3D is cinematic marmite. A lot of people hate it, then some love it. I am one of those people that loves 3D. The experience of being able to perceive extended depth in the screen opens up the world in film more than ever! Having objects and particles float and pop-out of the screen is a gimmick I find fun, and sometimes really effective in films like Gravity and Oz Great & Powerful.
However, 3D can be pricey, adding a couple of extra pounds on your cinema ticket. Sometimes it is totally worth it, with films like Transformers or 300 Rise Of An Empire. Then there are times where the extra cost is not worth it, and that sucks! I have had a few experiences, and on home media with 3D Blu-Ray. Here are 10 films that are rather underwhelming in 3D, and whilst I enjoyed all these films, I won't be reviewing them, I am just talking about the 3D in which some of the conversions really flat-out suck:
10. The Walk - Watching Joseph Gordon Levitt's Philippe Petit balance on a wire suspended over the Twin Towers is pretty impressive in 3D, that's the reason to spend a bit of extra dough to experience the all-too real vertigo. All the pop-out effects with chains, balls and juggling pins truly leap out of the screen too. However, an awful lot of the film is dialogue driven set in small rooms or under the cover of night. None of this lends itself to 3D that well, depth is flat during a lot of scenes leaving the whole adventure feeling half cooked with its third dimension conversion.
9. John Carter - Much like The Walk, this Mars based action Sci-Fi suffers from inconsistency with its 3D. A CGI heavy film like this should be wondrous but depth is only that awe inspiring when looking at establishing shots of Barsoom and watching the airships take battle. There are some cool strobe/lighting effects here and there, but there's never any truly enveloping moments. There are no moments where objects or characters appear to reach out of the screen, and crowds of Barsoom aliens seem flat, never extending into the distance.
8. Ghost Rider Spirit Of Vengeance - The director's fast cut, rapid camerawork style and pacing does not work that well with 3D. Shots that fly by give you little time to get a glimpse of 3D. Spirit of Vengeance also has one too many flat shots, especially during the entire scene with the religious monks. That being said, when slow motion comes into play this film can be pretty awesome with it's 3D, sending bullets, flames and objects towards the screen, but this film feels like a missed opportunity with a rushed conversion.
7. Godzilla - This reboot is pretty much a perfect 10/10 for me, but the 3D is less so. The darkness really flattens depth perception, all of the interior dialogue scenes have zero depth, through my eyes. Nothing leaps out of the screen into this mammoth monster movie, which feels like a shame as the level of destruction is on full here, debris and carnage should come flying off the screen but not once. Thankfully, it's not a total disaster as there are some spectacular establishing shots and Godzilla's city showdown boasts some surprisingly solid 3D that emphasises the size of these monsters.
6. Captain America The Winter Soldier - Whilst the heli-carrier finale is darn spectacular with some awesome action shots that do lend itself to 3D, The Winter Soldier never really amazes with its 3D conversion and frankly, is just as enjoyable and big in scale in 2D. Here and there are some cool shots that show distance and height, and characters seem to move in and around the screen, showing some depth effects but nothing wonderful. Marvel's best 3D film to date is Guardians Of The Galaxy, that is how you achieve immersive depth and use gimmicks!
5. The Martian - One of the best Sci-Fi's of 2015 looks rather flat. Considering its setting and deep space ventures, The Martian only offers scattered shots of the landscapes where the size and scale is enhanced by the 3D, this film was natively shot in 3D instead of converted, and that surprises me even more as the big sets and locations never feel that large, and objects that float towards the screen never feel shapely nor do they float towards you as the viewer.
4. The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey - An undercooked 3D film. Some of it is beautiful, the rest of it just flat. The screenshot below is a prime example of wonderful depth, you can clearly make out the distance between Bilbo and the hillsides either side of him and how far the countryside is behind him. The butterflies in the finale truly leave the screen and float right in front of your eyes, it's wonderful. However, the rest of the film, shrouded in a lot of darkness, flattens the image. It's not an awful 3D picture but considering it was shot like this, the world of The Hobbit never excels with its 3D. This is the issue with 3D, though, darkness can affect the image severely, giving an ugly and blurred mess, but with films like Underworld Awakening, the 3D excels in the darkness throughout.
3. Iron-Man 3 - Holograms and screens take on clear depth, watching Stark walk through projections is rather fascinating, and all the action scenes have some strong 3D effects regarding distance and moments where debris and dust fall out of the screen, it's rewarding. Then, the rest of the 3D in the film is a flat, dark and uninteresting image, it's as if the conversion takes a break midway and then picks up now and then.
2. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part. 1 - Without a doubt, this film has the darkest, grim and murky 3D picture. Nothing pops, at times the 3D gets lost and becomes a waste of time and extra money. The car chase at the start is the only memorable 3D moment. This film did not need the extra dimension, it's already enveloping enough and the poor conversion is rather distracting.
1. Green Lantern - The most frustrating 3D. Green Lantern himself and his team fly around the screen but never out, objects are dreadfully flat, depth is completely absent and even the CGI worlds are flat as a pancake. All the special effects of aliens and weaponry should boast shape and the effect of protruding the screen but they never get that close, which is a real bummer. Darkness is another killer here, the only positive is that there is never any ghost/double image effects, but with everything else horribly wrong, that's not going to make things better.