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3D – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

by Andy Gibbons

With Piranha 3D opening across the UK this week, I wanted to take a look at the state of 3D and see if it really is the industry changing format many people think. So let’s check out the highs and lows so far.

The Good:

Without doubt Avatar has to be top of the list. James Cameron poured his heart and soul into this film, creating groundbreaking new technology along the way which genuinely took 3D to the next level. But for me the area in which 3D works best is animation – the likes of Toy Story 3, Coraline, Up, How To Train Your Dragon and The Polar Express are just a few of the films to have benefitted from that extra dimension. It also says something about the relationship between 3D and animation that older films like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Toy Story 1 & 2 have also been successfully re-jigged. And I’ve also been impressed with both Street Dance 3D and Step Up 3D.

Better in 2D? There’s been enough care and attention put into bringing the 3D to life in these projects to warrant a solid 3D thumbs up.

The Bad:

Where to start? Well you’ve got to give a cursory scowl to anything converted to 3D AFTER being shot. Yes Clash Of The Titans, Alice In Wonderland, The Last Airbender etc., I’m looking at you! And does anyone get the point of concert movies, let alone 3D concert movies such as Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, Jonas Brothers – The 3D Concert Experience and U2 3D? Surely if you want to feel like you’re at a gig, you go to a gig, not to the cinema.

Better in 2D? Having seen Alice In Wonderland in both 2D and 3D, I can confidently testify that the latter did nothing to enhance the film. As for the others, I think it’s fair to say the 3D was little more than an afterthought and should be treated as such.

And The Ugly:

This honour has to go to the 1983 abomination that is Jaws 3D. Ok, so it isn’t part of the new generation – I remember watching this wearing those flimsy two-tone cardboard glasses – but it was still a magnificently bad movie. The sight of the recently blown- up shark’s jaws floating out of the screen towards the audience will live with me forever…

Better in 2D? Possibly but when a film’s this bad, who cares?

And where does the gloriously grisly Piranha 3D belong? Well I’m afraid I don’t have an ‘entertaining gimmick’ category…


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