Oscar 2012: Rob Legato Talks Hugo
The other thing is the response of people who see it for the first time, and I was talking recently with some who brought their six-year-old and he said that when his son got home he got on the internet with the help of his parents and researched all the movies that were referenced in movie and now has a greater appreciation for Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. And it opened the window to the past for someone to enjoy as it was enjoyed back then in the day. And I thought that's a wonderful by-product of what we did, which is: revere the people who came before us for their talent and originality and expose it once again to a new generation. And the kids who saw this movie really enjoyed watching the films of Méliès in the middle of this film: the imagination, the painted backdrops, the colorful costume and the outlandish action. They had never seen anything like it before and just responded to the pure imagination, which was very heartening. I'm not sure I would've predicted that, but they did.
BD: It's so interesting that you had Hugo and The Artist come out in the same year.
RL: It's basically saying that with all the technology art is still art. It really is the illusion of Mozart. It's timeless and spectacular no matter when it's played. And then it falls out of favor with more modern music and then it gets rediscovered. And if you watch The Artist and then go back and watch City Lights, you realize what an art form it really was.
BD: Where do we go from here with 3-D?
RL: I think it's still in the infancy, cumbersome stage, but pretty soon it'll become sort of second nature to shoot it in 3-D. And part of the nature of what's going to drive it is my own personal prediction is, if you've ever seen any sport on television in 3-D, you wouldn't want to see it in 2-D anymore. It's a new experience: it's not seeing it in the ballpark; it's not seeing it in 2-D on television; it's another thing. And that other thing is worth doing. Then 3-D becomes a natural thing and now you want to see something of that caliber when you go to the movies in a theater.
BD: What about creating a new vocabulary for 3-D?
RL: Well, we used a new set of tools and one of the tools was a three-dimensional dolly shot where you play somebody fairly deep in the screen, and without changing the image size, you slowly converge them forward so they start going from behind the screen to in front of the screen. And if you do it over a long period of time, you don't see it but you feel it. And it changes how you view it in the shot. The art right now is figuring out how we use it on a dolly basis. There was a shot that Jon Favreau really liked is when Papa George is going through the flip book and then it's speaking to him in some way, and I slowly lifted it off the page, so it went from being two-dimensional on the page to being three-dimensional, so it's really what he's perceiving, and is a little piece of storytelling just by the nature of how you're using the 3-D.
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. His blog is Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), he's a regular contributor to Thompson on Hollywood at Indiewire and he's the author of the upcoming James Bond Unmasked (Spies), which chronicles the 50-year evolution of the iconic superspy from Connery to Craig.