Hollywood ain’t done with post-conversion!

Clash of the Titans is often cited as a break point with 3D- the film with which audiences ditched the perception that always the cutting-edge, premium experience. Even I’ve cited this very perception, as Clash of the Titans was certainly the target of a huge wave of negativity as a result of its pop-up-book 3D. The thing is, our perception of the mainstream reaction to a film is often tainted by the illusion created by social media and our own little insular environs- the illusion that the response we observe is an accurate cross-sampling of audience. The solid box domestic box office for Clash, along with its more-than-solid worldwide take indicated a very different reaction to the studios and decision makers. Their decision to yank the Harry Potter conversion definitely showed they were listening, but news that Wrath of the Titans will shoot in 2D and be converted to 3D means that the hesitation was only temporary.

There are some caveats to this story though… Mainly, that this is a true photographically-minded decision, as director Jonathan Liebesman explained to Collider and Cinematical, respectively.

“From the start, Clash 2 has been conceived as a 3D picture. The sets, the way I’m going to shoot the choreography of the shots, because what we’re gonna instead of say 4 shots we’re gonna do 1, I’m even gonna shoot it in a 1.8:5 aspect ratio. Sam Worthington put me in touch with Jim Cameron, we spoke a lot about aspect ratios and 3D. He said something that really stuck with me which was, 2D scope is 2.3:5. That feels scope in 2D, for 3D he felt like 1.8.5. And we have a lot of big creatures so I want that vertical space so I don’t have to cut so I’m also gonna shoot in 1.8:5. I did a bunch of test with different digital cameras…and the one thing that was very difficult for me was, I felt for a Greek epic I wanted to shoot on film to get that texture that I was looking for with that motion blur.”

This apparently wasn’t something he was interested in doing, but the studio is confident that time and advancement has allowed for post-conversions that aren’t giant piles of assholes.

“I didn’t want to convert, but Warner Brothers showed me how far conversion’s come. You’ve got Chris Nolan doing Inception, converting the DVD, you’ve got Harry Potter being converted, Star Wars being converted, so the conversion process has improved dramatically in the past two years.”

So there you go. The studio thinks they can do it well by integrating the process in from day one, and taking time and care. The original shitty conversion was done to a fully edited and 2D-minded film in less than 2 months. All that really means is that Warner Brothers and the director aren’t complete idiots, not that anyone is going to have their mind changed about any of this.

Here on CHUD we’ve had a little 3D throwdown recently, with both Damon and I putting out editorials detailing our positions on the entire format. Damon’s detailed his frustrations with 3D’s inherent destruction of audience immersion, and I took a much wordier look at 3D in general- it’s technological, cultural, and economic implications, along with a guess at what its future might be. The response to those and the general tack many writers all over the web have had with recent 3D stories has already frustrated the shit out of me, and frankly, I’m sick of the conversation. Lines have been thoroughly drawn in the sand, and journalists are starting to bust out the vocabulary they use for shit like Tyler Perry to discuss it. I’m not particularly interested in becoming a retarded propagandist in favor of 3D just to balance out the negativity, and there’s no way of maintaining a moderate or even guardedly optimistic tone without being drowned out in the wider of ocean of opinion, I feel.

So when I look at this news and see this director (who seems to have some vision) really wants to shoot on film (like Nolan and many of his beloved counterparts do), but wants to accommodate 3D in the most intelligent way possible, I doubt many will see the difference between that and the disastrous efforts of the first film. I also wonder if many will care about the possible benefit of this turning out well, as it will free filmmakers to stick with their preferred shooting formats and not have their imagery raped by a monster that’s recently escaped from Flatland.

What matter more than any of this though, is whether or not Wrath of the Titans will be a pile of shit in whatever set of dimensions you watch it. Neeson thinks it will be better, Worthington has all but thrown the first under the bus in stating how much of an improvement the next will be, and Liebesman is a new director with fresh ideas, but if it’s another overly-computerized-looking mess then it won’t matter what the format is. The movie is a foregone conclusion at this point, so fingers crossed for something worthwhile.

Care anything about another Titans film, on the story level or otherwise? Do you think there’s any chance a post-conversion done over the long-term will be any better, much less worthwhile? You know where to let us hear your thoughts…

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