It’s easy to go on about how much money Avatar is making at the box office. However, a more interesting result of the film’s success is the possibility that it proved 3-D can be far more than just a gimmick. Instead of having objects fly out at the audience James Cameron used the technology to pull viewers into the environment. It was such a simple twist on 3-D I’m surprised nobody thought of it before now.
However, with Avatar’s explosion in popularity, and everyone it seems hoping on the 3-D bandwagon, Cameron may have unintentionally become the “3-D guy”. Any projects he takes on moving forward people are going to anticipate some kind of 3D component, which may not necessarily be the case.
As such, I (along with everyone else writing about this story) have to assume that Cameron could have 3-D plans in mind for the book The Last Train From Hiroshima. Cameron has optioned the rights to the book by Charles Pellegrino which probably means he plans on making either a documentary or movie based on it. Moreover, Cameron purchased the rights with his own money, which isn’t really a stretch given two of his films, Avatar and Titanic, have made over a billion dollars each.
Pellegrino’s book “…takes place over two days and weaves together eyewitness accounts of the Japanese civilians and American pilots who experienced the atomic explosions firsthand.”
Cameron is clearly passionate about this content. While promoting Avatar in Japan he took a day off to visit Tsutomu Yamaguchi, one of the last survivors of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sadly, Yamaguchi died on Monday at the age of 93.
Should a film based on The Last Train From Hiroshima come to be with 3-D one has to wonder how this technology will affect the story. 3-D is traditionally attached to films in the action/thriller genre. The one exception would be Cameron’s own Ghosts of the Abyss which came out in 2003. This being the case, are audiences ready for an event as horrible as Hiroshima in 3-D?
Avatar had an effect on people which was for the most part a very positive one. They were swept into an alien world of beauty and even when in danger audiences loved being there. If you apply this same technique to an event the likes of Hiroshima Cameron could have people screaming, running for the exits in terror.
If you think I’m overstating that consider this. People walked out on Saving Private Ryan because they couldn’t handle the opening sequence of soldiers storming Omaha Beach. Now, imagine watching an atomic bomb go off with the destructive force of fifteen kilotonnes of TNT. It was an explosion so large it destroyed 69% of the city with casualties between 90,000 and 140,000. Oh, now add 3-D to that visual. Pretty intense.
Again, let me state, this is only speculation. While the rights for the book have been purchased no plans for production have officially started. Cameron may simply do a standard documentary based on the book, choosing to forgo the 3-D element.
If he decides to turn this into a 3-D production though it could be the most impressive, albeit terrifying, World War II film to date. There is inherent value to this. Films like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List turned the cameras on our society and showed us first hand the horrors in our past. A 3-D depiction of The Last Train From Hiroshima could be so brutally realistic it could scare us into working toward a more peaceful future.