In the 14 months that I’ve been contributing to The Bonus View, I should have made my personal opinion about cinematic 3D more than clear: I don’t like it. It adds nothing to a movie. It’s inconsistent. It’s a gimmick just to help crappy movies (like ‘Clash of the Titans’) become box office successes. Yet if you read my Blu-ray reviews, you may have noticed that my opinion about 3D is starting to sway. Let me explain why.
When I purchased my new television last year, the salesman at Best Buy (of course) tried to sell me on something larger and much more expensive. My home theater room is not very big. No matter where I sit, I’m never far from the television. For that reason, I don’t need a huge set. In fact, too large a set could be a blinding distraction because of how much head movement it would require. What I bought was perfect for the home I’m in. Despite mentioning that and the fact that I had already researched the television I wanted to buy, the salesman tried to sell me a massive Samsung 3D model. First off, it was too big. Secondly, I wanted nothing to do with 3D. And third, I already knew what I wanted. But he just kept insisting that I put on the 3D glasses and see how great it was. Just to get him off my back (and to get him to ring me up), I slapped on the glasses, looked at ‘Avatar‘ for half a second and said, “Thanks but no thanks.”
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine bought a 65″ LG passive 3D television to fill the large theater room in his new home. When I walked in, he had the 3D ‘Tangled‘ Blu-ray running. Without any glasses on, I saw the usual blur that I was determined I wouldn’t enjoy any more if I put the glasses on than if I left them off. But when I did put those glasses on, everything changed.
When watching 3D in theaters, my mind registers the abnormal crosstalk halos more than it recognizes the three-dimensional look. At the start of every 3D movie, I notice the depth to the picture, but that sense is always fleeting. By the second half of the movie, I completely forget that it’s there. However, when watching ‘Tangled’ on my buddy’s television, I learned that home theater 3D – in the case with his television, at least – can be so much better than theatrical 3D. The depth was noticeably deeper, which gave each disc we demoed a whole new sense of reality. I don’t know if the projection of light causes it to appear less deep, but theatrical 3D is far from the best 3D out there. 3D TV is where it’s at. I already want to upgrade my television to something like the one my friend has. Even if that takes a while, I’ve decided to start purchasing 3D/2D Blu-ray combo packs when available just so that I can have a 3D collection when I do make that upgrade to 3D TV.
If you read my theatrical reviews, you’ll notice that I’ve recommended seeing two of this summer’s recent blockbuster in 3D: ‘Prometheus’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. Why? Because they carried the same quality of depth that I loved when demoing 3D Blu-rays on my friend’s LG set. And, dammit, they look good.
Where I used to be a cynic, I’m now a fan. Sure, horrible 3D conversions will continue to plague future, flat pop-up-book looking movies, but so long as these good 3D presentations are available to us, I’ll be a fan of them.