The Future of Film? “It’s The Story, Stupid” Interview


I’ve not seen Avatar yet and since John and the boys saw it earlier this week without me (it was my bunco night) I’m not entirely sure I’ll see it theaters. I’ve heard that if I don’t see it on the big screen what’s the point. I’m guessing that’s because all of the brilliant CGI work would be much more impressive on a massive screen, especially in 3D. But if the movie is any good I should be able to appreciate the story no matter where I see it, in theaters or at home. At least two recent movies have let me down in this regard — Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and 2012. Lots of impressive action but the acting and storytelling were a little lacking.

A while back I read this Newsweek interview with Avatar/Titanic director James Cameron and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson about the future of film, and they had interesting things to say about why people see movies — particularly why people see movies in theaters — and the future of movies and technology like CGI and 3D. I recommend reading the entire interview but here are a few snippets I especially liked.

Cameron: “… [F]ilmmaking is not going to ever fundamentally change. It’s about storytelling. It’s about humans playing humans. It’s about close-ups of actors. It’s about those actors somehow saying the words and playing the moment in a way that gets in contact with the audience’s hearts. I don’t think that changes. I don’t think that’s changed in the last century.”

Cameron: “I think the heart of the cinematic experience is the group experience. It’s the psychology of sitting in the dark room with a bunch of people and reacting to something, and feeling like your reaction is the same as the rest of the group, a way of proofchecking your emotions are normal.”

Jackson: “I think we’re going to enter a phase where there’s less interest in the CGI and there’s a demand for story again. I think we’ve dropped the ball a little bit on stories for the sake of the amazing toys that we’ve played with.”

Cameron: “I can imagine three or four years from now an iPhone that’s 3-D-enabled that doesn’t require glasses that you can watch a movie on.”

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