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Roger Ebert Floats First Review Of 'Titanic 3D,' Says 3D Conversion "A Shabby Way To Treat A Masterpiece"

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by Kevin Jagernauth
February 17, 2012 9:37 AM
13 Comments
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Titanic

While the jury was out before James Cameron's "Avatar" opened on whether or not 3D would be a one-time novelty or a new trend, the absolutely massive success of that film meant the format was here to stay. And while we could argue about whether or not it has been used artfully or simply as way to get a few more dollars out of your wallet (in case you missed it, we discussed that in depth right here) the bottom line is that with more than 25 movies arriving his year in three dimensions, those funky glasses aren't going away anytime soon.

Re-releasing catalog titles in the new format has proven to be a new cash cow for studios, particularly Disney who had a surprise hit last year with "The Lion King." We're not even two months into 2012 and we've already seen "Beauty & The Beast" and "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" get re-upped into theaters, and this spring "Titanic" gets into the water. Cameron was a very early critic of post-conversion, but by all accounts he's been taking a painstaking approach to the whole thing to make sure he does it right. The filmmaker and Fox have already been showing off a portion of the film in advance to press (indeed, we were impressed by footage unveiled at Empire Big Screen last year) but Roger Ebert seen the whole thing and banged out the first review. And he thinks the movie was just fine the way it was.

Now, a bit of a note. Firstly, Ebert has long been a critic of the format citing the dimmer resolution and clunky conversion that makes viewing a headache, or the 3D limp and ineffective. Last year, he even boldly (if prematurely) declared the format dead. Thus, it's not exactly a shock to read the following:

"Titanic" was not shot for 3D, and just as you cannot gild a pig, you cannot make 2D into 3D. What you can do, and he tries to do it well, is find certain scenes that you can present as having planes of focus in foreground, middle and distance...No matter how long Cameron took to do it, no matter how much he spent, this is retrofitted 2D. Case closed.

....If you're alert to it, you'll notice that many shots and sequences in this version are not in 3D at all, but remain in 2D. If you take off your glasses, they'll pop off the screen with dramatically improved brightness. I know why the film is in 3D. It's to justify the extra charge. That's a shabby way to treat a masterpiece.

Oof. This is likely not the words Fox wanted to hear from the leading critic of land, but they've still got time to make some amends. As you might remember, last year Michael Bay shipped out specifically brightened prints for "Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon" to counter complaints of a dimmed image. And we will not be surprised if we hear an announcement in short order that they will be doing the same.

But Ebert gets right at the heart of the problem with redoing catalog titles by asking: Did you miss any dimensions the first time you saw "Titanic?" We all know the answer to that, and this will be the biggest hurdle of all that Cameron and Fox will need to jump to convince audiences to pay a hefty fee to spend over three hours watching a movie they've already seen, that is only partially converted to 3D that adds little to the overall experience.

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13 Comments

  • Jim Cameron is the man with a hollywood plan | March 19, 2012 3:15 AMReply

    3d is such a great tool when used right like hugo that movie i saw in 3d and 2d and i was much more imerssed with the 3D even though in 2D it was still great. 3d is not the same as 2.8D or 1.5D. i just think hollywood is abusing it so hardcore that people watch amazing 3d movies like avatar, how to train your dragon, etc.. then watch 2.8D or 1.5D(clash of the titans). that they feel cheated I UNDERSTAND IVE BEEN THERE!! it is not 3D's fault damnit its the studios james cameron is retrofitting this but me being a great admirer of him i know he wont mess up the conversion even though it is 2.8D. So dont hate him because of the ambition he has too changing the way we look at films for the first time in 50 years bcause of the studios protest against them. And like jim Cameron said 5 to 10percent of the worlds population cant see 3D there brains just dont work with the filters. And dimness is never an issue for me people who say that either wear glasses or have bad eye site once again not 3ds fault its your eyes and brain. so whatever James Cameron has in store for us im sure is great riger ebert is just an old man who cant see and calls all 3d dim which is a personal problem so dont blame 3d! damnit!

  • Alex | February 24, 2012 8:34 PMReply

    3-D Conversion is to 2012 what colorization of classic Hollywood films was to 1986. Except for a few DVDs here and there marketed to morons who don't know any better, that trend stopped and is only used for occasional archival TV and films shot in color which need their color restored. If someone wants to go make a "proper" 3-D conversion of Gorilla at Large and Creature from the Black Lagoon (two famous early 3-D films) they're welcome to it. Me, I have no interest in 3-D conversions or films shot in 3-D. They're dim, the effects distract from the story (or, as happened with me when watching Avatar, highlight the flaws), and leave me with a blinding headache.

  • Tryon | February 21, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    I'm more scandalized by the notion that Ebert considers Titanic a "masterpiece".

  • Glass | February 18, 2012 12:20 AMReply

    James is in film school. Good for James.

  • Toby | February 17, 2012 2:30 PMReply

    I am indifferent to Jim.

  • Tony R | February 17, 2012 2:15 PMReply

    Even if it had been the best 3d ever done in 100 years, blowing the minds of millions and millions of people, Ebert would have given this 3d conversion the exact same review. No one should be surprised, so why even write this article.

  • Alex | February 24, 2012 8:36 PM

    Because the more people who protest the more likely the whole 3-D stupidity will end. And it is stupidity. Anyone who compares it to the introduction of sound or color simply has no knowledge of the history of film and how film storytelling works.

  • Jacques DeMolay | February 17, 2012 1:10 PMReply

    LOL @ Ebert calling Titanic a "masterpeice". It wasn't attrocious or anything, but a masterpeice? Ha.

  • James | February 17, 2012 5:52 PM

    Fine. You were turned off by its sentimentality and embrace of melodramatic conventions.

    Doesn't change the fact that the screenplay is a model of narrative engineering and efficiency, that the direction is peerless and that it has an emotional impact that few big movies can manage.

    Yep, it's a masterpiece.

  • Jim | February 17, 2012 10:35 AMReply

    I like Fred and Tom.

  • Fred | February 17, 2012 10:25 AMReply

    I like Tom.

  • Tom | February 17, 2012 10:00 AMReply

    Fuck James Cameron.

    Fuck him.

  • fuck tom and fred | March 3, 2012 3:46 AM

    Its funny how you broke ass retards sit here and make fun of hollywoods most successful director the guy has made about 10 movies in his career and each one doubled the other and is one of the most creative and respected directer in hollywood HISTORY. This guy and his crew have pushed the boundary of everything that people told him that was impossible and went home ate like a king took a fat shit and rubbed it in all of your faces and he will countinu too do so as long as he lives. for those people out there who can't respect Mr james cameron for who he is its just cause your jelous or prejudice and if you don't like 3d its cause you've watched bad 3d on bad screens and projectors plainn and simple just watch hugo in 3d and you will speak mr camerons language about 3d those were his cameras and tech crew and if you don't like hugo id shoot you anyway cause that is a masterpeice in part of james camerons genious and his crew. Keep on keepin on jkeepin on and keep and earn another 257 million a year you deserve it. P.s titanic is a masterpiece deep shits

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