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Avatar: The Way Of Water's Costume Designer Praises James Cameron's Immersive 3D Technique - Exclusive

Thanks to his never-ending drive to give audiences the ultimate theatrical viewing experience, writer-director James Cameron brought 3D presentation back in a big way with his 2009 worldwide blockbuster "Avatar," which helped cement its foundation as the all-time highest-grossing film worldwide. Unfortunately, the popularity of 3D eroded in the ensuing years and experienced a precipitous drop in 2017, according to Tech Crunch, essentially dooming the film format for the next five years.

Now, in 2022, James Cameron has resurrected 3D once again for the long-anticipated release of the sequel "Avatar: The Way of Water," earning acclaim from critics not only for the film's stunning visual effects but also for its engaging theatrical presentation (via Variety). That's good news for key Cameron crew members like Deborah L. Scott, who has been designing costumes for the filmmaker since his 1997 box office monolith "Titanic."

Scott, naturally, was at the premiere of "Avatar: The Way of Water" in mid-December, and after seeing the film in Cameron's way of 3D, she's hopeful that the format will be coming back in a big way.

Cameron wants viewers to immerse themselves in his movies

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Deborah L. Scott explained how James Cameron's approach to 3D differs from releases in the wake of the first "Avatar" film's success. That's because after the 2009 film's release, The Hollywood Reporter noted, studios jumped on the 3D bandwagon by converting their films to the format, but with lackluster results.

Cameron, on the flip side, actually filmed the first "Avatar" and "The Way of the Water" in 3D, and, Scott said, with the intention of drawing viewers into the frame instead of creating gimmicks like images jumping off the screen.

"You know that the depth of things is going to be incredibly important [to him]. That's the wonderful thing about Jim's 3D, and that's why, hopefully, it will restore this kind of filmmaking and take the blemish off it, where it got cheap," Scott told Looper. "He doesn't rely on stuff coming at you. He wants you to immerse yourself into that movie in every way. That's what his 3D does. It gives you that immersive ability to walk into that movie with those people."

Scott says the 3D makes you forget you're watching a movie

Recalling her experience of seeing "Avatar: The Way of Water" for the first time, Deborah L. Scott told Looper that even though she worked on the movie, she was drawn into what she was seeing on screen. "You kind of forget when you are watching the movie. I was right there," Scott said. "It's so detailed, and the effects work is so good, and the digital work is so good, on top of all the work that we did physically, hands-on, that you feel like you're standing right there with them — the acting, the performances, and the way they relate to each other. The actors are hiding behind those blue faces, but they're shining right through, man. It's remarkable what they do."

Having experienced James Cameron's passion and genius in person as his costume designer, Scott said it's exciting to be in the company of the Oscar-winning filmmaker because first and foremost, he wants to give theatergoers an experience like none other.

"He wants you to be there with him. He wants to take you on this journey. You can't watch it on a computer; you shouldn't watch it on your television," Scott said. "You need to go to the theater, get that big old [bucket of popcorn] ... I ate a whole thing of popcorn while I was watching it, and sat back and enjoyed it. I felt all the emotion and the thrill of it, the anticipation ... I was scared, at times. I was nervous for those people, and I knew the story!"

"Avatar: The Way of Water" is playing in theaters in 2D and 3D.