Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2012 by Angie Han
It’s a given that movie science needs to be taken with a big fat grain of salt, but even by those standards, some films seem to push the limits of implausibility more than others. And I’m not just talking about obvious nonsense like superpower-bestowing radioactive spider bites here.
So some science-minded folks are fighting back, playfully, by investigating and possibly debunking some of the crazier claims made by Hollywood. On NPR, pop culture’s favorite astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses the viability (or lack thereof) of 007’s coolest gadgets, while over on Mythbusters, the hosts cast doubt on James Cameron‘s insistence that Jack had to die at the end of Titanic.
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Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2012 by Angie Han
Jack’s decision to let Rose take the plank at the end of Titanic was unquestionably a noble and romantic one. Unlike so many self-sacrificial heroes, however, he doesn’t go out in a blaze of glory. Instead, he huddles in the icy water and slowly freezes to death. His lady love, meanwhile, gets to sprawl out on her perch and gaze at the stars as she waits for help.
This spring’s 3D rerelease of Titanic inspired a fresh wave of grumbling from viewers convinced that Rose might’ve saved Jack, had she only been smart or generous enough to scoot over a few inches and allow Jack to board the life raft with her. Two fans even mapped out a to-scale outline of the plank and posed within it, definitively proving there was more than enough room for both to fit. But writer/director James Cameron says space was never the issue — their combined weight was. And he’s working with MythBusters to prove it.
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Even when James Cameron doesn’t have a new film in theaters, he’s not far from the headlines. This year saw the 3D re-release of his record-breaking 1997 success Titanic, which pushed the movie’s total gross over two billion dollars. Between that and Avatar, just two of Cameron’s movies have made him more of an economic power than many small countries.
With Titanic hitting DVD this week, Cameron is out stumping for the movie once again, and he’s being asked about his view of the film that challenged his earnings records earlier this summer: The Avengers. Read More »
Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Rob Legato has been involved in many Hollywood classics and blockbusters over the last two decades, including: Apollo 13, Titanic, Armageddon, Cast Away, Harry Potter, Bad Boys 2, The Aviator, The Departed, Avatar, and Hugo. Over the summer, Legato gave a TED talk entitled “The Art of Creating Awe” about how visual effects are used to recreate reality or sometimes even “trump the real thing”.
In the TED Talk, Legato shows us behind the scenes footage of how the movie magic was created, how he tries to recreate the idealized memory of a moment and not necessarily the reality of a moment We learn about the reaction from a NASA consultant who worked on Apollo 13 and legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin. We see how he seamlessly blended real footage of the Titanic with shots of miniature models, and how our brain is tricked into believing that its all real. And lastly, Legato shows how set size limitations on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo resulted in some creative choices: Moving the floor to create the illusion that the train was moving and combining a five different sets and a multitude of shots into the long “steadicam” shot from the beginning of the film.
In the wake of excitement over NASA’s mars rover Curiosity I recently revisited Apollo 13, and was amazed at how well the visual effects held up for a movie released 17 years ago. And after watching Legato’s TED Talk, I’m pretty sure most people watching the film today probably don’t even notice the visual effects. Watch Legato’s TED Talk embedded after the jump.
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Imagine what would happen if the 3D rerelease of Titanic was so profitable that James Cameron employed George Lucas, Michael Bay and JJ Abrams to create a Super 3D version of the film to give audiences an updated 4D experience. This is the premise of a funny youtube video which has been going viral this week. Watch it now embedded after the jump.
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Posted on Monday, April 2nd, 2012 by Angie Han
Aside from the addition of 3D, this week’s rerelease of James Cameron‘s Titanic promises to be just as you remembered — unless, perhaps, you’re a bit of an astronomy geek. After prodding from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director has made one small edit to his 1997 film concerning the star formation during the sinking of the ship. While most filmmakers probably wouldn’t concern themselves with such a seemingly minor detail, Cameron’s famed perfectionism compelled him to make the change. Read more after the jump.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 by Angie Han
Briefly: As McG’s This Means War quietly slinks back from its Valentine’s Day debut to its original Friday opening, another, far more acclaimed romance is boldly shifting up a few days to a midweek opening. Paramount has moved the 3D release of James Cameron‘s Titanic up from Friday, April 6 to Wednesday, April 4, giving it a headstart on the Easter weekend box office.
Also opening that week are American Reunion and The Cold Light of Day, both slated for Friday. The Titanic re-release comes just over a week before the 100th anniversary of the actual sinking of the RMS Titanic, which occurred on the night of April 14-15, 1912. Titanic sees Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio playing… oh, you know the rest.
The historical drama isn’t the only picture Paramount has moved around lately. Back in 2008, Eddie Murphy reunited with his Norbit and Meet Dave director Brian Robbins for A Thousand Words, a comedy about a man who falls under a curse that allows him just one thousand words to speak before he dies. The film was savaged in test screenings (shocking) and sat on the shelf for years before finally getting a release date of January 2012, and then March 23, and then April 20. So what’s one more change? A Thousand Words is now set for March 9, where it will face off against Andrew Stanton’s John Carter and the Elizabeth Olsen-starring horror Silent House.
Here’s another one of those things that would probably be a lot more meaningful in 3D. It is a featurette in which James Cameron first explains (with as much humility as he can muster) the cultural impact of Titanic, then describes some of the process of converting the film into 3D for re-release in 2012. I’d like a lot more of the technical talk and less about how wonderful the movie is, but this will probably have to do until the special edition 3D Blu-ray arrives loaded with bells and whistles.
Watch the featurette below. Read More »
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James Cameron‘s Titanic remains the second biggest domestic box office hit of all time. It earned that status at a time when tickets were much cheaper and 3D wasn’t prominent. That means its $600.8 domestic gross in 1997/1998 is way more impressive than Avatar‘s $760.5 million gross in 2009/2010. As you probably know, though, Cameron has figured out a way to add those 3D dollars to his Best Picture winner by painstakingly reworking the film to pop in the third dimension. On April 6, he’ll finally release it in theaters nationwide.
The trailer for Titanic 3D has now been released but, since we don’t have 3D computer screens (yet!) it’s kind of like just watching a trailer for a movie you’ve already seen. Still, for Titanic fans, a new trailer is a significant step to once again seeing Jack and Rose fall in love amiss one of the greatest disasters in history. Check out the new trailer after the jump. Read More »
This morning, I traveled to the Paramount Pictures lot to view footage from James Cameron‘s 3D conversion of Titanic. Regular readers probably know that while I’m a 3D advocate, I absolutely hate post converted 3D. Disney has recently proven to me (and many others) that a well done post conversion can look great in the medium of animation. We’ve seen the post conversion process improve over the past two years, but the best post conversion live-action footage still looks like fake cardboard cutouts to my eyes. Even Cameron admitted in his introduction before the screening that post converted 3D is really only “2.99D — It’s not really 3D.”
We screened 18 minutes of footage, which was comprised of clips from throughout the whole movie. We saw slow dramatic scenes, and tense action sequences — a good mix. I cam out of the theater as a believer. This is the best post converted 3D footage I’ve ever seen. Even though the film is 15 years old, the 4K restoration looks incredible, almost like a new movie.
And the 3D looks almost as good as natively shot 3D — actually, if I had never seen the movie before, you would have been able to convince me of such with some of these clips. It may help that Cameron’s cinematography is usually slow and steady and wonderfully composed for depth. It also helps that Cameron spent one year and something close to $20 million to convert the film to 3D. While this is time and money that new releases will never have to post convert, it sets a bar for the 3D re-releases we’re likely to see in the future.
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