(Video) James Cameron, Annoyed: Hollywood Doesn’t Get Avatar’s Success

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James Cameron – the guy who is so committed to his art that he almost died making The Abyss - seems more than a little miffed at Hollywood. Or maybe just annoyed. Or baffled? (Check out our full Cameron interview from December)

Our colleagues at TIME sat down with the director to talk about Avatar, on the eve of the Oscars. They brought with them questions from readers, that brought out some interesting revelations from the filmmaker – about the political message of the story, his obsession with designing everything from the landscape to the machines to the character’s faces, and his eagerness to create another Avatar-like film in short order. He wants to get the team back together ASAP. Does that mean sequels? “Hell yeah,” he told us late last year. (More at Techland: See our complete Avatar coverage)

Beyond that, though, his most compelling answer concerned Hollywood’s rush to capitalize on Avatar’s 3D phenomenon. “We’ve already seen Hollywood is now 3D crazy and they’ve started to convert movies to 3D, which is a classic example of Hollywood getting it wrong,” Cameron marvels in disbelief (around the 4-minute mark below). “We show them that a movie that took four-and-a-half years to make and was authored in native 3D can make a lot of money…from which they conclude that if they just smash-bash a movie into 3D in an 8-week period they can accomplish the same thing.” Pretty scathing.

Of course, he’s totally right. I’ve written a great deal about the unprecedented qualities of Avatar as an immersive experience. And how 3D can be used to achieve not just things jumping out from the screen, but a sense of depth and heft that we’ve never seen before.

This is how Avatar used 3D as an artistic aesthetic, not just a gimmick. So no wonder Cameron is annoyed by studios rushing to convert things like Clash of the Titans into 3D.

Cameron proved the true potential of the technology, and now here’s an industry racing to do it all half-assed yet again. Cheaper and sloppier, and just assuming the audiences are going to line up.

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