If you paid good money to see Jaws 3-D, Friday the 13th Part 3 (in 3-D) and The Man Who Wasn't There (the Steve Guttenberg 1983 version in 3-D) during their original theatrical runs, as I did, then you might understand why I've been so reluctant to board the new 3-D bandwagon.Those were awful movies and terrible 3-D experiences: ghost images everywhere, red/blue mix-ups, and constantly shifting focus. The stupid little 3-D paper "viewers" never fit correctly over my own prescription eyeglasses. Instead of inducing a sense of wonder, those movies made my stomach queasy.
But everyone says the new technology is markedly better, and I'm even more optimistic after reading Christopher Campbell's recent column on the wonders of Journey to the Center of the Earth in digital 3-D. I plan to see for myself this weekend, and in anticipation, I started dreaming about other movies that might really benefit from 3-D done right. To keep the list from becoming endless, the seven below could all be considered future cousins of Journey, adventures involving travel through time, place and/or space. All are proposed sequels or remakes or adaptations of published works, and, alas, all must be considered dream projects, at least as far as 3-D is concerned.
Put on your 3-D glasses before jumping onward to my choices, and please share your dreams in the comments.
A film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's novel has been stuck in development hell for years but is reportedly moving forward to a January 2009 start date. Eugene Novikov feels the book is unfilmable, but we're talking dream projects here, so I'm dreaming that an entire cast of incredible child actors will be found and an amazing writer will polish Card's script and the whole thing will be in 3-D, which will make all those "training" scenes (for want of a better word, and to avoid possible spoilers for those who haven't read the thing) really pop on the big screen. This could be a fantastic, intelligent space adventure.
2. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Evidently this project is already in development for the future; it would be awesome in 3-D, I think. I did see a short film in 3-D IMAX years ago that was shot underwater, and even with that older technology it looked very inviting. It's the idea of creating a strange world with fascinating creatures that we've never seen before. And with 20,000 Leagues, you could swap between epic sea battles -- man vs. giant octopus! man vs. sperm whale! -- and interior drama.
3. Around the World in 80 Days
Again, another Jules Verne novel, and again, a work that has been filmed numerous times, but the worldwide settings, the race against the clock, the spirit of discovering different peoples and cultures, make this one a natural too. I was disappointed by the last version I saw; there was an uneasy balance between Steve Coogan as Phileas Fogg and Jackie Chan as Passepartout, since Chan is the bigger worldwide star, and the film wavered between adventure and comedy, but a firm decision to go the adventure route all the way, combined with spectacular digital 3-D footage of beautiful landscapes, could be a winning, immersive combination.
4. Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin
Ang Lee's breathtaking Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was adapted from the fourth book in a five-novel cycle known as the Crane-Iron Pentalogy by Wang Dulu. A prequel was under development, which would have been based on the second and third books in the cycle, but reportedly Ang Lee was not satisfied with the scripts. The rights have passed onward and may still be in dispute. But, just to give it a name, I've used the title of the second novel in the series. I'd love to see a talented director with a genuine feel for the material come up with the equivalent to CTHD's gliding, wire-fu fight sequences across the tops of bamboo trees, up and down walls, through rivers and valleys and waterfalls, all in glorious 3-D.
5. Resident Evil: World War IV
Remakes of My Bloody Valentine and Piranha in 3-D will be coming in 2009, as well as the sequel Final Destination 4, but I'm dreaming of a horror adventure on a grander, globe-trotting scale, something we've never seen before. Unlike my esteemed colleague Scott Weinberg, I was definitely not excited about the possibility of another Resident Evil, but the prospect of Milla Jovovich -- in 3-freakin'-D, looking lifelike and into my eyes and all that as she points a shiny gun at my face -- fighting soldiers turned zombies in hot zones around the world? That might get my juices flowing.
6. Iron Man 2 3-D
Not really a traditional "adventure," this was an easy choice because Iron Man is my favorite movie of the year so far and I just want to be enveloped completely in Tony Stark's world. Imagine if we'd been able to blast off with Iron Man and soar through the skies, dogfighting jets! The challenge of filming in 3-D would bring Jon Favreau on board no matter the script -- oops, that's probably a problem, you know, if the script isn't really up to snuff, but that will be minimized by Robert Downey Jr.'s magnetic performance. People will engage in heated debates about the title: Should you pause between the 2 and 3-D? Or is it more proper to say "Iron Man 23-D"?
7. Indiana Jones and the Moon of Endor
I have a feeling that another adventure lies in the near future for Dr. Jones. In my version, we move forward a few years to the early 60s. While the Apollo astronauts train publicly as a distraction, Indiana is secretly recruited by NASA for "the real space mission" -- a rocket built by Aborigines in Australia that will power the Spaceship Barbie in search of the secret forest moon of Endor, where legend has it that a tribe of little furry animals harbors the secret of "the force," a mysterious power that may be able to thaw the Cold War. Indy's old age is nullified by zero gravity, allowing for many picturesque adventures, splendidly captured in 3-D. When he sees an abandoned refrigerator in the middle of a forest, Indy says: "I've got a bad feeling about this." In the last scene of the movie, Indy floats off the moon arm in arm with Marion, tossing his hat, whip and leather jacket to Mutt, who makes a great catch of all three, prompting Indy to quip: "Great, kid. Don't get cocky."