The trend of 3D movies has come and gone several times throughout the history of cinema, but the format exploded over a decade ago, largely thanks to James Cameron’s Avatar. The film offered 3D sci-fi visuals unlike anything seen at the time, which helped propel it to become the highest-grossing film of all time. Although there are still plenty of 3D movies being released every year, enthusiasm among moviegoers is not what it once was. Some might call the 3D trend over, but James Cameron is not one of them.
Avatar: The Way of Water will hit theaters at the end of the year, and like its predecessor, it will be in 3D. James Cameron recently spoke in a roundtable interview (via /Film) to celebrate the remastered release of the original Avatarwhere he explained that the trend of 3D movies is not over, it has just been accepted.
3D seems to most people to be ‘over’. But it’s really not over. It has just been accepted. It’s just now part of your choices when you go to the theater to see a big blockbuster movie… I like coloring. When color film first came out, it was a big deal. People would go to see movies because they were in color. I think around the time of ‘Avatar’ people used to go to see movies because they were in 3D … I think that had an impact on how movies were presented, which is now just kind of accepted and part of the zeitgeist and how it is done.
James Cameron continued, “I would say that 3D was generally embraced for a period of time. ‘Avatar’ won the best film with a 3D digital camera. No digital camera had ever won the Best Picture Oscar before.” The director went on to note that the same cameras were used on films that also won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Hugo and Gravity. As /Film noted, and I agree, the big difference is that these films used 3D to enhance the story and experience. It felt that subsequent films only went the 3D route (with lots of bad conversions) to boost the box office.
The first 3D recordings from Avatar: The Way of Water was recently shown on D23 Expo, and the results were quite impressive. Will James Cameron be able to bring 3D back to prominence with his Avatar successor? I guess we’ll find out when it finally hits theaters December 16.