To paraphrase a well-worn saying, With employees like these, who needs enemies? The DreamWorks employees interviewed in last weekend’s NY Times don’t exactly exhibit the type of enthusiasm for 3-D filmmaking that their boss Jeffrey Katzenberg appears to have for the technology. Nowhere in the article do they even attempt to describe how 3-D is integral to the film’s narrative or creative structure. That’s probably because, according to the article, 3-D was added midway through production.
In the piece, Monsters vs. Aliens director Conrad Vernon recalled how he felt when Katzenberg told him that they would be switching to 3D: “We were totally taken aback. I didn’t sign up to do something garish.” Producer Lisa Stewart had a different reaction when she heard the news: “I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, great, I’m going to have a headache for the next two and a half years.’”
The Times also explains how Katzenberg told the artists that 3-D shouldn’t be used as a gimmick, but that when the film was nearly finished, he asked the filmmakers to go back and add more 3-D “pow.” Stewart, who prepared herself for 3-D by studying Beowulf, says that they put in a paddleball sequence at the beginning of the film, because “that was basically us telling the audience, ‘Look what we could do to you, but we’re going to control ourselves.’”