This past summer Hollywood just utterly overdosed on 3D. No other way to say it. There were so many films that should have not gone down the way they did. “The Green Hornet,” for example. Or “The Smurfs 3D,” which can only be properly construed under the category of harlotry, comes to mind. “Smurf happens,” indeed.
Enter stage right: James Cameron. In many ways it is Cameron who deserves a lion’s share of the blame, for this unholy Hollywood orgy-spectacle. Eighty-five percent of the massive domestic box office for “Avatar” came from 3D. And Hollywood, of course, saw those numbers and got wood. Ironically, only Hollywood could turn three dimensional technology into one-dimensional dreck (for further reference see — or rather don’t — “Green Lantern”).
In his defense, Cameron urged caution where many studio executives saw naked, spread eagle profits. Cameron told USA Today, prophetically, in March:
“You know, everybody is an overnight expert. They think, ‘what was the takeaway lessons from ‘Avatar’? Oh you should make more money with 3D.’ They ignore the fact that we natively authored the film in 3D, and decide that what we accomplished in several years of production could be done in an eight week (post-production 3D) conversion with ‘Clash of the Titans.’
“If people put bad 3D in the marketplace they’re going to hold back or even threaten the emerging of 3D. People will be confused by differences in quality.”
Accurate, sadly. That was in March. By the summer, Hollywood was in a full blown 3D frenzy, summer tent-poles erect. But it got very little to show for its ardor. This very blog, by June, asked: Has 3D jumped the shark? Goddamned Michael Bay. Why didn’t they listen to James Cameron?!
Once again, this time with gusto, Cameron rides in to save the day. He wants to save 3D from its own overblown excesses. One of the most vocal proponents of 3D, Cameron is now taking his role as cheerleader to the next level. More hands on. Cameron wants, in effect, to create, collaborate and oversee best practices in the making of 3D entertainment. Cameron, if not the father of this latest incarnation of 3D, is at least its sober and responsible uncle. He aspires to put his seal of approval on the genre. From The Wrap:
“We want to be the Dolby of 3D,” (Cameron) said.
He said that RealD handles that function on the display side, but no one’s doing it for filmmakers.
A “Cameron-Pace Group-certified” stamp of approval would do just that, he said.
Cameron added that he wants the certification program to be a way for filmmakers to know that they’re using 3D technology in the best possible way.
“It’s about the planning, the acquisition … delivering it to display,” he said. “We want to work with the filmmakers, we want to work with the standards entities … to create a consensus about the best practices and standards on the way the set is run, the cameras are used and so on.”
Cameron’s proposal, though perhaps a tad ego-centric to most observers, has more than a little merit. He sees this nascent genre as his baby. It sort of is. And what “father” wants to see his child fail? The legacy of this particular form of 3D, for better or worse, will be tied to James Cameron. Who else better, bearing that in mind, to save 3D from itself than Cameron? And boy does this genre need some saving right about now.