A sort ofFor a variety of reasons, Avatar 2 will be the riskiest movie of the year. The question is whether the public really wants a sequel to a 12-year-old film that retains no cultural prestige.The truth is, James Cameron still needs to release three more if it fails Avatar Movies after this. But most importantly, Avatar 2 will have to convince us all to put on stupid 3D glasses again.
Ten years ago, 3D Should be the future of cinema. Thanks to the first Avatar, which used the technology to transport us into gorgeous, immersive alien landscapes, every big-budget movie has enthusiastically embraced this new approach to filmmaking. Peter Jackson made 3D movies. Ridley Scott made a 3D movie. Martin Scorsese made a 3D movie. Ang Lee made a 3D movie that won an Oscar for crying out loud.
Of course, we’re told that 3D may have been just a 1950s gimmick at first, but this time it will be different. “3D is here to stay,” declares a man arguably too bold Techcrunch article from 2010“Abandoning it would be a jerk that Hollywood wouldn’t be willing to do. Ten years from now, we’ll be looking back at a library of not a dozen, but hundreds of 3D movies, some of which (we might hope) will be up to the classics of the past. The quality level of the work.”
The more discerning among you will notice that things haven’t quite faltered as Techcrunch thought. In fact, the new 3D revolution turned out to be another gimmick. Glasses are tight, uncomfortable and not environmentally friendly. They hurt your eyes. They make the viewing experience darker. What’s more, the simple act of showing a movie in 3D means that movie theaters are free to raise ticket prices. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the films themselves tend to be actually pretty good in 2D, fueled by lazy post-production 3D conversions as part of a frustrating studio cash grab. No wonder it died.
That’s not to say people stopped making 3D movies altogether. They’re still being released; this year’s Doctor Strange is available in 3D, as are Dune, Encanto, Godzilla vs. Kong, and the last Star Wars movie. But in a sense, these are sideshows, accounting for only 17% of theater revenue in 2017. They exist if people want a slightly different experience, but they are by no means the final version of the movie.
In fact, 3D seems to be just another way to earn extra income. For example, my local multiplex has just reopened after a renovation and now it offers an incredible range of viewing formats. You can watch movies in 2D and 3D, but also Imax, 4DX (where your seat throws you around in time with the action) and an extremely stupid gimmick called ScreenX, at various intervals in the movie, the auditorium The walls will glow with an additional 270 degree surround lens. These are clearly in response to the rise of everyday home releases – yes, you can watch The Matrix 4 on the couch, but does it make you move around the room whenever there’s a car chase? — but they all feel like a desperate fumble for the industry in trouble.
All of this will make Avatar particularly difficult. It’s been more than a decade since it last had to educate audiences about 3D movies, but now it finds itself in exactly the same position in the sequel. A recent article in The Hollywood Reporter Imax Entertainment president Megan Colligan was quoted as saying that “warming up to 3D has to be thoughtful and careful”, adding that “a lot of lessons were learned” during the last 3D boom. The producers of Avatar 2, and the film industry in general, seem particularly keen to stop 3D from becoming a gimmick again. In another 10 years, we don’t know how successful they will be. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that we probably shouldn’t get too excited.