Tag Archives: Ridley Scott

The Top 3: 3D Films

The third dimension in film has been around a lot longer than you may imagine. Its first recorded use was at the Astor Theater in New York, on June 10, 1915.

Not quite the spectacle both audience and filmmakers were hoping for – an anaglyphic process (a 3D effect achieved by encoding each eye’s image using filters of different colours) was used, developed by Edwin S. Porter and W.E. Waddell.

3D audience

The result? Well according to Lynde Denig who wrote for Moving Picture World at the time – “Images shimmered like reflections on a lake and in its present form the method couldn’t be commercial because it detracts from the plot.”

Almost 100 years on, Denig’s review is still relevant and directly applicable to many recent releases. Modern filmmakers who choose to add 3D to their work often still struggle to utilise it to enhance the final picture. Instead the 3D effect usually detracts from the overall experience and in some cases, even highlights other technical and creative inadequacies.

If you know you’re films and had to name a 3D example from the last 30 years which stands out as the worst, most of you would probably name the renowned failure – Jaws 3D.

Although that monstrosity of a film had the power to convince every person on planet earth to never watch a 3D film again, it didn’t stop filmmakers from trying to harness our ever evolving technological capabilities in order to create convincing, entertaining 3D films. In fact, I think it may even have spurred a few of them on to prove that 3D can work in film.

jaws 3D

Obviously there was a lull after Jaws 3D’s release in 1983. I think we all needed a period of two-dimensional tranquillity before gathering enough strength to tackle the issue again.

But after the millennium, we did try again.

Of the most famed pioneers, it was James Cameron who started to take the reins and the initiative, in a bid to push us all forward into an era of 3D glory and acceptance. He forged new techniques and technological breakthroughs, allowing an increased number of less daring studio’s and their filmmakers to take an interest in how 3D could improve their productions with significantly less financial risk than before. Continue reading


Prometheus 2 Will Not Be Penned by Lindelof

Although some of the projects Damon Lindelof has worked on as a writer/creator have often been met with mass frustration (most notably Lost of course), there is no doubt the man has some real talent for producing original and refreshing stories full of suspense, intrigue and mystery.

I’m sure his work on the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness will be top draw, with the fprometheus 2ilm being enhanced substantially by his vision. But on hearing the news that he will have no involvement in the Prometheus sequel, I’ve got to say, I am somewhat relieved.

There is no doubt Prometheus was missing something. It was never going to match the critical success or cult status of Alien, but it was still an underwhelming contribution to both the much obsessed over mythology of the franchise and Ridley Scott’s portfolio.

This is not to say Lindelof was completely to blame for Prometheus’ failings (especially as his final version was a re-write of Jon Spaihts original screenplay), although when a film features actors such as Idris Elba, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender but you still leave the cinema feeling there was a serious lack of character development, some fingers do need to be waved towards the writing department.

Obviously a sci-fi epic aiming for box office glory does need its fair share of explosions, action set-pieces and of course, A-list stars, but this narrative suffered from an overcrowded ship full of characters whose screen time lasted only a few minutes in some cases.Prometheus 2

I think Idris Elba’s Janek had the opportunity to mumble a few sentences before meeting his demise. Compare this to any one of the crew in Alien and you realise how integral it is to allow characters the opportunity to grow and evoke empathy in order to build on a films mood, intensity, and ultimately, appeal.

So whether he’s too busy, as he revealed to Collider, or whether mutual decisions have been met for him not to return, the second Prometheus instalment should benefit from a fresh perspective and a reshuffle in the writing department.

If it is a direct continuation on from the first, Prometheus 2 only has two protagonists so far (well, one and a bit really). And if we are going to follow David and Elizabeth Shaw to the Engineers’ home planet, then surely there isn’t too much room for the discovery of more fellow earthlings on this deep space journePrometheus 2y?

Creating a story solely based around this duo and their further adventure could make for an interesting scenario, but let’s be honest; there will probably be a whole bunch of other household names squeezed into the mix by the time shooting begins.

No matter how the pre-production does unfold for the Prometheus sequel, let’s just hope that the new writer(s) decide to concentrate more on quality rather than quantity this time.


The Prometheus Sequel

A sequel to Prometheus. Now there is a phrase which will draw mixed emotions from many of us sc-fi aficionados.

The epically conceived semi-prequel to Alien did not quite live up to the expectations of over a 30 year wait, but none of us can criticise at least the audacity of Ridley Scott’s visionary attempt at re-re-imagining the genre.

Undoubtedly the bar was set high, not least by the visionary British Director himself. But like many films this year, including Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus was not only unable to live up to its predecessor, but the final cut also struggled to match the hype brought by excessive promotion and marketing.

It has not been a completely disastrous year though, as a handful of big budget films have made it though the tightly wound web of criticism and expectation. The Amazing Spider-Man is having a decent run at the box-office, The Hunger Games surprised many by being thoroughly enjoyable fare, and Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble will end up being one of the highlights of the year.

If we are talking impending Blockbusters, there are still a few more glimmers of light at the end of the cinematic tunnel too. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Superman: Man of Steel are both already showing promise. Also, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained looks set to be another quirky thrill-fest from the helmer of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. His latest starring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio may even arrive on time (well, at least the first half of the film should).

There is also the Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle Looper still to look forward to, as well as Colin Farrell trying to make us forget Arnie in a remake of Total Recall and Jeremy Renner most likely forgetting who he is in The Bourne Legacy.

But just in case most of these potential crowd pleasers and money spinners do not quite bring us to the edge of our seats, let us give the unwavering Hollywood marketing machine a great big leg-up and look forward to the inevitable sequel to Prometheus, rumoured for release in 2014 or 2015.

So what do we know? There was talk of a sequel even before Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Charlize Theron hit our screens a month ago. Encouraging news includes both Fassbender and Rapace reprising their roles as the Ripley wannabe and the untrustworthy android head respectively. Theron will not return, as, just in case you forgot, she got squashed by a giant alien ship. But then again, it is Hollywood, so don’t rule her out completely just yet.

Good news or not, you decide: Lost scriptwriter Damon Lindeloff who was entrusted by Scott to pen the first instalment may not return, apparently due to other commitments. Early rumours suggest Fox are already in talks with alternative writers.

Prometheus grossed a respectable $300 million worldwide. No doubt both studio and director will be eager to surpass this figure and satisfy both critics and fans alike with a more ground-breaking instalment next time around in the potentially epic saga.

Although a sequel to Prometheus may be a year or two away, you will not have to wait long for Ridley Scott to return. His next project, The Counselor, is already in production. A stellar cast includes Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, John Leguizamo, and of course, Michael Fassbender.

Originally featured on WhatCulture!