Disney/Pixar re-released a 3D version of Toy Story 1 & 2 in theaters last fall to mild success and hopes to repeat the act by converting their 2007 collaboration, Ratatouille into the third dimension for another run on the big screen.
3D has been all the rage for animated films this year, especially for tentpole studio pics like How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, and Despicable Me. Disney is hoping to cash in on the craze by re-releasing in theaters two of their traditionally animated films, Beauty & the Beast and The Lion King in 3D over the next few years.
Pixar began releasing their films in 3D last year with Up and will likely continue doing so for their next few films as well. According to their Stereoscopic Supervisor Bob Whitehall, Pixar's computer-animated work does not actually require the same post-production process used to convert films like The Last Airbender into 3D - instead, he and his fellow animators can simply re-render the original frames of an animated feature for the 3D format.
In an interview with HeyUGuys, Whitehall insisted that the 3D conversion process with Ratatouille requires only that "minor modifications" be made to the film's camera angles and character animation. Whitehall also mentioned that he was working with director Brad Bird on the project, so that no significant changes are made to the feature that Bird does not approve of.
Ratatouille arguably seems the most natural fit for a conversion to 3D than any of Pixar's other, pre-Up releases. The film is filled with several impressive tracking shots that follow Remy (voice of comedian Patton Oswalt) throughout the Parisian plumbing and sewage system - even in 2D, it does an excellent job of immersing viewers in the world of its tiny protagonist. The only downside is that the 3D conversion might diminish the impeccable crispness and texture of Pixar's original animation.
Whether older Pixar titles like Finding Nemo or A Bug's Life will be eventually converted into 3D as well remains up in the air for now. So long as moviegoers' interest in the craft doesn't fade too quickly, it is entirely possible that almost every Pixar movie could be re-released in 3D in the future. I imagine the more action-driven films like The Incredibles and Cars would be first in line for the treatment after Ratatouille - should that be the case.
We'll keep you posted on when Ratatouille could possibly end up reaching 3D theaters. Meanwhile, you can check out Pixar's latest 3D feature, Toy Story 3 in theaters now.