Titanic sinks once again in April this year. It’s the same ship, same dialogue, same DiCaprio and Winslet (only crazy-young), same director who gets a bit cross from time to time and the same big block of ice. Only difference is this time it’ll be sinking in glorious 3D. Including the bit towards the end where the anonymous passenger bounces off the propeller – that shot even makes the trailer.
Of course, 3D has caused a bit of controversy over the past couple of years because most of what’s come out since Avatar has been a bit below-par. Money-grabbing, shall we say? Martin Scorsese, the genuine and ever-reliable master of cinematic quality control, gave the extra dimension some credibility last year with Hugo by using the technology to emphasise a good story. Unfortunately a lot of his industry colleagues are more interested in the business than the show.
I would like to think the Studio Boss will soon see the error of his ways and re-evaluate how he approaches 3D. Perhaps a surge of guilt will wake him in the middle of the night. He’s been instilled with fresh enthusiasm and a sense that he desperately wants to pursue the Right Thing. Maybe he watched Jerry Maguire the previous evening.
He rubs his bleary eyes, switches on his laptop and starts to write:
“FAO: all my minions and people who I honour with eye contact as I pass you in the studio corridors. We followed James Cameron’s lead after Avatar and made things stick out of the screen too. Well, making money is a lot of fun. I don’t have a huge vat of dollar bills that I can swim in each morning – issues of practicality and security reared their ugly heads in the planning stages – but I do enjoy charging Joe Cinema Goer more money to go to the cinema.
“But guys, I’ve had a crisis of faith. It might be because I watched Jerry Maguire last night. But whatever the reason, I think we should start respecting our audiences more and use 3D to emphasise the story rather than replace it.
“My plan is to recruit a team of Right-Ers to work at the studio. These are people who make up the story and then plan what the stars will say ahead of the actual filming. As I understand it, the Right-Ers will make the characters in the film sound more like real people, as well as giving the story a beginning, a middle and an end, most likely in that order.
“Don’t get me wrong. We’ll still use 3D. We just need to put a bit more effort into making sure our audiences don’t come out of the cinema cursing our names.”
The Studio Boss presses ‘Send’ and heads down the corridor to a door marked ‘Right-Ers Room’. He enters and sighs. The room is a mess. Dented filing cabinets lie upturned, files are strewn across the floor and three monkeys hammer wildly at electric typewriters. Their simian arms flail from key to key as they pause every now and then to hurl bananas at each other whenever they get a bad case of writers’ block.
One of the monkeys, larger than the others, lumbers over to the Studio Boss when called for and takes a seat opposite him as his simian colleagues howl their disapproval. The Boss explains the monkeys face redundancy; audiences demand a more human touch for the scripts of future releases.
The monkey gazes up at his human mentor and says: “It’s important you recognise my team labours for many hours to produce material that is potentially Oscar-worthy. Our influences lie in the classic literature of bygone eras; Shakespeare, Austen and Dostoevsky to name just three. We may look like flailing monkey writers, but we write with passion and with heart.
“The weak links in the creative process are in the rewrites, and of course 3D dilutes the strength of good storytelling when used as a band-aid to plaster over narrative shortcomings. That is all I have to say.”
The Studio Boss nods silently and replies: “Would you like a banana?”
He’s met with a simian sigh as the monkey lumbers off to break the bad news to his colleagues; they may have to take that gig on Die Hard 5 after all.