In today's cinema, 3D is almost as synonymous with the movies as popcorn. You simply can't escape it. Even classic films that were released decades ago are getting dusted off for some 3D treatment, alongside an endless stream of shiny comic book movie sequels. If you've been holding off from 3D cinema due to the inflated ticket prices or fear of motion sickness, here are the facts you need to know.
Earlier in the week, we were invited to an advanced media screening of Jurassic Park 3D — a remastered version of Spielberg's original 1993 action blockbuster. The film remains a fun romp that's well worth seeing on the big screen — but we wouldn't say the experience is particularly enhanced by the addition of a third dimension.
This isn't too surprising given that the film was never intended to be shown in 3D, but it did get us thinking about the viability of medium as a whole; particularly to the eyes of newcomers who have been late to the party. Here are a few questions that are worth exploring before you slap down your hard earned cash on 3D movie tickets.
How Much More Does It Cost?
Money picture from Shutterstock
On average, a 3D movie will cost you around $5 extra per ticket. This is a pretty significant premium if you're paying for a date or the rest of your family. If you bring your own 3D glasses, some cinemas will reduce the price of the ticket, although the savings are usually in the region of $1 which is hardly worth it.
Naturally, cinema chains try to push their more expensive 3D movies as much as possible. The 2D version of the same movie will always be screened less frequently, often during inconvenient times of the day. If you want to watch the 2D version, you definitely need to check the session times in advance.
Will I Get Motion Sickness?
Sick picture from Shutterstock
Some people simply don't gel with 3D. It makes them dizzy, uncomfortable and nauseous. Lifehacker editor Angus Kidman is one such viewer and he has blacklisted all 3D movies as a result:
3D movies are an absolute no-go for me. The second I start watching through a pair of 3D glasses, I feel nauseous (this has made for some awkward conversation at launches for 3D TV manufacturers). The only way I want to force myself to feel nauseous is when I'm drinking. Realistically, this isn't an issue most of the time, since most movies that are made in 3D (kids' flicks and sequel city blockbusters) are rarely to my taste. But I remember being annoyed at the effort it took to find a cinema showing a non-3D version of the Tintin movie. (I was even more annoyed about how utterly rubbish that flick was after the first 30 minutes, but that's a different story.)
If you dreaded roller-coaster rides as a kid and easily suffer from motion-sickness, 3D movies probably won't be your bag. (If it makes you feel any better, I am physically incapable of doing those 3D 'eye magic' pictures. We all have our 3D weaknesses.)
Was It Converted In Post?
Not all 3D movies are actually filmed in 3D. Often, a studio will make the decision to convert a 2D movie during the postproduction process in a bid to boost ticket sales. Upcoming films that fall under this umbrella include Man Of Steel, Thor: The Dark World, Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3.
You can usually tell when a movie was converted from 2D to 3D — the visuals often appear darker and no conscious effort has gone into the framing of shots to maximise the 3D experience. In most instances, the 3D version will be a complete waste of money to the point of being detrimental.
Cinemas usually aren't upfront about whether a movie was shot in native 3D. Before heading to the cinema, it pays to do a quick online search to find out whether you'll be getting a 'real' 3D movie. The answer will be readily available at most movie enthusiast sites.
Are You Taking Kids?
If you have children, there's a whole other set of factors you need to take into consideration. If your kids are young or a bit hyperactive, you can probably guarantee that their glasses will be coming off at various points during the movie. It's just another annoyance/distraction that you're going to have to police.
Something else to be mindful of: if you're taking them to something that's on the PG borderline, such as The Hobbit, the 3D version may lead to additional frights and nightmares.
On the other hand, there are few experiences more rewarding than watching your fascinated child reach out to touch the imagery on screen — as I recently experienced with my three year-old daughter during a 3D screening of Oz: The Great And Powerful. The movie was rubbish mind, but that one moment made it all worthwhile.
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