2010 3D Movie Preview Page 2

PIRANHA 3-D

Release Date: August 27

A quasi-remake of the 1978 no-budget Roger Corman exploitation flick that gave director Joe Dante (Gremlins) his start, this tale of prehistoric killer fish on a rampage is now in the hands of French director Alexander Aja. Incidentally, 1981's Piranha Part Two: The Spawning just happened to be the launch pad for a young James Cameron.

Pushing the Envelope or Hopping the Bandwagon?
In a way, Piranha is simply upholding a long tradition of horror films turning to 3-D when all else has been tried (Jaws, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street). In fact, the carnival-barker mentality of the horror genre actually gave 3-D a boost well before Avatar - 2009's My Bloody Valentine and The Final Destination made 3-D kills exciting and fresh again. So this isn't so much a movie hopping a bandwagon as much as it is a genre reclaiming something it has never stopped using. Still, don't expect much more that fish leaping in your lap and severed limbs floating across the screen.

Success or Failure?
These movies are almost fail-proof. Between the hardcore gorehounds and the novelty-seekers, Piranha should survive to see even more exploitative sequels.

LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS

Release Date: September 24

A fantasy adventure about a legendary band of warrior owls, Legend of the Guardians is based on a book series and is directed by Watchmen's Zach Snyder. The film employs photorealistic CGI to create the story's protagonists-all of whom are talking owls.

Pushing the Envelope or Hoping the Bandwagon?
Early peeks at the world Snyder has created certainly suggests a push towards epic immersion over cheap gimmicks. The Guardians' world is set among clouds and mountain ranges, which are brought to life with impressive scale and depth. Will owls be the new Na'vi? Perhaps.

Succes or Failure?
From the looks of things, Legend of the Guardians may end up being a step above the usual fully-animated 3-D fair. Its aim is to create a believable world using the latest in technological advances, not just to chuck animated whoopie cushions at you.

JACKASS 3-D

Release Date: October 15

Johnny Knoxville and his merry band of idiots have realized that after crushing professional, legal, moral, and hygienic boundaries, the only one left was 3-D.

Pushing the Envelope or Hopping the Bandwagon?
Although Jackass 3-D is nothing if not a novelty no matter how many dimensions it boasts, you at least have to admire one thing about this third cinematic offering-at least they've finally found and answer to the question, "Why am I paying for this when I can just watch it at home?"

Success or Failure?
Jackass will no doubt continue its cult success, but the movie is only groundbreaking when you consider how few reality TV shows have experimented with 3-D. At least until The Hills movie.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT. 1

Release Date: November 19

The Harry Potter films have all flirted with 3-D-usually getting a limited IMAX run in select theaters-but none of the filmmakers seem to consider its pitfalls or possibilities during principle photography (sprawling vistas are perfect; choppy, shaky cam action is not). Seeing as most people will end up experiencing the first part of the Harry Potter finale in standard theaters, this seems a perfunctory addition to the 3-D line-up with nothing staked on the technology.

Pushing the Envelope or Hopping the Bandwagon?
The 3-D Deathly Hollows will be present and accounted for in order to satisfy the studio's bottom line and will, no doubt, be held up as an example for other movies, but a large majority of people will see the 2-D version and not feel as though they are missing out. The cost of converting standard movies to 3-D is dropping (it tacks on around $5 million to a film's production costs, and roughly another $5 million to the advertising budget in order to cover the cost of providing 3-D glasses). For big franchises like Potter-which are guaranteed to deliver big box office-going 3-D is a relatively negligible excursion.

Success or Failure?
No matter what, the Potter franchise has come too far to fail now. This one could be released in silent black and white and would still likely rake in over $200 million.

TRON: LEGACY

Release Date: December 17

It's almost poetic that the movie that ushered in the age of computer animation should rise again during the growth of 3-D from two-tone blurs to full-color high definition. This long awaited sequel returns original star Jeff Bridges to the computer world where he is tracked down by his abandoned son.

Pushing the Envelope or Hopping the Bandwagon?
Imagine a new Tron movie in 2-D-it would almost seem like a letdown, wouldn't it? No, Tron: Legacy will no doubt embrace the possibilities of 3-D like few other films. One thing that is certain, the makers of Tron are aiming to transport an audience, not amuse them with cheap gags. In fact, Director Joe Kosinski shot the film with the same stereoscopic camera (albeit, a newer version) invented by James Cameron for Avatar.  He is also employing the same mix of motion capture and live action that Cameron and Robert Zemeckis (A Christmas Carol, Beowulf) have been perfecting over the past few films, the highlight being an appearance by Jeff Bridges digitally "de-aged" about 30 years to play a younger version of his Tron hero, Kevin Flynn.

Success or Failure?
Arriving almost a year to the day after Avatar came out, Tron: Legacy may be the first one to take Cameron's baton and truly run with it.

2011 and Beyond...

Until the format either becomes so omnipresent that it's a given or once again falls out of favor, be prepared for every tentpole movie going forward to be advertised as "In 3D" the same way "in color" used to be a surefire sales booster. The proposed reboot of the Spider-Man franchise has already talked up the possibilities of web-slinging through a 3-D Manhattan. Steven Spielberg visited the set of Avatar and took notes (and cameras) for the CG-enhanced Tin Tin comic adaptation he is undertaking alongside The Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson. A live action/CGI hybrid Smurfs movie will attempt to immerse people in a lifelike Smurf village, and there has even been talk of George Lucas going back and digitally altering the original Star Wars trilogy for 3-D (but seeing as Lucas has yet to even embrace Blu-ray, such talk is likely just wishful thinking from the fan community). Although the gimmicks will largely outnumber the truly innovative, you can expect to find yourself wearing 3D glasses at the cinema for some time to come.

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