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The Ten Best And Worst 3D Movies

Kathy Zerbib |
April 16, 2013 | 1:39 a.m. PDT

Associate Entertainment Editor

The 3D effects only added to the success of "Avatar" (Twentieth Century Fox).
The 3D effects only added to the success of "Avatar" (Twentieth Century Fox).
The film industry has a greedy tendency to attempt any concept that has the potential for profit, with one of the results being 3D movies. Sometimes, a film needs the special effects that a 3D perspective can provide and can become a huge and well deserved hit at the box office. Other times, either a decent film loses itself in a 3D format, or a bad film proves it cannot be saved using fancy effects. The following are some of the notable best and worst of the 3D genre. 

The Five Best

“Avatar” (2009)

After all, what would this lineup be if it didn’t have “Avatar” in its best-of section? “Avatar” set the standard for 3D. It was not the first 3D film, nor is it one of the best films in general, but “Avatar” is proof that some decent concepts can be made into excellent films through 3D effects. The rich colors and well-considered 3D aspects allow us to immerse ourselves into the film and experience it on a deeper scale.

“Life of Pi” (2012)

Just as with “Avatar,” “Life of Pi” is another example of 3D allowing viewers to involve themselves into the plot of a well-conceptualized film. This film, already fantastic in nature, is brought to life in front of us through the impressive effects of 3D. 

“Beowulf” (2007)

“Beowulf” is a medieval epic brought to life with the technologies of the modern world. Before filmmakers decided 3D effects would automatically mean big profit, this film utilized 3D to add to the realistic nature of the film and not to simply wow an audience with just anything sticking out of the big screen. For that, we applaud the makers of this film.

“Coraline” (2009)

This film has a number of pop-out moments that are put to good use through the effects of 3D. The effects add to the suspense and eeriness of the film, without consuming it entirely and subsequently abusing the imagery. Ithelps that the film’s plot and visuals are above par, too.

“How to Train Your Dragon” (2010)

Surprisingly, this film was not the stereotypical “cute n’ cheesy” animated kids’ film. It had an elaborate script, worthy animations, and just enough of a kick from 3D visuals. The technicalities worked well to add depth and exhilaration to the movie, so major kudos goes to its creative team.

Unless you're a die-hard groupie, skip out on the 3D concert films - especially the Jonas Brothers version (Walt Disney Pictures).
Unless you're a die-hard groupie, skip out on the 3D concert films - especially the Jonas Brothers version (Walt Disney Pictures).
The Worst

“Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concept Experience” (2009)

Besides the obvious reason that this film failed for being entirely irrelevant to anyone who is not a die-hard JoBro fan, it also failed for its unnecessary use of 3D effects. Flying guitar picks and spazzing arms are not proper justification for filming in Disney Digital 3D.

“Alice in Wonderland” (2010)

Yes, the film was genius and the visuals were spectacular. Yes, the costumes were award-winning and Tim Burton is a master of his craft. However, and it is most painful to say this, the film does belong on this lineup. Its superb qualities were fantastic in a 2D format – why needlessly embellish with 3D? Going the extra mile did not exactly ruin the film, but it certainly did not do much to help, either.

“Thor” (2011)

The point of 3D is essentially to add standout elements to a film that would not otherwise be present in a 2D perspective. The makers of “Thor,” however, must have overlooked this concept entirely when they released their film. Viewers could have watched “Thor” without 3D glasses and still see perfectly fine. What a waste of a few extra dollars for a movie ticket.

“Piranha 3DD” (2012)

Absolutely nothing about this movie rescued it from being the bore-fest it ultimately proved itself to be, not even the double-cup women and especially not the 3D effects. The plot was terrible, the idea for a sequel was terrible, and the visuals were too lackluster to mention. An overall great disappointment for the 3D genre.

“Clash of the Titans” (2010)

Ten weeks before its release date, the filmmakers behind “Clash of the Titans” decided to incorporate 3D effects into their film. Ten weeks was obviously not enough. Though the plot already doomed the film beforehand, it was the 3D decision that solidified its ruin. Moral of the story: Don’t rely on a 3D format to save your movie.


Reach Associate Entertainment Editor Kathy Zerbib here; Follow her on Twitter here.



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