3D Throwdown: Which Disney 3D Blu-rays Should You Use to Break in Your New 3D TV?

3D Throwdown: Which Disney 3D Blu-rays Should You Use to Break in Your New 3D TV?

Jan 06, 2012

Congratulations! We heard that you all received 3D televisions for the holidays and can now purchase every single one of the titles we cover in this column. (And you darn well better, people.) In any case, we’re happy to be back in the swing of 3D things and we have an especially good slate of titles to go over this month. That said, we’re always trying to get more and more movies, and sometimes we don’t catch everything, so if there’s a film you’re especially interested in having up cover, please leave a comment or email us and let us know. In the meantime, check out this month’s 3D movies!

 

Bolt (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Conversion (all animated films are converted into 3D).

How Does It Look: Good, not quite great. Another film whose theatrical run included a limited 3D engagement, prior to the explosion of 3D projection and exhibition across the country, Bolt looks good, but, like Meet The Robinsons, was produced and came out right before it seems like Pixar and co. had really nailed 3D presentation. As a result, while the colors are vivid and it (like all of the films on this list) avoids the dimness issue that plagues a lot of 3D releases, there are a handful of shots where objects seem to float inorganically, or the ground itself sort of juts out from the TV when I’m pretty sure it isn’t supposed to. At the same time, it’s glossy, well-photographed and engaging, and those instances are less jarring than they are mildly distracting.

Showcase Sequence: The Michael Bay-like action sequence that demonstrates how Bolt’s life as a stunt dog works is its own marvel of mini-moviemaking, but in 3D it looks remarkable. The way that the camera weaves in and out of traffic as Bolt evades vehicles and pursuers is clear and entertaining.

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

See It In 2 Or 3D: 3D. A film which is charming albeit sort of a lesser entry in Disney Animation’s canon, Bolt mostly makes its use of 3D count.

 

Cars 2 (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Conversion (all animated films are converted into 3D, but this one was conceived in 3D)

How Does It Look: Stunning, quite frankly. While I really, really don’t like this film from a character or narrative standpoint, it ranks among the best 3D discs I’ve yet covered, because of the depth of color and specificity of detail that is in every frame. In the opening spy sequence, you can really feel the three-dimensional space the characters inhabit, and when the camera swoops above them, as when Finn McMissile races up a spiral ramp, there’s a real depth to the levels beneath him. The reflections on the cars’ shiny surfaces, the artistic depth of the background, and the all-around attention that was given to making this look great paid off, and it’s an undeniably immersive experience in 3D, even if that may be the only reason to watch the movie at all.

Showcase Sequence: The race in Japan – and the Japan sequence as a whole – is just breathtaking, honestly – the speed and color, detail and focus is all immaculate, and the low-angle shots of the cars’ chassis give the audience a real sense of being in the midst of a swarm of racing vehicles.

What Else Is There To See In 3D: There’s a 3D short, “Air Mater.” Oddly, the Toy Story short “Hawaiian Vacation” is on the 2D Blu-ray, but it’s not available in 3D, despite being shown in 3D theatrically.

See It In 2 Or 3D: 3D.

 

Meet The Robinsons (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Conversion (all animated films are converted into 3D).

How Does It Look: Good, but not consistent. The menu screen is in 3D, and features the animatronic bowler hat that the villain in the film wears – which is cool, because it was clearly created expressly for the home video release. But inexplicably set against a white backdrop, the bowler hat has nothing behind it to establish a clearly-defined depth, and as a result the flitting chapeau sometimes goes out of focus. This unfortunately occurs within the film itself, especially in scenes where there are superfluous objects in the foreground, such as a hanging lamp that looks detached from the rest of the physical space. It’s almost as if the filmmakers set the screen depth a few inches in front of the actual TV screen, resulting in a largely effective but occasionally disorienting image.

Showcase Sequence: The scene where Lewis first arrives in the future is pretty terrific, because it not only has this interesting, unique ‘50s-meets-I-don’t-know-what aesthetic where the buildings are all round and squishy looking, which is enormously enhanced by the 3D. Even intangible effects, such as the energy ball that surrounds the time machine, look multidimensional, and enhance the viewing experience.

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

See It In 2 Or 3D: It looks great either way – I actually saw the film in 3D upon its theatrical release and it looked great on the big screen, but at home (and with much better-produced 3D having followed it) it’s inessential to the viewing experience.

 

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Conversion.

How Does It Look: They both look pretty good. These were the first two older Pixar films to be converted after their release in order to capitalize on the 3D explosion, and their double-feature release was deservedly welcomed by fans both of the format and the films themselves. Thankfully, Pixar didn’t overhaul the films completely, but just dimensionalized the existing images, and as a result the experience isn’t jarring or even radically different. Unfortunately, it’s not better, either, so the choice to re-release the films in 3D was an understandable commercial one, but less clear from a creative standpoint.

Showcase Sequence: In both films, the opening sequences look great – especially TS2’s Star Wars-influenced video game introduction. Additionally, the “crossing the road” sequence in Toy Story 2 looks especially great.

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

See It In 2 Or 3D: While the 3D versions look great, if you’re familiar with the films in 2D, there’s not enough of a reason to purchase them in a new set. That said, it’s worth seeing if you have the chance to rent it.

 

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

Native Or Conversion: Conversion (all animated films are converted into 3D, but this one was conceived in 3D)

How Does It Look: Great – better than its predecessors in terms of both 3D and general cinematography. Appropriately, the technology used to make the Toy Story films evolved since the first one was released, and by the time Pixar released 3 in 2010, they mastered the color tone, texture and detail that really gave the characters their undeniable humanity. For example, the opening sequence as with its predecessors is suitably epic, but it’s the subtlety of color and texture that gives it such a richness and vivid sense of life.

Showcase Sequence: The furnace sequence at the end of the film is a total stunner, not just because it’s a marvel of directing and storytelling, but because the minutiae is all rendered so vividly and individually – all of those little knick knacks and pieces of refuse stand apart from one another, and the 3D gives the slush of trash real physical dimensionality.

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

See It In 2 Or 3D: 3D, although if you’re committed to the other films in 2D this one still looks terrific without the glasses.

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