Avatar: The third dimension of hype?
by Michael Moran
Until James Cameron’s keenly anticipated science fiction epic Avatar appears in cinemas this December, it’s impossible to say whether the remarkable 3D process developed to create it is an essential adjunct to plot or a diverting novelty.
Certainly we have seen 3D film before. The first theatrical performance of a three dimensional film dates back to 1915. The idea didn’t really catch on though and only a handful of 3D features were made in the decades that followed. It wasn’t until television threatened to erode cinema attendances in the first half of the 1950s that Hollywood, casting around for some novelty that TV couldn’t imitate, remembered the crude ‘red and green’ stereoscopic process. The result was a brief ‘golden age’ of 3D. It’s a period that’s best remembered now for guilty pleasure sci fi and horror shockers such as Creature From The Black Lagoon and House Of Wax but there were also comedies, westerns and even musicals shot in the two-camera format.
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