Michael Bay and James Cameron’s Battle Over 3-D

May 20, 2011

Michael Bay - James CameronDirector Michael Bay’s thoughts on 3-D were radically changed by fellow filmmaker James Cameron. So much so that Bay’s latest movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon, due for release this summer, was filmed in 3-D.

At the Paramount Lot presentation, Cameron and Bay engaged in passionate and extensive verbal exchanges about the current state of 3-D and it’s application in Bay’s latest Transformers instalment. It seems as though Bay has been converted. In 2009, when Bay was accepting his ShoWest Vanguard award, he openly bashed the 3-D format, claiming he would never ever use it.

It was during a visit to Cameron’s Avatar (2009) film set that radically changed Bay’s mind about 3-D and it’s use in film. He couldn’t fathom Cameron’s boyish enthusiasm towards it for his Avatar movie. But during the course of that day Cameron took it upon himself to change Bay’s mind and relentlessly encouraged him to film Dark of the Moon in 3-D. Cameron is a great fan of Bay’s sweeping camera movements and fast paced style, and always longed to see it in 3-D. Bay now openly confesses to being a convert. 

It’s apparent in Dark of the Moon, the extent to which Bay was influenced by Cameron in the application of the visual form. In Dark of the Moon, as in Avatar, the 3-D is applied with subtlety rather than overtly. It places the audience in the heart of the action. For example, when Shia LaBeouf is thrusted out of a transforming Bumblebee and forced back into the drivers seat, or in the middle of a collapsing skyscraper under attack by a decepticon.

The risk is of course enormous. The cost of good 3-D is estimated at $30 million per movie. When asked about 3-D’s potential to thrill an audience, Bay replied, “That’s the gamble. The problem is that so many studios have done it badly that the audience is getting turned off by 3-D,” he added, “Maybe after they see Dark of the Moon, they will realize how hard we worked to make really good 3-D from day one, that it wasn’t an afterthought — and that’s the problem word, many treat 3-D as an afterthought.”

With more and more movies filmed in 3-D this summer, such as Drive Angry 3-D, The Green Hornet and Cameron’s own production of Sanctum, we could see a boom at the Box Office this summer.

Contact the Author: MikeStringer@ArtsandEntertainmentPlayground.com

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