The era of 3D films feels almost feels like a strange fever dream, where almost every major blockbuster (or intended blockbuster) was either filmed with 3D cameras — or converted to 3D as a gimmick. Though, in hindsight, 3D conversion doesn't necessarily detract from a film that's so clearly trying to use a 3D gag with a home rewatch… so I suppose that even those titles may have a silver lining!
Anyways, a film that is often credited for being influential in that period of time is the 2009 box office hit Avatar (earning nearly $3 billion theatrically), which became a beloved movie for a variety of director James Cameron's creative choices. Since then, 3D films have let off the gas (more like came to a complete stop) after using the ploy to increase the price of ticket sales and box office turnout for 'event' style cinema.
As Avatar: The Way of Water nears its relaunch into the world of Avatar, the film's producer Jon Landau offered his take on the history of the trend that followed Avatar's '09 release. Landau explains to The Hollywood Reporter, "I think what happened is some people got lost, and there's a period of time where people felt that converting something to 3D made it a better movie; 3D does not change the movie; 3D exacerbates whatever the movie is."
The longtime producer then adds, "I think that people were doing it as an afterthought to a process, as opposed to [using] 3D as a creative element — no different than lighting, no different than focus, no different than camera movement — that a filmmaker needs to bring a sensibility of how to use that to enhance the narrative storytelling."
Avatar: The Way of Water might just provide the next wave of 3D technology, but if that means we're going to be seeing everything formatted in a modern 3D format… thanks a lot.