Thor and Capt. America Will Be Shot in 3-D

It's official: The hammer of Thor and the shield of Captain America will fly straight at moviegoers in 3-D, which is really no surprise considering the current stereoscopic craze on the studios lots of Hollywood. What is unusual is the eagerness of each film's director to take his case for 3-D directly to the fans at Comic-Con International.‬‪

On Saturday, July 24, Marvel Studios has the final studio presentation in the expo's biggest room, Hall H, and "Thor" director Kenneth Branagh will use that climactic slot not just to introduce some of his cast -- a cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins, but it's unlikely that all three will be in San Diego -- but also to persuade skeptical fans that 3-D will add new dimensions to the 2011 blockbuster, and not just in the obvious way.

"We came to feel that in our case 3-D could be the very good friend of story and character for a different kind of experience," Branagh said, taking a break from post-production. The filmmaker said the terminology of the 3-D process initially made him cringe -- at first, it was "math and physics and way over my head," he said with a chuckle -- but then he started to pulse with the unexpected artistic opportunities.

"It's another draft of the story that can reveal itself in a different way," he said. "I had a healthy degree of skepticism up front ... I've become somebody extremely excited about working with possibilities of doing it this way."

"Thor" is a version of the old Norse myths that's been heavily processed by the cosmic dream factory known as the Marvel Comics universe. The film's title character spends part of the film in Asgard, a celestial kingdom, and part in a Hopper-esque town in New Mexico, where Thor (Hemsworth) is exiled by his father and monarch, Odin (Hopkins). In the photo above you see the first-look at Hopkins in the role of Odin as well as Tom Hiddleston, on the right, as Loki. In Hemsworth's hand, too, you can see the hammer of Thor for the first time in any of released images from the film, which is due May 6, 2011.

Branagh said he changed his approach with some scenes to maximize the 3-D benefits. "A pretty careful conversation is what we've been having for quite some time about what we know has to be the most sensible decision: Is it led by story? Can this offer a different type of experience and exploit what we have in the story? It absolutely can ... we travel very long distances in the movie and the opportunity to export and exploit the journey of the hero is really offered up as a great potential enhancement here."

"Thor" will be the first Marvel film in 3-D. The second will be "Captain America: The First Avenger" due July 22, 2011. The director of that film, Joe Johnston, has experience with stories of the fantastic (his credits include "Jurassic Park 3" and "The Wolfman"), but he said he was also skeptical of 3-D after seeing some recent films make missteps.

"I think it tends to be overused and can be a little bit gimmicky," said Johnston, who began shooting last week in London but will travel to San Diego for Marvel's Comic-Con panel. "A lot of people are using 3-D now because they feel have they have to ... that will come and go and the pictures that deserve to be in 3-D will continue to be. When it's done bad, it can make you carsick."

Johnston did a one-day test shooting with a 3-D rig -- as opposed to shooting in 3-D and converting -- and said it was "a nightmare" due to bulky gear, calibration issues and restricted filmmaking options. He said he's a firm believer, though, in the conversion approach if done right and he's enthused to move forward. "It's a new challenge and it's exciting," Johnston said.

Both "Captain America" and "Thor" use 2-D for principal photography, but the considerable special effects for the films were conceived and executed from the beginning in 3-D, something that will help them avoid certain pitfalls, said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.

Feige and Branagh were interviewed together in a conference call with The Times. They acknowledged a negative stigma to 3-D, at least in the eyes of savvy fans like those who attend Comic-Con.

Read the rest of the article of the LA Times

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