Best 3D Experience – Transformers: Dark of the Moon & Final Destination 5
No one wonders whether the new Transformers or Final Destination movie is their thing; by now, you know whether or not you like or despise either, neither, or both franchises. The latest installments in each series tried to use the 3D factor as a means to appeal the masses – and both did a really good job of using said technology.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon arguably boasts the most impressive 3D sequences of any summer release (see: the massive Chicago set piece that concludes the film), but the first half of this threequel-closer offered little in the way of noteworthy 3D bang for your buck. Final Destination 5, by comparison, never really uses the extra dimension to draw moviegoers into the film’s setting like Dark of the Moon; however, FD5 did use 3D to really heighten the unnerving nature of its deadly mouse trap-like set pieces, starting with the collapsing bridge sequence in the very beginning.
Is it better then to have less, but stellar 3D, or more good 3D? Well, let’s just call it a tie for now. ;-)
Most Disappointing 3D Experience – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise added some new (acting) blood to the mix, put Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow front-and-center, and streamlined the plot in part as a response to complaints about the bloated narratives of the previous two films. Just about everything in the movie still felt like a watered-down variation on what we’d seen in the other Pirate flicks… and yet On Stranger Tides managed to gross more than $1 billion worldwide – despite it also being what most people consider one of the least-impressive shot-in-3D productions yet, that is.
On Stranger Tides takes place primarily under the cover of night, in dimly-lit ship cabins or caverns; it’s a visually dark and murky film to watch, even in regular 2D. Forget being able to feel like you’re swinging around a chandelier with Jack Sparrow or riding a creaking ship at sea – most people who watched the four Pirates adventure in 3D struggled to even see what was going on.
It didn’t help that director Rob Marshall didn’t play around with the 3D format a whole lot either – and when he did, it was often in a very gimmicky fashion.