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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Is Jim Cameron talking out of both sides of his mouth on 3-D conversions?

Is Jim Cameron for or against converting 2-D films into 3-D? Or has he done a serious flip-flop on the issue now that Hollywood is in the midst of a 3-D blitzkrieg?

Cameron I thought Cameron was on my side on the 3-D conversion issue. In short, that means that people who start taking films they've shot in 2-D and then -- salivating at the astounding grosses that "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland" have racked up in their 3-D runs -- decide to quickly convert them into 3-D are people trying to hustle their audience and make a quick buck. Actually, make that a lot of quick bucks. That's exactly what Warner Bros. is doing right now, in the wake of "Avatar's" box-office success, with the studio working overtime to convert "Clash of the Titans" into 3-D, long after the film was already shot using conventional 2-D equipment.

In a recent interview, Cameron had bashed the quickie conversion process, saying it was "typical of Hollywood getting it wrong." The filmmaker, speaking of his work with "Avatar," said, "We do a film that is natively authored in 3-D, shot in 3-D, and so they assume from the success of that they can just turn movies into 3-D in 8 weeks ... throw a switch and that's gonna work somehow." Speaking directly about quickie studio conversions like "Clash of the Titans," Cameron added: "It's just not the way to do it. If you want to make a movie in 3-D, make the movie in 3-D."

But in Hollywood, money talks. The recent 3-D grosses have been so astounding that everyone is pushing the 3-D button. Not only are a host of sequels getting the 3-D treatment, like "Happy Feet 2" and "Friday the 13th Part 2," but Paramount is even moving ahead with a 3-D version of "Jackass." I guess it was an obvious question -- would Cameron dip back into his library and start his own 3-D conversions? And, surprisingly, considering his tough words, the answer is yes. As he told USA Today, "We're targeting the spring of 2012 for the release [of a 3-D version of 'Titanic'], which is the 100-year anniversary of the sailing of the ship."

What do you think? Is "Titanic" the kind of film you'd want to see converted to 3-D? Or is taking a masterwork and reworking it with new technology the equivalent of colorizing "Casablanca"? Should "Titanic" stand on its own as a classic of its kind -- or is any movie fair game? I'd love to hear your thoughts. But I think that if Cameron is going to beef about other people doing 3-D conversions, he shouldn't be so eager to do it himself just because he thinks he'll do it so much better than the crass, quick-buck artists who run movie studios.

Photo: James Cameron. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

 
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I've seen 3 minutes of this conversion. It's breathtaking.

unless it is a movie that was shot in 3d, I probably won't pay the extra $$$ to see it in converted 3d. We all have to join together to stop this 3d monster before it overwhelms us all. The RED camera system is awesome, try working with that before you start giving us all migraines and intestinal upset while watching your banal attempt to cash in on what for most applications is just a gimmick.

James Cameron just talks too much -- he needs to learn that silence can be golden. Titanic is the most annoying and boring film made. I still hate my family for dragging me to see it, and wasting 2+ hours in the theatre. There's no way I'd see it again.

First of all, Titanic is not really a masterwork in my book. You can not compare Titanic to Casablanca. The reason Titanic did so well was because all these teenage girls saw the movie with Leo many times at the theaters and the others wanted to see a giant ship sink on the big screen. It was a good movie, but it didn't deserve the Best Picture Oscar ... just like Avatar didn't deserve it.

As far as converting it to 3D ... I have no problems with converting older movies into 3D if it is done correctly. I do have a problem with rush job conversions just to make more money and I have a problem with studios shooting a movie in 2D knowing that they will convert it later into 3D ... when they could simply shoot it in 3D from the start. I didn't see Alice in Wonderland in 3D because it wasn't intended to be in 3D. People said that the 3D was awful in it. Same goes with Clash of the Titans. If they knew Avatar was going to be this successful ... maybe they would've shot those movies in 3D to begin with.

James Cameron wants movies to be shot in 3D, but I'm also sure he wants older films to be converted into 3D if they were done correctly. Does that mean we should get Driving Miss Daisy in 3D? No, but I wouldn't mind seeing Star Wars (which I hear is coming in the not too distant future).

"Casablanca" WAS colorized nearly 20 years ago but no one remembers that now! I'd love to see a 3-D version of "Titanic."

Forget the blue monkey people. And Jack's just fine resting in peace as an icicle at the bottom of the ocean. What I want to see is 3D Star Trek, Dark Knight, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars. In that order. Oh, and Sin City!

By all that's cinematically sacred, I hope you weren't implying Titanic is a Masterwork and that the unclear writing reference was simply due to a sound public school edukation.

"Casablanca" was colorized about 20 years ago, but it didn't go over very well. I would like to see a 3-D version of "Titanic."

This is a non-argument. For starters a 3D conversion of Titanic has been on the cards since Cameron showed test footage of it in 2006, so he's hardly flip-flopped.

Secondly, as he said way back then, for some event classics like Titanic, the original Star Wars trilogy, Lord Of The Rings (all of which were shown as 3D test footage back then) it is a viable option and allows for a re-release (much like the recent Toy Story re-releases) in theatres - many people like to see classics in theatres, and many people didn't see them first time around.

His beef is with modern era movies that could have been made in 3D but were not for any number of reasons, which are now being cheaply and crassly converted to cash in and boost box office. If you convert a classic movie cinemagoers know the movie they are getting going in, and they are getting a new way of seeing it. People will understand they weren't made in 3D and now what they are getting.

The point with films like Clash Of The Titans being converted is that audiences will not understand how a new 3D film coming out after authored-3D like Avatar and Alice In Wonderland will present a cheaper, crappier, 3D. It will just seem inferior and with Warner Bros rushing out everything in 3D it will cheapen and damage opinion of the format very quickly.

Although, that said, if it helps spell the end of this tiresome gimmick then so much the better in my opinion.

You're intentionally mis-quoting Cameron to make this kerfluffle with a catchy title. Cameron said he felt the process would produce inferior result and that if there were to be any re-issues in 3D, the filmmaker ought to be the one who propels the process.

 
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