Monday, 26 July 2010

Another nail in the coffin of the 3D industry

I was just reading a report from some recent studies of the 3D movies recently released, on NZ's news site

It looks like the love affair with 3D movies is already past its use-by date. Wait - already? What am I saying - it took longer than I expected.

In short, some figures from the reported findings:

  • December 2009 - Avatar 3D, approx 71% of the audience watched in 3D
  • March 2010 - How To Train Your Dragon 3D, approx 68% of the audience watched in 3D
  • May 2010 - Shrek Forever After 3D, the figure had dropped to 61%
  • July 2010 - The Last Airbender 3D, down to 56%
  • Later in July 2010 - Despicable Me 3D - 45%

And still they haven't figured it out - "Critics say part of the problem may be the technology itself". Nope, it's the fact that the audience isn't clamouring for 3D in a cinema. It's a solution desparately looking for a problem to solve, and there isn't a problem. We like 2D. Really, we do!

I saw three other quotes this week on the subject. The first one is from the film critic Roger Ebert, and is listed at the above link as well (near the end) - "3D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension and Hollywood's current crazy stampede towards it is suicidal".

 The second one was a figure I saw on, from ComicCon'2010. Apparently they conducted a survey during their panel, and found that "out of 450 people surveyed, 450 don’t want 3D for ‘The Hobbit’". Sounds like the audience really doesn't want it, doesn't it? Ok, so 450 isn't a huge scientific sample, but at ComicCon, they're pretty dedicated film watchers. I'm hoping the eventual makers of the film listen to the audience.

The last quote I unfortnately can't find back right now (it was on a podcast that I haven't seen transcribed anywhere). Apparently, when Sir Ian McKellen was in Wellington, he me up with some of the Weta technicians, one of whom asked him what he thought of Avatar 3D, to which he replied something along the lines of "you know, theatre is in 3D?"... classic. Obviously he wasn't too impressed with the "advances" in technology. Go Sir Ian. :)

In essence, that's what the big bucks have been trying to emulate - the theatre experience. For some reason, it's what everyone is supposed to want (but very few actually do).

I know I've blogged about this a few times before, (ok, ok, they weren't so much blogs as rants), but I feel very strongly about 3D. It was a gimick in the 1950's, it was a gimick in the 1960's. It's still a gimick now. If they ever solve the "stupid glasses" problem, I'm prepared to look at it again but I doubt very much whether we'll all still be talking about 3D in 2012 ((before the apocalypse, obviously)). It'll be a long forgotten fad by then, and all your expensive glasses and 3D TVs will be under your beds, resting in peace with your slinkies and your hula-hoops.

You can quote me on that in 2013.

  - Jack M.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Sir Ian McKellen's time is running out...

(caution : rant ahead)

Sir Ian is currently in New Zealand performing Waiting For Godot, and was tonight interviewed on TV... he talks about various theatre related before the interviewer asks him about The Hobbit. The interview has been posted on TV NZ's Youtube account

Round about 5:54 into the clip, he is asked about delays in filming, at which he says that he has other things he wants to plan as well, implying that the studios had better get a move on if they want this movie to be a reality.

Ok, so we lost a terrific director already - or rather, we've already lost two. Originally Peter Jackson might have said "yes" if he hadn't been screwed passed over by Newline Cinema. After all the legal dust had settled, Peter was busy making other movies. So, Guillermo del Toro came aboard. In the meantime a new problem has arisen, with MGM going down the gurgler. Del Toro walks, after hanging on for far longer than I would have.

In the meantime, Wellington has been quietly preparing to start on the production, with or without funding. Peter has famously approached only one person to be recast (verifiably, anyway) - Sir Ian McKellen. He was supposed to be here in March 2010, then April, then July, now November, and probably January 2011 soon. He is now also starting to make leaving noises though.

My question to MGM and their the stockholders - are you really this blind, deaf and plain dumb that you're hanging out for a few hundred million, when we all know this movie will make so much more, providing (and this is the kicker) you actually get started ASAP? The longer you wait, the less The Hobbit will make, because it will suck, and the fans will walk away. The people at the top are walking, why wouldn't we fans as well? Giving MGM debt extension after debt extension is a complete waste of time if they don't actually start making The Hobbit. You've already lost James Bond - what else do you have on the horizon that would warrant the continued mucking around?

MGM needs a shakeup. I'm obviously sympathetic to people in trouble, but I find it hard to think of "people who owe billions of dollars" as "people who worry were their next meal is coming from". Get on with it already - and if you just can't, then sell up and let someone else do the job already!

We're tired of waiting.

  - Jack M.