Tuesday, April 5, 2011

3D and the Rise of the Proletariat Cinema

James Cameron's Avatar marked the dawn of the new age of Proletariat Cinema. With it taking in over 2.5 billion dollars the masses have spoken. “We want something that looks cool over something that has a fresh plot and meaning.” With us moving in to this new age, films, which are already on the decline and have been for quite sometime, will be almost non-existing.

The definition of proletariat, that relates to this blog, is the class of people who are unintelligent, unenlightened and most of all, uncaring about important issues in modern day society. The proletariat class do not watch films, they watch movies. Before this new age of Proletariat Cinema they wasted their money on the action, horror, and pointless romantic comedy of the day. In the past the Proletariat Cinema did not threaten the film industry simply because the vast majority of these movies only made their budget or only doubled it. The few that did make far over what they spent became the bar setters for that genre of movie but still did not threaten films as a whole.

With the main streaming of 3D movies out of the cheesy theme parks into the theaters all of this has changed. Those who complained about there not being any good films in theaters before, now wish for those days to return. There are those who embrace this next step in the evolution of motion picture, claiming that 3D does not hurt the story but it enhances the movie watching experience by making the viewer feel engulfed in the movie that they are watching. I do not want to stand in the way of progress but both visuals and story are not advancing together as they should be. As visuals become better and better, story is being left in the dust.

Over the years after Avatar, more and more 3D movies have been hitting theaters. Examples such as Piranha 3D, Step up 3D, and Drive Angry 3D are among this new wave of bare minimum plot and childish pop up action sequences. If the movie has 3D in the title then you know that they are not basing the success of the movie on plot, characters or a theme, but just the pure fact that it is in 3D.

The rise of popularity of 3D movies could not be the worst thing in the world. Just the next generations dumb action or horror movies but there is something different about 3D movies. Smart people are behind them. Because that 3D is the next step in the evolution of motion pictures they see what good 3D can do the the motion picture industry. With the success of Avatar more and more movie companies are going to produce these types of movies because they believe that that is where the money is at. My fear is that story is going to be overshadowed by cool 3D visuals and that films as we know them are going to be a thing of the past.

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  1. Again, I HIGHLY recommend Stoklasa's take on a movie (though in this he's in character as Plinkett- it's the same guy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJarz7BYnHA The most relevant part being around 3:50 in part 2 where he talks about how James Cameron is moving movie technology forward... in the wrong direction.

    He goes into 3D a little talking about it as a gimmick. Ugh, I don't really like seeing things in 3D. It mutes colors. It's more expensive. What does it really add that you can't get out of a 4D theater at a theme park or in a tourist trap? I enjoy those, but... yeah.

    You should also look into the disaster that happened when Clash of the Titans was converted to 3D after the fact rather than filmed in it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clash_of_the_Titans_%282010_film%29#Critical_reception

    But yeah I agree with you. A lot of it, though, is that people can get drama or low-impact entertainment on TV or online (legally or illegally). You can't truly recreate an explosive cinematic experience at home (yet) though. So people are more likely to go to the movies for garbage like Transformers 2 and Avatar because, like Stoklasa says, it's like a theme park ride, a visceral, loud, overbearing thing rather than an artistic one. People like loud noises and pretty colors that can't be recreated at home and will pay more for it. Movie companies make more money, and it continues.

  2. I'm a fan of 3D. I see it as a new advancement in film technology that, like all new things, is going through a transition phase as people work it out. Yes, there's bad 3D and manipulative 3D, but the same can be said of every aspect of every art form. Yes, you have mistakes like Clash of the Titans, but that's because the industry is still trying to work out how all of this works, especially when it comes to whether to shoot 3D, like Avatar, or convert in post, like Alice in Wonderland (another great 3D film). 3D is a tool no different than lighting or dialogue, and it has to be used properly in order to be most effective. This same sort of transition occurred with sound and then later color and then high definition. I think common movie goers immediately think Hollywood is just trying to churn more cash out, but really it's about film technology advancing, because film is, in the end, a technological industry. Five years from now 3D will be a staple people take for granted. No, everything will not be in 3D. Just like choosing to shoot a noir film in heavy shadows, 3D is a choice the filmmaker makes to enhance the movie experience.

    Where it concerns Avatar, I thought that reviewer was really cynical, but I did like how he talked about the aspects of the Na'vi design and how they relate back to Disney eyes or dogs or cats. He talked about these things in a negative way, though, as if Cameron took shortcuts, but for me it makes me appreciate the design even more, knowing all the research and work that went into it. Why is it an insult to give a character big eyes to make them more sympathetic? It works. And Cameron didn't take any shortcuts with Avatar. He took the five years of production route, and I'm a big fan of the final product. Yeah, District 9 was more original in how it got the message across, but Avatar was still an enjoyable film. Especially in IMAX 3D.

  3. I like your optimistic idea of it being just another facet of filmmaking, or a tool. I hadn't thought of it that way. I hope it evolves in a way that helps cinema as an art form.

    But they DO charge more for 3D movies and make more money on those tickets. What the ratio between the additional costs in producing it and the profit from higher ticket prices is, though, I don't know.

    I haven't seen Avatar, so I can't comment. But part of why he talked about Disney Eyes is that they were partially sympathetic based on how beautiful they were, while in D9 they were hideous but you still wanted then to survive (even AGAINST humans, and not just American settler/American military metaphor humans in a plot we've seen before). That's why he brought up Garbage Pail Kids and Star Trek fish people. It's not a design flaw, per se, but it's much easier than making them or their struggle inherently likable. "I like these aliens because they are aesthetically pleasing" vs "I like these aliens because I support their struggle". The two aren't mutually exclusive, but the former gives an advantage that isn't based in story or characterization or etc.

  4. Studios don't make more money off the ticket price of a 3D showing. The increase in price is because the theater has to use a different model projector along with the upkeep of glasses. That surcharge goes to the theater. Where studios hope to make more is in the overall increase in tickets sold, regardless of the format.