Gauging the Technology Landscape: Are We Overlooking Content?

While much of the movie blogosphere seems to be filled with amateur movie reviews and secret spy photos of the latest "it"celebrity, I feel a film blog is much more effective when it probes into current events, looking ahead to the shaping of the industry in the future. One popular topic for this type of writing is technology, and with the advent of computers and the way they have revolutionized cinema, conflicting opinions inevitably arise on where we have come from and where we are going. For this week, I have found two blog posts that deal with technology involving 3D film and animation and commented on the topics at hand. 3D has slowly moved to forefront of new film techniques, and this schedule of upcoming 3D films show that more films are on the horizon. The first post deals with one of those films, AVATAR, and its filmmaker James Cameron's future plans with three dimensional film. In my comment of the post, written by Hunter Stevenson, correspondent at SlashFilm, I discuss how Cameron's plans to expand 3D into conventional genres may not be the best idea. The second post, from Alex Billington of FirstShowing.net, looks ahead to Disney and Pixar's upcoming schedule. While the films on tap all appear ground breaking, I question in my post the potential damages that tech-focused film making can have on content.

"James Cameron Announces Next Project After AVATAR...and Yeah, It's in 3D But It's Not Battle Angel"
I found this post really interesting, and a good recap and perspective on the Variety interview with Cameron. With the recent Hannah Montana 3-D concert film release, it seems to be that everyone is discussing the next best way to utilize this new technology on screen. I've followed along with the production of Avatar and can say that its truly exciting to see what such a visionary director like Cameron could do with this new technology, especially due to Cameron's history making large, yet personal films.

However, I can say that talk of Cameron's aspirations of making a drama in 3-D worry me about the oversaturation of this new twist on the medium. While I do believe 3-D has been effective in animated films like Beowulf and event or concert films like U2-3D, and it has potential to change cinema with Avatar, I worry that if it enters every genre it will become bland and overused. If a normal genre such as drama starts to utilize 3-d, I'm afraid films will begin to rely on these effects, and before long audiences will simply be waiting for the character to reach for the mail and have their hand bursting through the screen. I think animation and event films rely on moments that allow 3-d to shine, but I doubt its ability to become the new platform for film. I feel the adjustment process would be simply too drastic and obvious, that would, in turn, dilute the content.

"Disney and Pixar's Full Animated Line-Up Through 2012!"
This post is a very informative look at the upcoming Disney and Pixar schedule, and it caused me to reconsider the landscape of animation today. While it seems like every is looking for the next film to turn into a 3-D masterpiece, I feel what is really being lost in the shuffle is traditional 2-D animation. Now that nearly every film being announced is being upgraded from computer generated images to 3-dimensional computer generated images, the idea of 2-D films of any type is not even spoken about.

While I feel like this advent of 3-D technology can potential push the boundaries of film, it seems to me the technology is moving too fast and without consideration of the artistic consequences. It seems like since the release of Shrek, studios have forgotten that a animated film cannot be successful if presented in the hand drawn style of classics like Beauty and the Beast and Lion King. The animated landscape must remain diverse, or else it is bound to become stagnant and bland. While films like Shrek, the Toy Story films and Finding Nemo have made tremendous marks in both the box office and in cinema canon, I'm sure that are few film fans who have seen The Wild, Happily N'ever After and Open Season, let alone heard of them. This new lush animation style has made every film visually stunning, complete with goofy animal characters and exotic locales, but simply place three random animals with celebrity voices and wacky adventure do not make a film. While the release of The Princess and the Frog is promising for traditional animation, it is the first of its type from Disney's 2004 Home on the Range. The films continue to get flashier, but I fail to believe that they are getting better written, and I feel that while this schedule is promising, its ultimately more of the same.

1 comment:

JBM said...

First off, I would like to commend you on your post topic. I think 3D films are ground-breaking, and I believe they will attract larger audiences and make a lot more money. I like how you linked the upcoming 3D movies because it allows the reader (like myself) to delve into an unfamiliar world of entertainment.

As for your comment on the James Cameron post, I could not agree with you more. There are some genres that should not be touched when it comes to 3D films. Can you imagine The Notebook or Wedding Crashers in 3D? I can see scary horror films making the grade, but not dramas and comedies. What could possibly be next, TV shows in 3D? Again, I cannot picture Friends or CSI in 3D. I do believe, however, that Cameron, being the genius he is, will explore these genres n the future and probably make a killing in the box office. People will go see them just because of the technology and the hype that will surround these movies. 3D movies are revolutionary, and I believe Disney and Pixar are at the forefront of this movement. These two companies combined have attracted more people to the theaters, and this has probably resulted in them making more money than any other studios. I have not looked at any figures recently, but I can bet that their stock price and demand have both skyrocketed over the past ten years or so. Are you excited to see such movies yourself? Being a film student, will you actually go see these movies when they come out? Popular movies such as Toy Story and Shrek are two of my favorites, and I would definitely be interested in seeing them in 3D. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the box office. I doubt that they will flop, especially if they are promoted and advertised well enough.

Your graphics were definitely relevant to the topic of your post, and your links provided great opportunity to read more on the subject of 3D films. Overall, I enjoyed reading your post about upcoming technology in films, and I look forward to seeing some of these movies when they hit the big screen.

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