A scan of Jon M. Chu’s filmography provides some weird throughlines. For ten years Chu only directed dance movies, wrapping up an oeuvre that included two Step Up films with 2011’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Chu’s now traded that genre for one equally obscure: toy movies, moving on to Masters of the Universe whenever he’s finally able to wrap on GI: JOE Retaliation – a sequel not without its own controversies.
You might remember that a finished version of Retaliation was all set for a June 29, 2012 release before Paramount shitcanned it and pushed it almost a full year back to March 29, 2013. The studio line at the time was that Chu was in no danger of being removed and that reshoots and post-production were being extended to accommodate a 3D post-convert. Rumors at the time suggested otherwise however, as reports began popping up that the real reason for the delay was to get Channing Tatum* a bigger role in the film. Now, in his conversation with MTV Geek, Chu speaks on what’s happening with the conversion and suggests it really was about the 3D all along:
“I really want to push how we use the 3-D,” said Chu. “Especially since we pushed the movie date, I want to fulfill the promise to the fans that the 3-D will be great, and enhances the experience of the movie. So every step of the way, I’m in that room, watching… It’s hurting my eyes, but we’re getting it better, and pushing it further.”
Even though the movie is technically done, and with no natively shot 3-D footage, all the shots need to be post-converted, that doesn’t mean Chu has given up on making some tweaks. “I’m trying to convince them to give me a couple days to do a couple of enhancements,” said Chu. “But as of right now, we’ll see what they let me do. I really want to shoot some of the sections in 3-D to give it that edge… But we’ll see if time permits, and they’re down to do that.”
I believe Chu when he says he’s still very much involved, but I also believe there was more going on when Paramount made the last minute decision to pull the film. We’d already seen a couple of promising trailers, and most Targets are still unloading the first wave of Retaliation toys in their clearance aisles. But the production’s been relatively quiet since they first pulled up shop back in June. If this is anything less than the greatest goddamn post-conversion ever to grace the big screen, you have to believe Paramount knew they were about to release a supremely shitty film last summer.
*SPOILER, maybe (highlight): Tatum’s Duke reportedly gets unceremoniously killed early-on in the original June 29 cut. No word on if the updated film gives the franchise’s main character a reprieve.