James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi film Avatar was hailed as a technological marvel, urging many critics to claim that the old conventions of filmmaking had now been rendered obsolete and that the future of cinema was 3D. While that hasn’t really been the case, Avatar is still cited by many as the perfect example of the cinematic spectacle’s digital potential.
“Avatar takes place in another world and you’ll feel like you’ve been to that world. When you see a scene in 3D, that sense of reality is supercharged,” Cameron explained. “But I made it my mission to keep the 3D out of the actors’ consciousnesses completely. Most of them forgot we were shooting 3D. Then every once in a while one of them would watch some dailies and come back wide-eyed.”
At a convention, American auteur Quentin Tarantino was asked about the technologically challenging aspects of Avatar. While he joked about the use of 3D (which he was absolutely right about), Tarantino admitted the cinematic experience of Avatar was something that he head often envisioned as a filmmaker.
Tarantino said: “I’ll tell you what would have been a game-changer, as far as I was concerned, if I had seen Avatar before I had done Kill Bill. Not that I would [use] blue screens or anything; I’d have done it the way I wanted to do it but one of the things I was thinking when I was watching Avatar was [related to] Kill Bill.”
Adding, “I had these grandiose visions in my head of the experience of watching the movie and I actually wanted it to be more like a ride than a normal ‘watching a movie at the cineplex, you go home and then you have pie.’ [I wanted it to be like] you’d be in this world and it’d be a ride and I don’t think I did that.”
Although Kill Bill has some of Tarantino’s most memorable shots, it did not live up to the terribly high standards of its own creator. While comparing the two films, Tarantino confessed that he had been unable to translate his vivid dreams to the cinematic medium like Cameron had with the help of digital editing. One can only imagine what a truly immersive cinematic ride by Quentin Tarantino would look like.
“I didn’t do it exactly [like] the most grandiose visions of what I could have done,” Tarantino declared. “I don’t think it was the ride. It was good, probably the thing that I have done that I am the most proudest of but it wasn’t the ride of my most [grandiose] vision. When I saw Avatar, [I went]: ‘That’s the ride!’ That’s the ride I was trying to do, that was the ride in my head when I spent a year and a half writing the script.”