Audiences were shocked this past week during their 3D screening of The Wolverine. It was not James Mangold’s Wolverine that gave spectators such a thrill however, but the preview for Thor Freudenthal’s new epic feature, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
Already equipped with their film-enhancing blue and red spectacles, Freudenthal showed spectators his ingenuity and innovation, preparing audiences young and old for an upcoming cinematic revelation. When asked about the preview for Percy Jackson, one audience member said, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Another, a PhD student in film studies who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of being discovered in attendance at a summer blockbuster, made the claim that Freudenthal has likely set the bar for what can be accomplished with 3D cameras. “This is what 3D was meant for,” he claims.
The shot in the trailer that stood out most for this doctoral candidate was what would have been a lackluster CGI sequence in 2D, that is, the episode of an “incredibly fake-looking” fight between the protagonist and some kind of robotic monster. Freudenthal, no doubt fed up with previous 3D cinema and a bland moment in the film under his direction, in a rare moment of Hollywood cinema turned on his creativity to help liven up the scene and more importantly shift our expectations for the cinematic apparatus. Here we have his innovation, on par with the Lumière Brothers’ unveiling of the cinématographe. We see a close-up slow motion shot of a dagger thrown by Percy Jackson at the robotic beast. The dagger is hurled almost directly at the camera and spectators were quite shocked – some ran for the exits – as this weapon of death appeared to burst out of the screen to nearly pierce them. To this critic’s knowledge there has not been a 3D film which has utilized CGI weaponry to assault viewers in this way, a directing of photography that forces audiences to throw up their arms and shield themselves from an oncoming sword, arrow, cannon, bullet, or chainsaw, an arsenal leaping from the cinematic world and coming as close to possible to touching us. I would place bets that every minute of the feature will break with the now contrived cinematography of 3D cinema.
Expect greatness from Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.