3D Throwdown: Are 'Chicken Little,' 'Tintin,' and 'The Three Musketeers' Worth Watching in 3D at Home?

3D Throwdown: Are 'Chicken Little,' 'Tintin,' and 'The Three Musketeers' Worth Watching in 3D at Home?

Apr 09, 2012


We have to apologize for the delay in getting this month’s installment of 3D Throwdown to you: there were only so many 3D films being released on Blu-ray in recent months, and getting through them was a more difficult task given the film festivals and other commitments that keep the Movies team busy in these early days in the year. Nevertheless, thanks for checking out March and April’s titles, some of which were terrific (including at least one Golden Globe and Oscar nominee), and some which were slightly less impressive (when an airplane is the desired environment to watch a film – Three Musketeers, we’re looking in your direction). And then we actually have a selection that’s new to the column – a concert Blu-ray – which highlights the differences in intent and execution that 3D can provide both filmmakers and audiences.

As always, please let us know what you think of our assessments of these titles, and if you see or hear of any other 3D releases you’re curious about, let us know and we’ll do our best to track them down and test them out.


Chicken Little 3D (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Conversion (all animated features are converted).

How Does It Look: Fine, but unexceptional. This isn’t a film that left much of an impact on me in any “D,” but the dimensionalization is effective without being anything special. The color and clarity of the images is strong, thankfully not requiring audiences to accept a grey or gloomy picture, but wearing glasses to watch this film is more of an obstacle than an admirable accoutrement.

Showcase Sequence: The opening sequence in which Chicken Little’s “sky is falling prophecy” plays out in the small town where he lives seems designed expressly to exploit 3D cinema, and it works well. But it’s one of those sequences where everything is moving so crazily that it becomes overwhelming after a while, or if not that, sort of boring in its voluminous energy.

What Else Is There To See In 3D: Nothing.

See It In 2 Or 3D: Either. Not an especially great movie to begin with, but whether or not it should be watched in 3D is entirely dependent on how many other 3D movies you own – or how desperate you are to see anything in that format.


Peter Gabriel New Blood Live In London (Eagle Rock Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Native.

How Does It Look: Concerts are an entirely different creature than conventional 3D films because, primarily, they aren’t narrative-driven. So while the bottom line is that this is a terrific-looking Blu-ray, it’s a markedly different experience than if, say, you’re watching Chicken Little or Immortals. Shot in 3D, New Blood is captured in a way that both inhabits the space of the concert hall and attempts to expand it via some technical flourishes – which sometimes work, and sometimes feel like a distraction from the fact that Gabriel, great singer though he is, is not always a particularly dynamic performer.

Showcase Sequence: Gabriel’s concept for the albums around this tour were that he was covering his songs and those of other artists, but without percussion, so there’s a symphonic depth to his band/ orchestra, but seldom anything genuinely cinematic. That said, on songs like “Red Rain” and “In Your Eyes,” background imagery sometimes is superimposed over the photographic images, and it’s a cool, unique, if insubstantial effect.

What Else Is There To See In 3D: Nothing.

See It In 2 Or 3D: Either. It unfortunately pales in comparison to U2’s 3D film – and I don’t even particularly like them as a band – but it’s as interesting a way to watch a concert as it is to film one. But if you’re allergic to the third dimension, 2D will work just as well.


The Three Musketeers (Summit Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Native.

How Does It Look: Loathe as I am to admit it, Paul W.S. Anderson actually has a pretty terrific sense of 3D photography, and his films have demonstrated an increasing adeptness with the format – this being the zenith of his achievements, its plot and characters notwithstanding. His use of wider shots and broader canvases to conceive his action scenes is what likely results in a smoother and more comfortable 3D viewing experience, but as a whole he does a good job of shooting scenes with forethought that prevents audiences from having to watch them in low light or compromised clarity.

Showcase Sequence: The airship battle at the end is pretty remarkable, especially since most of it doesn’t really exist. As absurd as the story has become by that point, he does a great job of exploiting the dimensionality of the vehicles and their environment to create depth, and especially height, as the ships trade cannonballs across the backdrop of a moody, cloud-filled sky.

What Else Is There To See In 3D: Nothing.

See It In 2 Or 3D: 3D.


Tintin 3D (Paramount Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Conversion.

How Does It Look: Wonderful. Spielberg obviously availed himself of the best stereoscopic photographers in the business as he was conceiving the film, and the results are conspicuously fantastic: the images are bright and clear – almost no real loos of light with the glasses on – and the direction itself makes terrific use of 3D without it being the raison d’etre for each choice made with the camera. As Spielberg’s fledgling effort in 3D, it’s pretty wonderful.

Showcase Sequence: The Morocco chase sequence is easily the one to watch if you’re looking for something to show guests who aren’t yet convinced they too must own a 3D TV. Although it’s one of the few sequences in which Spielberg gets a little more ambitious than maybe he was capable of pulling off (particularly in terms of continuous shots without contextualizing the action), he mostly knocks it out of the park, really taking the audience on a fun ride that’s exciting and immersive.

What Else Is There To See In 3D: Nothing.

See It In 2 Or 3D: 3D, for sure.

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