Biggest 3-D Blunders

3-D gets a bad wrap in this day and age. When Avatar came around, people embraced 3-D whole-heartedly, but eventually the gimmick wore off due to some terrible 3-D presentations and the heightened surcharge. Here’s a selection of the most egregious uses of the format that I’ve seen.

1. Clash of the Titans (2010)

I saw this on opening night at the theatre, before the bad buzz engulfed this massive pile of shit. Having been dazzled by Avatar, I was still a 3-D fan at this point… But oh man, the conversion was HORRIBLE. It was disjointed and rushed, and it honestly hurt my eyes. The brightness levels were also a huge problem. Even Warner Brothers know how much the 3-D sucked, because apparently they did further work on the conversion for its home video release. I haven’t seen said Blu-ray 3-D, but I don’t intend to. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

3-D Rating: 1/10

2. Conan the Barbarian (2011)

This movie was not filmed for viewers wearing sunglasses in dark cinemas. Many fight scenes take place in claustrophobic caves or in dusty, smoky areas. Movies originally planned for 3-D will bear the dark glasses factor in mind and light scenes accordingly, but the filmmakers here did not. But that’s really the least of their problems. I have never seen such a sickening display of 3-D on my home video set-up. It did not look like genuine 3-D; it looked like a few cardboard cut-outs at different levels of depth. I couldn’t bear to watch past the first couple of minutes.

3-D Rating: 3/10

3. Thor (2011)

I loved Thor, it was one of my favourite blockbusters of the 2011 summer season. But I saw it in 3-D, and I kept wishing I had sought out a 2-D session. The extra-dimensional effects were terrible. The depth was terrible, there were no worthwhile pop-out effects, and it mostly looked like 2-D at different levels. I refused to buy this movie on 3-D Blu-ray, even though I own a 3-D television.

3-D Rating: 3/10

4. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

While seeing this movie on the big screen, I consistently removed my 3-D glasses, to see if the image was blurry. It often wasn’t. I often kept searching for 3-D imagery with glasses on, but it was flat and ineffective. This was filmed in 3-D, but you wouldn’t know it. Even 3-D conversions look better than this. When this movie was playing, I’d cinema-check sessions, both 2-D and 3-D… I could never tell the difference.

3-D Rating: 3/10

5. I, Robot (2004)

On some television sets, you can press a 3-D conversion button, and the television will haphazardly convert anything you want into 3-D. It’s not as good as the real thing, but it’s a fun novelty. I, Robot in 3-D is basically that random novelty. Instead of a meticulous conversion, three or four technicians spent a few months putting the movie through an automated conversion machine. No time was spent rotoscoping, or negotiating depth… it was automatic. Bollocks.

3-D Rating: 3/10

6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

Sometimes the film looks good in 3-D. A few shots here and there look effective. But for the most part, the 3-D here is awful. It evoked memories of Clash of the Titans. Things look flat, some shots are really badly-handled and look puzzling, and there’s a bit of shaky-cam throughout, sometimes at night, making the images impossible to follow. I wish I saw this in 2-D.

3-D Rating: 4/10

7. The Last Airbender (2010)

First of all, I have not seen the full thing in 3-D. However, I did see the trailer in 3-D a number of times, and I’ve read reports of people who hated the extra dimension. From what I saw in the trailer, the rotoscoping is dreadful, and the 3-D makes the special effects look even more obvious and like a video game. I hated this movie and will never watch it again, so I’ll never experience the full movie in 3-D. Thank Christ.

3-D Rating: 4/10

8. World War Z (2013)

While I have not seen the full movie in 3-D, I did watch large chunks of it while cinema-checking at work. I was not impressed. And neither were the patrons. When the film opened at work, we had one daily 2-D session and four 3-D sessions. The 2-D session kept selling out, and the 3-D sessions received dire attendance. A couple weeks later, we were showing three 2-D sessions a day, and no 3-D.

The problem with 3-D for this movie is simple: there’s a lot of shaky-cam and dimly-lit scenes. At times it’s impossible to follow things without getting a headache.

3-D Rating: 5/10

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