I made this post on one of the many listservs I participate in. I thought it would be good to share on our blog as well.
One of the things I found so amazing about Avatar was the facial imagery of the cat people and the live actors. With 3D it was like you were right next to them. Sure the action scenes were intense, but it was the immersive effect of the lush planet and the creatures that made it such a powerful experience.
So I say - it's more then a gimmick. it's a tool that allows for better story telling as well. I'd love to see Lucas remake Star Wars or Indiana Jones in 3D. Can you imagine what the Godfather would look and feel like if you could sit in the room with the Don or watch Michael wheel him around the hospital or see Sonny get ambushed.
Cameron had to start with something huge in order to prove the concept. 3D isn't just a gimmick in Avatar, it is an integral part of the story and the story telling, and for most of the movie you don't even realize it's there. But it is, and it makes the movie better.
Now it's up to a new generation of filmmakers to take it to the next level. I think you are going to see smaller character driven scripts that are even more powerful in 3D. But you are also going to have to sit through a whole bunch of crappy 3D movies that simply exploit the technology along the way. But Avid, Adobe and Apple are already making these tools available to everyone. 3D editing is built into Media Composer TODAY!
Not sure about the impact this is going to have on actors. If you can create a realistic synthetic body and face in 3D, do we need to limit acting to just the beautiful people? Does it make the job harder or easier? Can actors stay forever young as FX masters allow them to do new roles while still looking exactly as they were? Think about James Bond always looking like the young Sean Connery, even when the new movie is made 25 or 50 years later!!
Back at NAB I was surprised by all the hype 3D was getting and all the 3D technology on display. After seeing Avatar I get it. And just wait. When they figure out how to deliver it to your home, then the gaming guys start producing 3D games. And before you know it, you can't tell when the movie stops and the game begins, and you are immersed in a 3D world with Non-linear plots and stories. We no longer just watch TV, we become a part of the show.