James Cameron’s fears are realized. [UPDATE: Link fixed and additional commentary…]
He was afraid that 3D would fall into the cheap exploitation film ghetto as it did before. Now Lion’s Gate is releasing My Bloody Valentine 3D. I don’t think anyone is going to confuse the type of 3D that can be done on the cheap with the kind that Cameron is doing. As I’ve blogged before, it is tough for indies to afford the additional post-production and production costs associated with 3D. Nevertheless, I think it will be indie filmmakers who are free to really push the bounds of what type of stories audiences will want to see in 3D.
With all due respect to Cameron, his sci-fi effect epic Avatar is in its own exploitation genre ghetto. Now it may be that his use of 3D will really break emotional ground in addition to amping up the intensity of mech-suit moon battles. But even if it is the 3D tipping point, ask yourself how many people watch talkie-tipping point the Al Jolson The Jazz Singer nowadays, compared to those who watch Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca or The Godfather, to name just a few cinematic achievements that make masterful use of sound.