Although it’s come a long way, I still can’t take 3D seriously. It just takes me back to THE TERMINATOR ride at Universal Studios. If you’ve ever been on (in it?), you know the novelty wears off pretty much after the first go ’round. I can’t say that I want that ride and my moviegoing experience to be synonymous. Also, I wear glasses on a daily basis so being handed a second pair just feels like a mean joke. However, it seems that I and anyone else unwilling to jump on the 3D bandwagon will continue to be pummeled by progress. 3D is the future. Or is it? I was pleasantly surprised to see that not every director is crossing over from 2D to 3D with a Scorsese-size grin. In an article on The LA Times online, director Ang Lee gave CinemaCon audiences a bit of an inside look at his apprehension with the new technology. His latest project is LIFE OF PI, yet another picture to follow the “high school lit adaptation for the big screen” trend.
I fully admit that I am in love with this book. It’s sort of in the same vein of “Fight Club” but swap out violent man beatings for a boy and a tiger trapped together on a boat in the open seas. Basically, you can’t really talk about it with others unless they’ve read it too. Way too many possible spoilers. I had no idea the book was being adapted until I saw a tweet last week that the film would be released earlier than planned (November 21st instead of Christmas Day) and would be in 3D. My gut says to trust Lee on this one. I’ve been let down in the past (cough Peter Jackson’s THE LOVELY BONES cough), but then I remember Lee’s BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. And if that’s not enough, look at the first still to be released. Even if you haven’t read the book, doesn’t this look like an interesting obstacle to overcome?
Lee’s reflections regarding filming in 3D for the first time also gave me a vote of confidence that he truly does care about putting the craft before everything else. I think one thing folks on the outside (like myself) are quick to forget is that these technical advancements aren’t always technically easier than their predecessors. Lee cites the actual 3D cameras were “cumbersome” and comparable to “operating a fridge”. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a 1920’s film production problem to me. It’s 2012 and oversized cameras are hindering the filmmaking process again. Where are the cameras the size of my fingertip? Just as I have imagined, these Godzilla machines can also interfere with the actor/director relationship. Lee spoke about how the young lead actor had to tone down his performance as it was too exaggerated for the camera. Great that’s just what we want. Limiting the movement of an actor to maintain the latest aesthetic trend. I respect Lee’s openness about the endeavor as a whole beyond the glitz and glamour and have a whole new respect from anyone brave enough to tackle 3D or as he calls it “a new film language”.
LIFE OF PI completes the trifecta of films slated for release this winter along with THE HOBBIT (Peter Jackson) and THE GREAT GATSBY (Baz Luhrmann). As I learned from the “Side by Side” conversation, what Hollywood says goes. We can thank James Cameron for the onslaught of hard drives replacing 35mm projectors across the country and apparently the same applies to 3D. According to “Is the future really in 3D?“, an ever-relevant article by The Telegraph, “In 2004, only 90 cinemas in the world could play 3D; today, there are more than 20,000.” So yes it looks like 3D is here to stay. I may have to suck it up invest in contact lenses because I must see LIFE OF PI in theaters. I mean how can you say “No” to this face?