Nowadays, announcing that a film is going to be released in 3D is commonplace. So you'd think that the breaking news that Avengers crossover films Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger being set for a 3D release would be rather pedestrian. However, the real story seems to be the passion that's emanating from the films' directors Kenneth Branagh (Thor) and Joe Johnston (Captain America) about the ability of 3D to enhance the experience of their films. In a recent interview with the LA Times, they not only unveil an all-new exclusive photo of the primary cast of Thor (see below,) but they reveal some info about said films and plan to make the case that this isn't going to be some quick last-minute gimmick like the badly-converted Clash of the Titans.
(Left to right: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki.)
In fact, the Shakespearean legend Branagh, along with select members of the Thor cast, will be on hand at Comic Con in San Diego to face his audience directly and make the hard sell about his now-3D project. According to Branagh, he initially approached the technology with skepticism as it was a laborious process of math and physics that was "way over his head" and made him cringe. However, he quickly saw the artistic potential. His approach changed and he saw what it could offer in enhancing not just to movie-going experience, but the narrative itself.
"A pretty careful conversation is what we've been having for quite some time about what we know has to be the most sensible decision: Is it led by story? Can this offer a different type of experience and exploit what we have in the story? It absolutely can ... we travel very long distances in the movie and the opportunity to export and exploit the journey of the hero is really offered up as a great potential enhancement here."
Both films, however, like the notorious Clash of the Titans will be converted into 3D format, rather than a situation like Avatar, which was actually shot in 3D. This is due to the logistics being far too demanding on these films. In fact, director Joe Johnston adds that he actually conducted a one-day test shoot of Captain America in 3D, and it was a "nightmare" plagued by bulky equipment and complex calibration issues. However, he seems to have confidence in the conversion process. According to Johnston:
"I think it tends to be overused and can be a little bit gimmicky," said Johnston, who began shooting last week in London but will travel to San Diego for Marvel's Comic-Con panel. "A lot of people are using 3-D now because they feel have they have to ... that will come and go and the pictures that deserve to be in 3-D will continue to be. When it's done bad, it can make you carsick."
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also expressed confidence in the process, saying that an "unprecedented amount of time" would be devoted to making sure this conversion process is done correctly. The films apparently have been slated for this 3D conversion from the get-go, which means that it was not a decision made in haste, and that the films themselves will reflect that decision in its cinematography. As Feige says:
"With "Thor," especially, Feige said, the citadels of Asgard and the rainbow bridge at its gates lend themselves to 3-D. "It's one of those maybe rare times where 3-D accentuates the story and the way the viewer is brought into this new world. That's what 'Avatar' and 'Alice in Wonderland' were all about -- going into new realms, new worlds ... I think with the "Harry Potter" films and ours you're about to see a slew of movies where 3-D was done by people who had the time."
This is encouraging news and shows that there is a level of passion behind these Avengers films that we haven't seen in a while for Marvel comic film franchises. The film-makers seem to be aware of the dangers of going 3D, but it's clear that it wasn't an arbitrary decision made in the wake of the influx of films marketing themselves as 3D (but not living up to that billing.) On paper, Thor and Captain America may not generate the kind of excitement that say, Spider-Man or X-Men would, so a solid 3D conversion may be a nice thing to help support these two films. It's undoubtedly the gimmick of the year, and while early post-Avatar bandwagon-jumpers would inevitably bungle the process, it still has potential to reinvigorate the movie-going experience in an unstable economy where a twenty dollar bill will barely buy you a popcorn/soda combo and overall attendance seems to be diminishing.
Thor is set to hit theaters on May 6, 2011 followed by Captain America: The First Avenger on July 22. Also, expect major announcements about the crossover epic The Avengers at Comic Con.
What are your thoughts on the 3D announcement of Thor and Captain America? Does it raise/lower your enthusiasm?
Source: LA Times