A Fireside Chat: Ghost’s A-Z Part Four

Ghost-In-The-Shell-2.0-BoxG is for… GHOST IN THE SHELL 2.0. The natural question that springs to mind is, did we really need the 2.0? I’m referring to the fact that when released on Blu-ray a few years back, it was trumpeted as a remix version- remastered with added 3D-CGI, colour-balancing re-done, new cast recording in 6.1…  the list of enhancements (and I choose that word carefully, considering the subject of the film itself)  is long. Its another example of film-makers returning to their work, drawn in by the seductive allure of new technologies available to polish the original.

Its something all too common these days, probably due to it being easier to do as things go increasingly digital. George Lucas was one of the pioneers of this with his Special Editions of the original STAR WARS trilogy and THX:1138. Well, I won’t go on about any of that, except to say that Lucas evidently could see what was coming. I remember a time when films were finished and done, and never tinkered with afterwards. No-one would have ever dreamed of re-shooting the fx of the original KING KONG or FORBIDDEN PLANET, or converting 2D films into 3D. Technology has now made it too easy.

Regarding that 2D to 3D thing, James Cameron, perhaps the biggest exponent of 3D, has often decried sub-standard 3D films and championed films designed to be filmed and projected in 3D, and yet he converted his own 2D movie TITANIC into 3D. I don’t get it, surely TITANIC was never designed or shot with 3D in mind? And if it’s 2D photography, staging and set design works so well in 3D, what does that say of 3D movies having to be specifically designed and shot for 3D to be a success? Or maybe, gosh, its about the money. Yeah, well, that’s what I think 3D was all about. Art my ass.

Remastered/remixed/enhanced/3D conversions. Its a bit of a minefield out there. As if all the remakes and reboots were not bad enough, even the original films themselves are messed about with. My own old fave, BLADE RUNNER is not immune, although, considering how broken/unfinished the 1982 version was (really, the messed-up condition of PROMETHEUS is nothing compared to all the f–k ups and plot-holes in the original BR) then I guess the Final Cut was really a blessing. Maybe it can be argued that BR needed it. But not all films do. GITS was a perfectly fine Japanese anime, prescient and increasingly relevant. The new version means it looks shinier, but it isn’t necessarily a better film. And who’s to say this version is really definitive, and that there’s not a version 3.0 or 4.0 somewhere in the future? That’s the real crux of the argument; when does it end? Lucasfilm commenced converting the STAR WARS films to 3D ( a project quite possibly canned since), but who is to say that later versions of the films won’t have further changes to fx shots, dialogue etc?

THE-HOBBIT-AN-UNEXPECTED-JOURNEY-PosterH is for… THE HOBBIT. Well, while I’m on the subject of tinkering, since THE HOBBIT trilogy (Trilogy! Did PJ ever consider just shooting the book as it was, minus all that Appendices stuff?) is being shot in 3D, and there is an inevitable six-film box-set on the cards for Blu-ray or download in the future, is it likely the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy will be converted from 2D to 3D like TITANIC was, in order to match the HOBBIT movies? What’s that going to be for the hardcore fans, what with 2D/Theatrical/Extended/3D versions…  double/triple/quadruple-dip? And what’s the odds of a full, six-film 3D set coming after the original 2D LOTR is issued with the three HOBBIT films first, you know, just to milk it that extra bit? Crikey. Someone could plan their entire career path marketing these films over and over again over the course of the years and the changing formats.  I guess its true, films never die, they just keep on coming back in different editions on different formats.

Damn it. You knew where you stood with the original KING KONG and FORBIDDEN PLANET.


4 thoughts on “A Fireside Chat: Ghost’s A-Z Part Four

  1. I saw Cameron on telly recently, once again arguing that 3D was the future even as the BBC and ESPN drop their 3D projects and US gross % for 3D falls — he’s a bit blinkered, bless ‘im. Or possibly a visionary who can see this blips are temporary. I guess time will tell.

    Anyway, he was once again complaining about poor 3D conversions, which of course brought Titanic to mind for me too. He did at least try to justify it, saying that it’s poor 3D conversions that are the problem, done hurriedly and cheaply; whereas on Titanic they took their time and spent a fortune (I believe he said it cost $18 million!) But even with all that said, I think your point is the bigger issue: surely it was composed, etc, for 2D; so if that’s fine in 3D, what’s the point of 3D at all, other than “oooh!” Not a question Cameron has addressed, as far as I know…

    1. I think the 3D version of Titanic was a mistake. It just furthered the argument that 3D is just about the money, and that any 2D movie can be released in 3D which kind of negates the artistic integrity of the ‘films shot in 3D are something special’ argument. Still, I’m sure all the relevant parties made a packet from the 3D Titanic so its not all bad. Bless.

    2. Cameron sells 3D because he owns companies that make 3D hardware and software. It’s just business. Makes sense for him to hard-sell his products in the face of any evidence to the contrary.

      1. …and here’s me thinking the man was an artist!Well, not much of an artist admittedly (he can’t write a script or even dialogue for that matter), but hell, that’s a spin on this stupid 3D gravy-train. You’ll be telling me he started all this CGI madness too… oh, wait- The Abyss/T2…

        The man must be stopped! 🙂

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