Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #735: Kung Fu Panda 2 Kicks 3D In The Nads

Kung Fu Panda 2 had a $60+ domestic opening, and made about $57 million internationally.

Not a bad opening in my opinion.

But then again, I don't work in Hollywood or Wall Street. Both are having a little conniption fit about its "under-performance" in the face of the Hangover 2 juggernaut, and the stock prices of Dreamworks Animation, the company that made it, and RealD, the people behind the 3D process both took a bit of a shit-kicking in the stock market.

Well, it's not all the pudgy panda's fault.

3D movies have been heading for a crash pretty much from the moment they started. The problem is that the only people who don't see the brick wall heading their way are the people driving the damn industry.

Think about it for a second.

1. As if getting to a theater isn't a costly hassle already, you are expected to pay
more to wear special glasses that could have been last worn by a hobo with scabies, rabies, and the clap, to watch a movie that more than likely retroactively "processed" into 3D, leaving you with a muddy, dark picture, that might have some 3D bits to it in the big special effects scenes. Then there are the odds of headaches and nausea from the 3D images themselves.

It's just not worth it.

It's especially not worth it when the bulk of movies offered in 3D have stories that are forgotten before you even find your car in the theater parking lot.

2. Let's not forget that this has happened before. The 1950s saw the movie business hit a slump that affected it, more or less, until the 1970s. During this time they tried all sorts of "revolutionary" ideas to win back audiences from the rival television. Some, like widescreen and color stuck, but most, like 3D, became mere novelty acts in the great movie biz vaudeville show, short lived and usually just playing to the haircuts.

Of course modern 3D's biggest advocates are screaming "this time it's different!" with all the vehemence of the born again evangelist, or the addict to his parole officer after his 12th stretch in court-ordered rehab. They say that we now, or will soon, have the technology to do it right, and are spending tens of millions of dollars of investors money to prove it.

Well, it looks like the investors have seen the brick wall, and are looking to ditch before impact.

I can't blame them, because history is on their side.

If you don't know your history, and many in Hollywood don't, the only thing that stopped Hollywood's 1950s-1960s death spiral was the burst of then young Baby Boomer filmmakers who revolutionized the business by revolutionizing movie storytelling.

Do you see what I'm getting at?

The revolution that saved Hollywood was all about not
telling people what they should want to see, like gimmicky, overpriced spectacles, to giving them what they really wanted to see, which was interesting stories they considered worth their time and money.

But sadly, the Baby Boomer generation of filmmakers are either washed up, self-destructed, or transformed into the fat cats they once rebelled against. In their wake is an industry that believes that all they have to do is throw enough money at a problem to solve it, when the imagination is the key.

Don't believe me about that? Think about the simple fact that Hollywood and Wall Street are seeing a $60 million opening weekend as a "disappointment" and then think about what that is telling you.

3D history will repeat itself, and Hollywood is damned determined to make it even more expensive than it was before. The question is, will the revolution that resurrected the industry in the late 1960s and early 1970s repeat itself?


  1. This explains why when it comes to the industry. I am more impressed by that is on TV and indie films.

    I was more impressed with The Wrestler than Avatar. Without all the SFX and CGI. Things like cinematography, character and story really shine through.

    Heck I am working on a script in the line of 50's era sci-fi saucer films called Alien Armageddon. God returns to Earth, acts like an asshole hates out freedom, science advancments and modern ways, the USA declares war, loses bad until the PREZ learns that Aliens are real and the Saucers side with us to fight for FREEDOM.

  2. Best allegory for the Boomer Filmakers is Star Wars. When it began it was the risky seat of the pants sci-fi fantasy that touched a nerve with the public and became a institution. Now it is exists to feed the creators self-indilgance with needless CGI Special Editions and new films with useless unlikable character because Lucas thought it was cool.

  3. I assume they don't recycle or clean 3D glasses in Canada.


  4. The 3D surcharge is "only" $3 in Indiana and it's still more than the effect is worth. I'd just as soon pay less and see the 2D version (like "Kung Fu Panda 2," which looked great in 2D). The only movie that's made me glad I was watching it in 3D was "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."