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ShoWest: Monsters footage!

03.11.2008

Just got started at ShoWest and today's kickoff event was a presentation by DreamWorks Animation. They were there to promote "Ultimate 3-D" and their upcoming release MONSTERS VS. ALIENS. DWA head honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg was there to present the material. Before MVSA, he showed a 3-D clip from KUNG-FU PANDA, which oddly enough won't be in 3-D in theaters. It was specially rendered as a test for the process and it was pretty damn impressive.

Next came a first look at the footage from MVSA. The movie follows a group of monsters who have been quarantined in "Area 52" by the US government who are called into action when aliens invade the planet. As Katzenberg quipped, the clip we were about to see oddly featured no monsters and no aliens. It was a scene in which the President (Stephen Colbert) approaches an alien probe that has crashed in the desert. It's a massive robotic creature with an "eye" that is scanning everything around it. The president tries to communicate with a synthesizer (a la CLOSE ENCOUNTERS) but only serves to wake up the machine, which transforms into a walking robot and the president launches a full scale attack (but not before escaping to safety). While the 3-D was impressive, I was disappointed by the footage. The design of the humans and Colbert's president were caricaturey and Mad magazine-esque, which didn't seem to fit the cartoony feel. The jokes fell flat with a bit with the president playing "Axel F" on the synth going on too long and never making me laugh in the first place. I wish they would've shown something with the monsters and/or aliens but I hope that footage will improve on what I saw today...

Katzenberg talked more about 3-D saying he believes it is the biggest innovation in motion pictures since the advent of color 70 years ago. He likens it to seeing a sporting event live as opposed to watching it at your home and points to the recent success of the 3-D Hannah Montana movie as proof that audiences will pay a premium ($15) for the experience. He also confirmed that ALL of their movies after MONSTERS VS. ALIENS will be developed using the same technology so it looks like this "Ultimate 3-D" is here to stay.

I got to speak with Michael Lewis of Real D, the company behind the digital 3-D experience. He said that in addition to DreamWorks, Pixar (who was at the presentation I might add) is onboard as well and will be going 3-D starting with TOY STORY 3 and that the previous TOY STORY films will be post-rendered into 3-D. He also expects that in five years we could see 40% of all theatrical movies presented in 3-D. I asked him about getting audiences over the stigma of 3-D (annoying glasses, headaches, nausea, etc.) and he hinted they have a big brand awareness campaign on the way and possibly some free screenings to let people know that this is new technology that is completely different from "your father's 3-D." I didn't get to see BEOWULF in 3-D but the footage from KUNG-FU PANDA and MONSTERS VS. ALIENS was pretty damn impressive. I'm curious to see how kids - the main demographic for these animated movies - respond to the new technology...

Source: JoBlo.com

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