly come down hard in Vanity Fair on PIRANHA 3D for producing bad 3D, while Canton has stirred it up even further by replying (very publicly again) in an almost 1400 word composition that he thinks Cameron should, and I am paraphrasing here, "mind his own business" (Canton was not so eloquent).

I can't believe Canton not only misunderstood what Cameron was saying (as do many other movie sites right now) but then proceeded to verbally berate Cameron in an almost belligerent attack.

Here in verbatim is what Cameron told Vanity Fair:
Reporter: "Was there any sense of nostalgia when the Piranha movie came out last weekend?"

Cameron: "Zero. You’ve got to remember: I worked on Piranha 2 for a few days and got fired off of it; I don’t put it on my official filmography. So there’s no sort of fond connection for me whatsoever. In fact, I would go even farther and say that... I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s not what’s happening now with 3-D. It is a renaissance—right now the biggest and the best films are being made in 3-D. Martin Scorsese is making a film in 3-D. Disney’s biggest film of the year—Tron: Legacy—is coming out in 3-D. So it’s a whole new ballgame."

Let's make one point perfectly clear here: I can see how people can misconstrue what Cameron has said here when it is taken out of context (ie. they have only read this one paragraph and not the whole interview). But, please people, before jumping to conclusions and bashing one of the best directors of all time, read the whole story...

A minute earlier in that interview came this exchange (before any mention of PIRANHA 3D):
Reporter: "Your disapproval of the rush jobs on some of these 3-D movies is well documented. Is it a strange position to be arguing so adamantly against substandard 3-D when, indirectly, Avatar’s success had led us to this point?"

Cameron: "Yes, but that’s not my fault. We worked for four-and-a-half years to make Avatar what it is. There are a number of good movies that are being natively authored in 3-D that are coming out. But what you saw was sort of the gold rush. After Avatar, people tried to cash in. Or, in some cases, like Alice in Wonderland and How to Train Your Dragon— especially the latter, which I think is excellent in 3-D—they were films that were in the pipeline for some time. They weren’t cashing in, they were just coming out. You’re going to see the whole market kind of stabilize and redefine itself over the next couple of years. Look, it’s caveat emptor as well. The consumer needs to be aware that just because a movie is in 3-D doesn’t mean that it’s good. And they can find out online or the media can talk about it. Was it shot in 3-D or was it converted to 3-D? And even conversion itself is not necessarily bad if it’s done right."

"Well, you’re converting Titanic to 3-D."

Cameron: "Yes, we’re going to prove that point with Titanic. We really want it to be the gold standard of how you do a conversion."

See that? Cameron is talking about BAD 3D CONVERSIONS. Not bad movies.
There is a HUGE difference and Canton simply got it wrong. I know for a fact Cameron dislikes bad 3D conversions because we talked about it a few weeks ago - namely CLASH OF THE TITANS. While I will admit that Cameron could have been clearer in what he was saying, it gets to be a chore to keep repeating yourself to maintain a sense of context in an interview. And Cameron does more interviews than most directors. Readers should get it right just by reading the whole article.

My opinion is Cameron was taken WAY out of context here and that Canton took that and ran with it in a very unprofessional way. Perhaps it is a publicity stunt. Perhaps not. But I do know that Cameron is responsible with his choice of words. Maybe there will be apologies come out of this whole mess to clear things up - but to me, nothing wrong was said here. PIRANHA 3D's conversion was VERY poor at times - distance shots for example. But the closer shots were passable to most people. And the movie itself? A great summer popcorn show. I have already recommended seeing it.

What do you guys think of the situation?

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