This is not a review of John Carter of Mars – that’s still to come. It's also not intended as criticism of Andrew Stanton, director of modern classics Wall-E and Toy Story, and incredibly, one of the scriptwriters on Mighty Mouse, a cartoon series that in no small way shaped my childhood.
However while I don't wish to criticise Stanton exactly, I do wish to take issue with him. About this. In an interview with Mark Lawson on BBC Radio 4, Stanton claims that he has "always ignored what the budget is."
What did the Titanic budget buy? A series of dives to the Titanic wreck to shoot authentic footage, a six-month campaign of historical research, extensive full-scale reconstructions of the Titanic and several interior locations. Cameron and also Chris Nolan have stressed the value of decent set construction: while you can create a virtual set more cheaply and without the technical difficulties, you get more authentic performances from actors on a physical set. Cameron also supported the research and development of several cinema technologies – one example is the pioneering use of virtual actors in crowd scenes.
To be continued...