Cameron refuses to let 3D die. While it started in the 1950s with movies like Bwana Devil and House Of Wax, then saw something of an 80s rebirth through such entries like Jaws 3D and Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone, it was really 2009’s Avatar that kickstarted the most recent 3D boom.
Ghosts Of The Abyss, Aliens Of The Deep and the Sharkboy and Lava Girl movies let Cameron perfect the tech, then after Avatar, suddenly, it was everywhere again. You had to see Avatar in theatres and pay the 3D premium as it wasn’t just a movie, it was an experience.
The Final Destination, Piranha 3D, Clash Of The Titans, the latter Harry Potter movies. You couldn’t move at the theatre for 3D presentations. At home, BluRay discs brought 3D into our living rooms on the latest generation of TVs. Cupboards in entertainment units filled up with 3D glasses. We all excitedly showed our mates Gravity in 3D from the comfort of our couches.
Then, one day, it was gone. The 3D glasses under our televisions became lost behind the latest video games or movie discs. 3D capability was quietly dropped from the must-have specs of newer televisions. Movie theatres placed their thousands of pairs of glasses into a cupboard and forgot about them.
Avatar still remains, arguably, the best example of 3D done right. Sets were built with depth. Camera movements planned with 3D in mind. Virtual worlds built in a computer to showcase the perspective.
While subsequent, poorer quality efforts and conversions may have killed off the craze for now, Cameron says it is not completely dead and he is confident in its future. In an interview with Slashfilm he talks the impact his original movie had, and how he sees the future:
“I would say that the 3D was generally embraced for a period of time. ‘Avatar’ won the best cinematography with a 3D digital camera. No digital camera had ever won the best cinematography Oscar before.
Then two out of the three subsequent years, the same cameras were used by the cinematographers that won the Oscar. So you got 3 out of 4 years where the Academy embraced digital cinematography. And all 3 of those films were in 3D.”
It is here that Cameron makes his stand. It wasn’t the technology, it was the application and the quality. He doesn’t think it will go completely:
“3D appears to most people to sort of be ‘over.’ But it’s really not over. It’s just been accepted. It’s just now a part of your choices when you go to the theater to see a big blockbuster movie … I liken it to color. When color films first came out, it was a big deal.
People would go to see movies because they were in color. I think around the time of ‘Avatar,’ people used to go to see movies because they were in 3D … I think it had an impact on how films were presented that’s now just sort of accepted and part of the zeitgeist and how it’s done.”
Will Avatar: The Way of Water have us flooding back to theatres and donning those 3D glasses once more? Have you recently watched a 3D movie at home and rediscovered that its a pretty cool way to watch a movie sometimes?