Opinion: "Avatar" Will Kill the Film Industry

2/18/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Spencer Morton

“Avatar” exploded onto the scene with its revolutionary visuals and 3D effects nearly two months ago. Moviegoers are just now starting to wipe off the caked on blue gunk from their eyes. James Cameron, director of the two highest-grossing movies ever, is one of the biggest proponents of 3D technology. He’s said every movie he makes from here on out will be in 3D.

Some of the most anticipated films of 2010 (“Toy Story 3,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Clash of the Titans,” “Tron: Legacy”) will have 3D capabilities. So, what lasting impact will “Avatar” and other major 3D reliant movies have on the industry? Is 3D a gimmick, or is it here to stay? What about traditional moviemaking--will that have a place in the modern film world?

One of the few qualms people had with “Avatar” was its lack of an original story and poor character development. These complaints haven’t stopped it from bludgeoning its way to the top of the record books. “Avatar” also has had a stranglehold on the awards season thus far. It has an extremely high chance of taking home the Academy Award for Best Picture, an award typically given to films that prefer substance over style.

What worries many people is that cinema will become too reliant on 3D. Prospective filmmakers might look at the success of films such as “Avatar” and they’ll think to themselves, “Well, 3D and stunning visuals are all we really need to be profitable.” Of course, nobody quite has the financial backing that Cameron has, but that mindset could be debilitating if only the technology driving the visuals is being considered.  Or at least considered as the most important element.

This debate probably does not hold much weight outside of the action/adventure, sci-fi, horror, or animated movie genres. It’s hard to imagine a point when emotional dramas or romantic comedies will get on the 3D bandwagon. Picture a movie like “The Pianist” in 3D. The only thing cool about that would be the sensation of nearly getting hit in the face by Adrien Brody’s mammoth nose.

Action/adventure movies typically have always been about style over substance, but the great ones (“The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,” “The Great Escape,” “Gladiator,” “Braveheart”) have thrived on superb character development and intriguing storylines. There are a lot of subpar, unnecessary, unoriginal action movies that are pumped out of Hollywood each year. It’s a worrisome thought that in the future, directors and movie studios will use 3D technology to mask their otherwise under-developed films.

The whole situation is akin to when major companies go through rebranding. They’re still delivering the same old product; it’s just presenting it in a different way. People get excited about it for awhile, sales increase, and all is well. But, over time, the company must rebrand again because people grow tired of the same old thing.

Is Hollywood rebranding their films, action/adventure in particular? Is 3D a guise used to cover deficiencies in modern films? How long will moviegoers accept amazing 3D visuals in lieu of poor storytelling or quality characters? “Avatar,” what have you done?

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes


  1. Anonymous said...

    Jaws vs Jaws 3D. 'Nuff said.

  2. Such A Voice said...

    I think the entertainment industry is experimenting with their technical capabilities, which has been exploding in the past decade. I don't think there's any substitute for the human actor for most genres, like you said.

    When we start seeing 3D reality shows, then we know we're in trouble...

  3. Such A Voice said...

    And on another note -- 3D films provide a lot of great work for voice-over artists!