We’re now entering the era of movie studios and producers finding new revenue streams simply by dusting off catalog titles, spit-shining them, and putting them back into theaters. Disney‘s hugely successful “The Lion King” re-release is still playing in some markets even with the film now out of the vault on BluRay. “Ghostbusters” re-visited theaters last month, and next year your eyeballs will be dazzled (sort of) by new 3D versions of “Titanic” and “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” So far the arthouse hasn’t gotten into the game aside from your standard new prints of classic films, but it looks like all that is about to change.
Buried in wrap up of movie news over at the Guardian, it’s revealed that cinematographer Vittorio Storaro is supervising a 3D conversion of Bernardo Bertolucci‘s epic 1987 film “The Last Emperor.” Why this already gorgeous looking movie needs to come into our faces we’re not sure, nor do we even relish sitting a theater wearing those clunky glasses for that long, but hey, there’s a buck to made. And it’s definitely got some calibre behind it make marketing a no-brainer. Winner of 9 Oscars including Best Director and Best Score (the soundtrack by David Byrne and Ryûichi Sakamoto is ace), the film chronicles the life of Puyi, who would be known as the titular last emperor in wake of Cultural Revolution that swept through China in the 1960s. It’s a beautifully shot film already that doesn’t need a gimmicky device to make it better, but it seems everyone is happy thus far. “We’ve experimented with only two scenes so far but Bernardo is thrilled with it,” producer Jeremy Thomas said, confirming the director is also behind the effort. But not everyone is eager to jump on the 3D train.
David Cronenberg was approached by Thomas to revamp one of his films, but he declined. “I’ve suggested we do ‘Naked Lunch‘ next, but David’s against it, and I’d never go ahead without the director,” the producer said. But hey Thomas, if you want to 3D-ify “The Dreamers,” we’d be behind that. If only for purely prurient reasons.
It seems they are in early days on “The Last Emperor” so no word yet on when it might start making the rounds. But it seems we’re just at the beginning of what is going to be a new trend and tool to get people going to the movies. But if you don’t need all that razzle dazzle, “The Last Emperor” is currently available on DVD and BluRay, wonderfully restored by The Criterion Collection.