Peter Jackson’s currently trialing some hot-topic tech that may bring a whole new dimension to his remake of the historic Dambusters movie: 3-D filming. He’s shooting test footage in New Zealand to see how feasible it is right now.
There is something of a 3-D renaissance happening in the entertainment industry right now. We’ve heard it’s coming soon to our TVs and PC monitors, it’s had an outing in a number of CGI films like Pixar’s Up, the ever tech-savvy U2 even released a whole movie/show performance piece in 3-D last year, and James Cameron spent 14 years perfecting the 3-D technology for his new movie Avatar. Jackson’s reported to be interested because 3-D could enable the audience to experience the history of the Dambusters in a much more physical way–because, let’s face it, the idea of low-flying bombers launching water-skipping bombs at a wartime dam target is pretty damn physical.
I have to say I’m approaching this story with some trepidation: As a Brit and a scientist, the 1955 The Dam Busters movie chronicling real-life Operation Chastise represents something of a cultural gem. The original film used real RAF pilots, genuine wartime Lancaster bombers, some details had to be censored since the technology was still classified and the hero, Richard Todd (playing Wing Co. Guy Gibson) was himself in the parachute regiment and took place in the D-Day landings. It’s all so very genuine, and news that a remake is on its way, with modern CGI–albeit WETA magical CGI–had me worried. But I think, a little like Jackson perhaps, that 3-D aerial filming really could make the endeavor work out well. It implies that there’ll be a little more realistic airborne action than relying on pure CGI fakery. And the idea of a Lancaster bomber roaring along with its four Merlin engines just 60 feet above a lake, then dropping a bouncing bomb that skips right out of the screen at you in the cinema is a seriously scary one.
Indeed if Jackson, who noted “I think a World War II bombing raid in 3-D would be neat” gets all the drama spot-on, it could even be–suitably–seat-wetting.