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FINDING NEMO 3D

On September 14th “Finding Nemo” returns to the big screen for the first time ever in Disney Digital 3D. A whole new generation will now be introduced to this classic underwater adventure from Pixar and those who consider themselves old friends of the movie, like myself, will get the chance to submerge ourselves in the movie like never before.

Director Andrew Stanton, a two-time Oscar winner for “Finding Nemo” and 2008’s “WALL•E,” says that the 3D version of the film is breathtaking—literally. “Watching the first few scenes from ‘Finding Nemo’ in 3D was like I’d never seen a 3D movie before,” says Stanton. “It took my breath away. It felt like I was more underwater. It makes the scary moments scarier. It makes the beautiful moments more beautiful. It really drops you deeper into the story. It just amplifies everything.”

Pixar has released a new featurette with a quick peak behind the scenes of the conversion process of Finding Nemo to 3D.

Below the cut are even more details from Pixar on how the conversion was made:

I excitedly picked up the John Carter Blu-ray combo pack last week, popped it into my player, and then fell asleep about 40 minutes into the film. Suddenly, a week went by and I realized I didn’t really have the urge to finish the film. Not a good sign. But, you know, I owed it to myself, and to the creative team (who I like!), to finish the film and then develop an opinion.

John Carter, based on the novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs and directed by Wall-E’s Andrew Stanton, is a befuddling work. It’s ambitious, chock full of characters, special effects, and a fairly dense plot, but in so many ways it just doesn’t work. The civil war between Helium and Zodanga is convoluted right from the first scene; both forces wear nearly the same uniforms, save a batch of blue or red here and there to distinguish them. Carter’s motivations and acceptance of his status on Mars seems all too convenient. Odd edits, especially during Dejah’s first “damsel in distress” moment (I mean, really, how many times did Carter need to catch her while falling in this movie?), make following the action difficult. The acting, especially from lead Taylor Kitsch, is adequate but far from the kind of engaging you need to launch the kind of franchise Disney was looking for here.

Unfortunately, the biggest sin against the film is its lack of emotion, which is surprising, given Stanton’s (not to mention his fellow screenwriters, who include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon) pedigree. The romance between Carter and Dejah just sort of happens, since it’s supposed to, and the objectives for other characters, like Dominic West’s Sab Than or William Defoe’s Tars Tarkus, are barely addressed. If you were unfamiliar with Burrough’s stories, as I was, you probably aren’t going to find yourself invested in these characters.

I really wanted to like this movie. I disregarded a lot of the negative buzz, which had more to do with the film’s financial failures than its creative ones. I suppose that’s why, once I finally got around to finishing it, I was ultimately disappointed. It’s clear that John Carter had a lot of ambition and there are elements to like, like the Tharks, Dejah, and some of the less cumbersome mythology, but the film is weighed down by its many flaws.

There appears to be a disinformation campaign coming out of Hollywood. The visceral dislike of Disney Studios head Rich Ross, former marketing head MT Carney, and the envy of untouchable Pixar have combined to make Disney’s latest film a target of attacks. Opportunists who hadn’t even seen the film saw an opening to attack the Mouse House and have been making some wild accusations about “John Carter.” It’s way over budget (not true), the marketing was awful (definitely true), and it will be the next Ishtar (or perhaps Prince of Persia). The later is only true if one thing happens, we fans don’t get the word out about how great a film John Carter actually is.

Andrew Stanton and crew are in top form in John Carter, and aside from a few small technical snafus, have created a movie that fits in near the top of the action-adventure genre (think Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Avatar, and Superman). But it is also a typical Andrew Stanton film, in that the movie manages to transcend its genre.

Stanton combined elements from the first two books in Edgar Rice Burroughs “Princess of Mars” series and weaved together a story that will please fans of the series while also updating the story just a bit for modern audiences. Earthling John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) stumbles upon a portal to Mars (known as Barsoom to its occupants) while searching for gold and trying to forget a personal tragedy. On Mars, Carter finds himself in the middle of an epic battle for the fate of a planet, falling in love with the most beautiful woman on Barsoom, and gifted with unique powers that makes him a uniquely effective fighter. By making unusual allies, Carter is able to overcome impossible odds and become John Carter of Mars.