There was a lot of hype when Avatar was coming out. People thought that James Cameron was going to forever change the movies. There were some skeptics, some believers, the movie came and went. While I did find it to be a great movie, I don't really think things are forever changed, but I have noticed a welcomed transition.
The 3D experience is not new to the theatre. It had its first major boom in the 1980s, accompanied by the iMax experience, and has actually been around since the early 1900s (but at a high cost to produce). Now, 3D is back, and better than ever.
There was a period where we were finding ourselves, big movies buffs mind you, refraining from the trip to the theatre thanks to the comfort of our home entertainment system. Not only have HD TVs and OnDemand kicked everything up a notch, but with the latest technology, the home viewing experience now comes close to the big screen, without having to rush for a bathroom trip in between scenes (pause, thank you!).
So, with the emergence of 3D, and even iMax is back in some theatres, there is a new reason to go. Sure, you can even get 3D TVs at home now too - technology really has boomed! But, somehow the novelty of wearing 3D glasses amongst a room full of strangers feels better than by yourself at home on the couch.
Most recently, we went to see Life of Pi in 3D. It's a great movie, highly recommended. What's amazing, that I learned from the book, is it is actually based on a true story. While the story is enough in itself, the 3D visual effects really brought the movie to life and justified the theatre going experience.
So, did James Cameron change it all? Who knows. The 3D era may come and go as it did before, but for now, I do enjoy the extra effort that Hollywood puts in. Noted and appreciated.