‘Transformers 3′: Most Incredible 3D Experience Since ‘Avatar’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated October 5th, 2011 at 4:43 pm,

Transformers Dark of the Moon 3D preview header 2 Transformers 3: Most Incredible 3D Experience Since Avatar

Our own Roth Cornet covered the LA preview of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in which fifteen minutes of 3D footage from the film was screened for select press. Today that footage made its way across to the Eastern shores of NYC, where I was finally able to get a look at Transformers 3 myself.

The short version of my report: Michael Bay has created the best 3D movie experience since Avatar - and may have even surpassed it.

As with the LA event, the footage screened at the NYC event included the first 5 minutes of Dark of the Moon, followed by a montage of footage and extended sequences from the film, all of them action scenes (little to no plot was revealed). The LA event featured a panel with Michael Bay and James Cameron talking 3D in cinema, and even though the pair of famed directors weren’t available for the NYC event, footage of their conversation was included in our screening. You can check out what they had to say by going HERE.

Onto the footage: Roth Cornet broke down everything in detail in her own report (check it out HERE), so I’ll just do a quick synopsis:

The beginning of the film ties the Cold War space race directly to a mysterious event that occurred in the war on Cybertron between the Autobots and Decepticons. After that, we saw several short flashes of Transformers new and old in action, a few chase sequences, plenty of battle scenes in downtown Chicago – and of course, the base jumping stunt sequence that Michael Bay filmed with live actors, one of whom wore a 3D camera on his head while jumping.

Needless to say, Transformers 3 is going to have a lot of sick summer action. But is it worth a 3D ticket price?

Short answer: You don’t want to see this movie any other way.

Transformers Dark of the Moon image Shia LaBeouf 1 Transformers 3: Most Incredible 3D Experience Since Avatar

Shia LaBeouf in one dizzying 3D sequence from 'Transformers 3'

If you don’t know, James Cameron lobbied Micahel Bay to use 3D in this film, even when Bay himself wasn’t convinced. After deciding to go 3D, Bay used Cameron’s 3D team from Avatar to film Transformers 3, and that team – which had already created one revolutionary success – pushed the boundaries of 3D filming even further, resulting in new rigs and camera designs to create that one-of-a-kind Michael Bay brand of action.

But technical innovations aside, how does the 3D in Transformers: Dark of the Moon actually look?

In a word: Incredible.

Personally speaking, there’s little that I see in film these days that gives me goosebumps. There’s a lot that I enjoy (naturally), but there’s little that gives me actual goosebumps. Without spoiling a thing, there were 3D sequences in the preview that had me shooting right past goosebumps into ‘OMG’ territory. Some of what Michael Bay has constructed is just…impressive. His ambitious and often aggressive style for capturing action in motion maybe the perfect marriage for the 3D medium. The results of his innovative work are also proof  (as a friend from UGO said on the way out of the screening) that ‘If you don’t shoot in 3D, you shouldn’t even bother.’ All these post-converted 3D films coming out this summer (Thor, Captain America) are likely going to look cheap by comparison.

The best part about it all is that the 3D technology Bay is employing brings the Transformers themselves to life in a way that none of his other films did. One of my first reactions after taking off the glasses was to say to myself, “Every one of these films should’ve looked like this.” The most common complaints about the Transformers movies’ visual effects (what few there were) included mention of the fact that the individual robots were hard to make out or distinguish, and that the CGI characters sometimes looked too fake when juxtaposed with their human counterparts. 3D, I am happy to report, eradicates most of these problems.

transformers dark of the moon 3d trailer Transformers 3: Most Incredible 3D Experience Since Avatar

Optimus Prime takes flight in 3D

The effects in Dark of the Moon will be even more polished by the time the film hits theaters – but even now I can tell you that the 3D adds those elements of physical presence and  weight that were missing from the earlier installments. It actually feels like there are giant robots moving around the screen, and they blend with the real humans and environments better than ever before. The 3D filming style also allows all the minute physical details of the robots – which Bay and the effects gurus at Industrial Light & Magic have pained over for years now – to literally standout and be noticed, helping to distinguish each and every robot (even the generic henchmen) in all their moving parts. They actually feel like real characters, and that is a much-needed improvement.

Now, some may want to say that I only saw a very small unfinished portion of the film, and therefore my praise is premature. Let me be clear: all I am saying is that visually and technically, Michael Bay has made something awesome with Transformers 3 - I cannot imagine any summer moviegoer walking away from this film complaining that they didn’t get the blockbuster experience they paid for. Back in 2009, I also attended a 15-minute 3D preview of Avatar and walked away stating that Cameron had created a revolutionary experience that would become a phenomenon. I simply know what I see when I see it.

With this film I see that we’ve been given one more gem of an example of why 3D can be almost magical when used by proper craftsman – and even a preview of Michael Bay’s next career phase, if he chooses to pursue it further.

But will Transformers 3 have a better story, or better acting, or better humor than disappointing previous installment? I can’t speak to that, but Bay himself has promised the script will be better, the film more serious – and the cast features some pretty notable actors, both comedic and dramatic. Take all that how you will.

If you’re planning to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon then for sure see it in 3D – I would even go so far to say 3D IMAX. It will definitely be worth the ticket price. The movie has been pushed up and will now be in theaters on June 29th.

You can check out the 3D Trailer for the film below:

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  1. Can we all say, amazing summer for film?

  2. This gets me excited.

  3. This movie is looking like it won’t be to bad at all.

  4. Nice! High praise coming from Screen Rant ;)

    Now, hopefully the story is up to par as well.

  5. TF3 will be the summer blockbuster movie to see. Cant wait.
    This film will rock the theaters from coast to coast.

  6. Ill see this in 2 D… :)

  7. Hard to believe Bay, a master at incomprehensible action, could thread the 3D needle. But it may be too late. Audiences are turning away from 3D, and even if “Dark of the Moon” delivers, the negatives now attached to 3D filmmaking may be too ingrained to reverse.

    • You may be right Christian, it’ll be interesting to see how audiences react to a truly awesome 3D experience in theaters.

  8. I don’t know. I’m really not that interested in the film to begin with and something that always bothered me about the Transformers action scenes was that they felt cluttered and I don’t if 3D would help or worsen that. I’m pretty sure though that if I watch this film it’ll be in 2D

  9. Um… thanks, but 3D sucks. Except for Avatar, that movie was beyond revolutionary.

    • Did you see the TF3 footage and just feel that way about it? Or are you just sticking to some arbitrary policy before seeing the film?

      If it’s the latter: the whole point here is that if you liked Avatar’s use of 3D, this is as good or better.

      • I just feel that 3D brings nothing new to a movie, unless you’re driven into a whole new world, like Pandora. Is there a need to watch third dimensional robots? Because I’m sure there was a need to watch third dimensional futuristic landmarks in Avatar.

        It’s just my way of thinking, sorry. But who knows.

        • Well your way of thinking is LAME

    • And don’t you hurt your rotator cuff shaking your fist at me.

      You have some 20/20 hindsight, but you seem to forget that after people saw the first Avatar trailers there was more mockery than praise of Cameron’s ‘Smurf movie’. And then everybody and their mother saw it.

      I predict a similar thing happening here. I don’t even bother believing 95% of the naysayers anymore – they almost never stick to their guns come opening day.

    • Marlboroliteman,

      It’s obvious you’re not familiar with our history of coverage/reviews of the Transformers movies – we are not exactly huge fans around here. And Kofi CLEARLY stated in the article that he was referring exclusively to the visuals, and even said this:

      “But will Transformers 3 have a better story, or better acting, or better humor than disappointing previous installment?”

      So how about chilling out a bit, eh?


  10. I can definitely believe it. From the first full trailer I believed it looked amaZing and could imagine with the help of Camerons team that it will look spectacular. Im definitely watching this in IMAX 3D. Also, not bashing Thor but I wasn’t blown away visually by it, not even a bit so again, no surprise this will blow it out of the water.

  11. I personally disliked avatar’s use of 3D despite being visually stunning; can’t help it if it gave me a raging headache (thought UP executed it a lot better).

    With that said, judging from the trailers alone…TF3 has some amazing graphics and should be a rollercoaster ride that does not take itself too seriously. Here’s hoping that the story is as coherent and charming (?) as the first one.

    Suspended Disbelief cannot be had by all.

    • WTF is wrong with u? Go home

  12. Not going to be a sheep to Michael Bay anymore.

  13. I’m not sure I’m gonna like that ‘one-of-a-kind Michael Bay brand of action’ anymore in 3D than I do in 2D, which is very little as it is. I might give it a chance if the reviews are good though.

  14. Resident Evil 4 was good in 3d,the last 3D worthy movie I have seen including Alpha and Omega(animated).

  15. I’m seeing TF3 whether it’s in 3D, 1D, 4D or 2D. This looks good, though I have yet to see the 3D effects, but the Transformers should be awesome. As for Avatar, I was not impressed with that movie AT ALL. I found that movie to be boring beyond belief. Though in Avatar’s defense it’s still a better movie than The Smurfs ever will be. lol

  16. I already had the feeling this movie is gonna be something Real ” never seen before” before this article ,and this article got me even more excited!!!!

    • I watched two hours of Revenge of the Fallen, and little-to-no plot revealed. Zing!

  17. “little to no plot revealed” – Insert TF2 joke…
    Good to hear. I’m excited for the visuals only for this movie. I’m glad they’re up to snuff…

  18. And I still won’t see it.

  19. Stop raising my hopes and expectations for this film.

  20. I thought that the first movie was just ok, not bad but the second was horrible in terms of the writing. However, after watching the trailer months ago, you can tell that Bay has gotten his ares handed to him on how bad the film was. The trailer shows hows more serious and thought out this movie is; they’ve added more human drama and acting and so far the rest looks great too. I will be seeing this in 3D IMAX and thanks for the heads up Kofi, GREAT ARTICLE.

    • I guess I will check it out in 3D…. It better be all that u say it is…:)

  21. I still haven’t seen Avatar, and have no interest in seeing this, or any other film, in 3D.

    • Your loss.

  22. Kofi,

    Yes this movie was shot in 3D but a majority of it had to be converted because of the problems shooting it. I’ve heard rumors of 70% of the movie being converted.
    So your review of bashing the conversion that Transformer is,
    only shows your ignorance.
    All the visual FX would have been dual rendered.
    So almost nothing you saw on the screen would have been shot 3D

    • We’re well aware of the 3D shooting process on this film. We made the mistake already of calling it into question in an article basically saying what you just said.

      …And we were wrong.

      You should be more careful before you label someone as ignorant. At least make sure YOU know what you’re talking about. :-)

    • @Bob – You heard “rumors” and Kofi’s review of the footage he saw is ignorant? Umm…OK?


    • Uh, you’re very wrong its confirmed that 60-65% was shot in 3-D and the rest converted. The conversion was mostly close up shots of the actors because Bay preferred the look of film for those shots.

      • Trust me…. we know.

    • You heard RUMORS that 70% was converted. Well the FACT is that 70% was SHOT in 3D and the rest was converted

  23. Whatever. This is one dimensional Michael Bay. No amount of slight of hand in marketing is going to trick me into paying to see another one of his films. Transformers 2 is fresh in my mind. He owes me.

    • Smartest comment I’ve read in a while.

    • yeah, he def. owes everyone who saw the 2nd in theaters (if you bought it, that’s on you). I think he knows that though. They took their time with the script this time instead of starting filming with a script written in part by Michael Bay due to the writer’s strike. In all fairness, and this isn’t an excuse but a reality, it wasn’t all his fault. The release date was firm and announced, the writer’s strike happened after the release date was announced and before the script was written. It would be like a nice restaurant taking your order and then having their cooking staff go on strike after you placed the order… they’re going to have someone cook your food, it just isn’t going to be near as good. Can’t really blame Bay for having to stick to a release date when he had no script. We do know now, however, that he isn’t a good writer. Just stating the facts, not my opinion. My opinion is that Paramount and Hasbro should’ve moved the movie back a year rather than saying, “$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!”

      • I bought the second movie on Blu-Ray and have gotten my money’s worth many times over just re-watching all the action sequences. :)

    • Hater!

  24. Ha ha. You mentioned plot and michael bay in the same article. Is this some cool new Screen Rant drinking game? ;)

    • ya’ll do know that Bay doesn’t write the movies, right? He may choose to direct movies with less plot than action, but that’s just the type of director he is. You don’t blame Jackson Pollack for lack of detail in his artwork because that’s just who Jackson Pollack is… if you want to see an action movie you aren’t going to see a Terrance Malick flick. If you want to see a deep plot you shouldn’t go see a M. Bay film. In my opinion, however, it would be nice if Bay chose scripts that had a bit more plot, but that’s just my opinion.

  25. Ha ha. You mentioned plot and michael bay in the same article. Is this some cool new Screen Rant drinking game?

  26. The only movie i have seen so far which has made proper use of 3D, was the animated “How To Train Your Dragon”. Love the use of 3D during the dragon riding scenes.

    • You clearly haven’t seen Avatar…

  27. @Bob, you are wrong. close ups of people were shot on film because bay liked the look of film for those types of shots, and that was the only stuff that was post converted. the rest were either shot native 3d or fully digital/cgi shots and thus do not need converting.

    i believe i read that 60% was shot native 3d, 15% was fully digital/cgi, and the leftover 25% was post converted BECAUSE they felt that was the best way to get those shots captured and made 3d correctly, not because of problems shooting.

    • Actually, I know exactly what was converted. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

      • It’s easy to forget when you’re typing, but posts like this don’t tell anyone anything useful. Until someone posts his source, we don’t know whom to believe.

        • NDA.

  28. OK, I really don’t see the point of people saying that they won’t see the film, and then already judgeing it before it comes out. YES, Micheal Bay did mess up on Transformers 2, he already owed up to that mistake and takes full responsibility, but transformers 3 is a totally diff. movie from the 1st two. Give him a chance and see the film for youself, but who are we to kid, i bet you will go see this movie and actually like it a lot but wont admit it on here and STILL bash Micheal Bay. I for one was NOT A fan of 3D, until Avatar came out, i rather prefer a film be SHOT in 3D rather than post-convert. Rather you hate it or not, i think this film will do GREAT. and alsoo 3D is the new thing, so get use to seeing a lot of it.
    -Justin Kemp :]

    • Transformers 3 dark of the moon was amazing i know everybody critizes this movie but really if u were a true fan u should have liked at least somewhat I just think it’s awesome to see actual cars and other vehicles transform really i pretty much go see it to watch huge robots beat the crap outta each other and stuff blowing up itsintended everyone has there own opinion