It's Official: "Zootopia" is Coming to BluRay 3D!

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I wrote a couple months ago that I highly doubted we'd actually see "Zootopia" get a domestic BluRay 3D.  I now have to eat those words because today Disney announced that "Zootopia" IS in fact coming to BluRay 3D!  In America.  No joke.  I'm too shocked to properly form thoughts on what a big deal this is or why Disney has gone back to pressing 3D disks for their home grown films, but I'll think of something soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this nice press release from Disney:

BURBANK, Calif., April 29, 2016 — Walt Disney Animation Studios’ (WDAS) comedy-adventure,
“Zootopia” has broken records worldwide earning more than $900 million at the global box office to date. The best reviewed movie of 2016, critics and audiences around the world have fallen in love with the wonderfully innovative animal metropolis of “Zootopia” and the comedic chemistry of rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and scam-artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). It’s been called one of the best buddy cop comedies in years! Thankfully, there’s more—much more.
When the runaway hit arrives home on Digital HD, Blu-ray™, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand (does not include bonus) platforms June 7, 2016, viewers will not only be able to enjoy the vibrant world of Zootopia and reunite with their favorite characters, but also discover more about the evolution of this extraordinary tale through in-depth bonus offerings. Features include candid conversations with filmmakers and artists behind Zootopia, an alternate opening, never-before-seen characters and deleted scenes and a sneak peek at some of the hidden Easter Eggs that make reference to Disney Animation’s most beloved films and characters.
Watch Zootopia Easter egg clip:

Bonus features include*:

      ·       Zoology: The Roundtables – Ginnifer Goodwin hosts an in-depth look at the movie’s characters, animation, environments and more.

  The artists at Disney Animation give a rare and in-depth look at the complexities of bringing an all-animal world to life from the ground-breaking technology behind the characters’ fur and clothing to the varied and vast environments of Tundratown, Sahara Square and the Rainforest District as well as the deep thought and research given to bringing 64 unique animal species to life through animation.

      ·       The Origin of an Animal Tale – Follow the story’s development from its origins to a big story shift that turned the film upside down. In this feature-length documentary, filmmakers give a candid look into the difficulties of creating the story of Zootopia and the bold decision to switch the main character late in the production process, putting one resolute rabbit center stage.

      ·       Research: A True-Life Adventure – The filmmakers traveled the globe to find inspiration for the diverse characters and amazing city of Zootopia. They reflect on the importance of research and how a deep dive into animal behavior at Disney Animal Kingdom theme park and a deep immersion into animal society on the African savanna shaped and inspired the characters of Zootopia and changed the filmmakers’ lives forever.

      ·       Z.P.D. Forensic Files – Find the movie’s hidden Easter Eggs. Every city has its hidden gems, especially when it has been created by the filmmakers of Disney Animation who love nothing more than sprinkling hidden references to some of Disney’s greatest animated features throughout the story.

      ·       Scoretopia – Academy Award®-winning composer, Michael Giacchino spotlights five of cinema’s greatest percussionists and how they brought an organic, animalistic sound to his powerful and emotional music score.

      ·       Deleted Characters – Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore introduce citizens of Zootopia who did not make the final cut.

      ·       Deleted Scenes:
                        o Alternate Opening – Young Judy Hopps rescues a fellow classmate and realizes she can reach beyond a life in carrot farming to a future in law enforcement.
                        o Wild Times! Pitch – Nick desperately pitches the bankers of Zootopia on funding Wild Times!, an amusement park made exclusively for the predators of Zootopia and a sure-fire, money-making scheme for Nick and his friends.
                        o Alternate Homesick Hopps – After a frustrating first day on the force, Judy has a conversation with her parents. See how this scene changed from a heartfelt conversation with her parents to tough love when her parents discover their daughter is only a meter maid and not a “real cop.”
                        o Detective Work – Judy borrows a fellow police officer’s computer to conduct research, which turns out to be no small task.
                        o Alternate Jumbo Pop – In this early version of the story where Nick was the main character, the filmmakers and Jason Bateman were able to take hustling to a new level.
                        o Hopps’ Apartment – When Judy’s entire family pays her a surprise visit they are shocked to discover the company she’s keeping.
                        o The Taming Party – In this emotional clip from an early version of “Zootopia,” Judy attends her first “taming party” and gains a deeper understanding of the plight of the predator.

      ·       “Try Everything” Music Video by Shakira
      ·       Scoretopia
      ·       “Try Everything” Music Video by Shakira
      ·       International Character Reel - See the variances in news reporters in Zootopia around the world!

Directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and produced by Clark Spencer (“Wreck-It-Ralph,” “Lilo & Stitch”), the progressive mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a melting pot where animals from every habitat live side by side and "anyone can be anything." But when new rabbit police officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives in town she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of tough, hulking animals isn't so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack an unsolved, challenging case even if it means working with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery. But the case leads these two unlikely partners to an uneasy conclusion that Zootopia’s "evolved" society is being pulled apart by unseen forces determined to use fear to take control of the city by turning predators and prey against each other.   Others who helped bring the world of Zootopia to life, include a remarkable roster of voice talent including Idris Elba (BBC’s “Luther,” Golden Globe®-nominated for Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation”) as Judy’s no-nonsense cape buffalo boss Chief Bogo, Jenny Slate (“Obvious Child,” “Marcel the Shell”) as Assistant Mayor Bellwether, Nate Torrence (HBO’s “Hello Ladies,” Fox’s “Weird Loners”) as charming cheetah Clawhauser, Bonnie Hunt (“Return to Me,” “Jerry Maguire”) and Don Lake (“Dumb and Dumber To,” “The Bonnie Hunt Show”) as Judy’s anxious, but supportive parents, Tommy Chong (“Up in Smoke,” “That ’70s Show”) as Yax the Yak, J.K. Simmons (“Juno,” Oscar® winner for “Whiplash”) as Mayor Lionheart, Octavia Spencer (“Insurgent,” Oscar® winner for “The Help”) as the distraught Mrs. Otterton, Alan Tudyk (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Trumbo”) as Duke Weaselton, Shakira as the socially minded international pop star Gazelle, Raymond Persi (“Wreck-It Ralph,” WDAS story artist) as Flash the sloth, Maurice LaMarche (“Pinky and the Brain,” two-time Emmy® winner “Futurama”) as Mr. Big, Tiny Lister (“Friday,” “The Fifth Element”) as Finnick, John DiMaggio (Fox’s “Futurama,” Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time”) as Jerry Jumbeaux Jr., Katie Lowes (ABC’s “Scandal,” “Big Hero 6”) as Dr. Badger, and Jesse Corti (“Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast”) as Mr. Manchas.  The film is also supported by an emotional and powerful music score created by Michael Giacchino (“Jurassic World,” Academy Award®-winning composer for Disney•Pixar’s “Up”) and an inspiring original song, “Try Everything,” performed by Grammy®-winning, international superstar Shakira (voice of Zootopia’s biggest pop star, Gazelle) and written by Grammy®-winning singer-songwriter Sia and songwriting duo Stargate.
Product SKUs:Digital HD/SD, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand
Feature Run Time:Approximately 108 minutes
Rating: PG in U.S. and Canada
Aspect Ratio: Blu-ray Feature Film = 1080p High Definition / 2.39:1 DVD Feature Film = 2.39:1
Audio: Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA & 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
DVD = English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
Languages/Subtitles: English, French & Spanish/English SDH, French & Spanish
Facebook: Facebook.com/DisneyZootopia
Website: Movies.Disney.com/Zootopia

Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) is an engaging and family-friendly cloud-based digital movie service that makes it simple to buy your favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies once and watch them anywhere. With DMA you can explore Disney’s library of over 450 eligible digital movies, discover hours of new and exclusive short-form content, and watch your digital movies from the comfort of the living room or across multiple mobile devices. Using the free DMA apps and website, you can connect your DMA account with participating providers including iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU, Microsoft Movies and TV and Google Play and unlock access your eligible movie collections across platforms and devices – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV/Airplay, Amazon’s Fire tablets, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Microsoft Movies and TV service on Windows and Microsoft Xbox devices, Android mobile and tablet devices and Android TV, Chromecast and the Roku® platform. In addition, you can redeem Digital Copy codes found in Disney, Pixar and Marvel Blu-rays and DVDs, as well as earn Disney Movie Rewards points with every digital purchase.

For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures, the banner under which live-action films from DreamWorks Studios are distributed. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.


"The Huntsman: Winter's War" Screens in 3D Internationally

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This weekend the number one movie will likely be "The Jungle Book" once again.  It will be an easy repeat victory for the animated film, as no other movie opening this weekend has the positive reviews and solid word-of-mouth.  Not to mention it will get to keep all of the 3D and IMAX screens since Universal Studios has decided not to release the 3D version of their big new release "The Huntsman: Winter's War" in America.  The movie is a prequel to the horrendous "Snow White and the Huntsman" from a few years ago.  Originally planned as a sequel, the decision to go the prequel route is probably a combination of Kristen Stewarts falling celebrity status, the scandal about her affair with original director Rupert Sanders shortly after the release of the original film, and the death of Bob Hoskins.  That is a trifecta of base events no supposed franchise wants to have... of course, since the original movie was so terrible, it's amazing that the studio attempted to franchise it at all.

To be certain, "The Huntsman: Winter's War" has been getting terrible reviews with many of us critics wondering how stupid these studios think the public are (apparently, they think the public is VERY stupid).  The question mark some have had is about the international 3D version of the film.  It was never announced to be coming to the US in the first place (unlike some other movies), but the question remains whether or not the film is supposed to be viewed in three dimensions or two?  Having only seen the movie in 2D myself I can only speculate, but with the exception of maybe one shot the movie didn't look like it was made with 3D in mind.  Granted, a couple of the fight sequences likely wouldn't be hurt by having three dimensions, but its pretty clear the studio didn't think very highly of the effect to make it a priority.  In this case I'm willing to trust them on the matter that the 3D just wasn't very good because the studio in question is Universal Studios.

Universal is one of the best studios out there when it comes to their support for 3D.  They have released movies like "Despicable Me," "Jurassic World," and "47 Ronin." These are all movies that (despite their various degrees of quality) all used 3D effectively and was worth the extra money for the added effect.  On the other hand, they also produced 3D versions for "Furious 7" and "The Huntsman: Winter's War" that were never intended for release in America.  I have actually seen the 3D version of "Furious 7" and, despite the fact that it would seem like a movie like that would benefit from 3D, but it really didn't.  My suspicion is that Universal is making these 3D versions of all their movies for the Chinese market that can't get enough of the effect, but they are being more selective of which titles actually benefit from the effect for the US market.  This makes sense because American's are still recovering from a glut of terrible 3D movies, and Universal likely only wants to release movies that will put the format back in a positive light.

While it will be nice to one day be able to just choose which version you want to see, at this point in time Universal's selective process makes perfect sense.  And really, even if the 3D was good, I would be hesitant to ask even a small percentage of people to fork over extra money to see "The Huntsman: Winter's War" of all things.  Either way, the studio has made it much easier for audiences to see the better movie this weekend by forgoing 3D and IMAX screenings.  With the exception of a few XD and RPX screens, "The Huntsman: Winter's War" is only going to be screened on standard screens across America, and if the preview numbers are any indication, it won't make much of a dent at the box office.  Personally, I think it's worth forgetting about this movie and just recommend seeing "The Jungle Book" again.  Or seek out something really unique if you're feeling adventurous.


"The Jungle Book" is the Latest 3D Hit at Box Office


Disney's "The Jungle Book" is the latest major hit from the hit making studio.  It is also another major hit for the 3D format that is being overlooked by most of the media.  The film raked in a little over $100 million dollars and a good chunk of that likely belonged to 3D screenings.  Why do I assume that?  Because over 75% of movie theaters showed the film in the 3D format (this included IMAX screens).  It's interesting that two years ago this would be seen as a major success for the format from the studios.  These days it's barely acknowledged.  Of course, Disney has also been selling this as a live action movie when everyone who worked on the film clearly knows it isn't.  Either way, this is another major success for a format that can use all of the hits it can get at this point in the game.

Chances are pretty good America won't get a BluRay 3D version on our local shores, but the UK store Zavvi already has an exclusive steelbook BluRay 3D for pre-order on their site.  While it's not guaranteed to be Region A compatible yet, my personal experience with imported Disney BluRay's has been pretty positive, as I have yet to buy one that has not worked on an American player (or my Xbox One).  Speaking of imported Disney BluRay 3D...so far I have been unable to find a pre-order for "The Finest Hours" in 3D on any site.  It could still be coming, but for the time being it looks like this is one 3D experience that won't be available to purchase anywhere in the world.  I hope you enjoyed seeing it in 3D in theaters (although chances are you didn't).


Vudu SELLS 3D Movies, You Just...Can't Watch Them?!

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I have gotten a few e-mails about 3D movie on Vudu.  As you are all aware I am a staunch support of disks.  I refuse to buy digital content unless I absolutely have to.  I want to own my content, I don't entirely trust the cloud, and I don't like the idea that stuff I buy digitally can be taken away with the click of a button.  Heck, I want to pass on my massive movie collection on to friends, and even Apple won't really let you do that.  I made this site because I want to fully support BluRay 3D and (hopefully) Ultra BluRay 3D formats in the future.  That said... I understand where many of my readers are coming from.  Yes, it would be nice to have "Frozen" (which seems to have become an unofficial mascot here) on BluRay 3D, but if a digital copy is all we're going to get here... well, then some of you want to know how THAT experience is!

I must begrudgingly admit that this curiosity makes a whole lot of sense.

While I don't want 3D movies in digital format (the streaming quality is MUCH more unpredictable), it is a reality that for some people a digital copy is better than no copy at all, so I decided to take it upon myself to see how the quality of a stream held up.  Since Vudu is the only major streaming site I can think of that sells movies in 3D I decided to start there.

Thankfully, Vudu made this easy by grouping off their 3D offerings into a separate category so I could browse the selection.  I also noticed that some Disney 3D shorts were being sold, and since the idea was to judge the 3D experience on experiences that likely weren't coming to disk, those seemed like a good place to start.  I picked up "Toy Story: Small Fry" and "Tangled Ever After."  I want into the app to view them and was shocked to discover there was no "Watch" button.  Yes, despite the fact that I have a 3D TV, the Xbox One is 3D capable, AND the fact that I've watched BluRay 3D disks on this thing MULTIPLE times, for some reason I can't stream 3D content on Vudu!  This makes so little sense I am almost at a loss for words.  Of course, while Vudu has always been my service of choice for my digital movie locker, the app IS pretty backwards thinking in several key areas (it probably deserves a special blog post all to itself in the future)!

One thing for sure is that this is something worth investigating further.  Is this a basic feature of the Vudu app?  What about Vudu on PlayStation 4 or *snicker* Wii U?  What about BluRay player apps?  I'm assuming the smart TV apps will pick up the 3D, but the point is EVERYTHING should be playable in 3D so long as the consumer has the proper setup!  What's the point of selling the content at all if people can't even view it?!  We'll be looking into this in more detail in the near future.  In the meantime, if anyone at Vudu wants to reach out to us and clarify what systems/devices will play 3D (and how) that would be very useful!


Worst BluRay 3D Releases

While 3D can be a great tool for film makers to help enhance the films they are making, there is no denying that bad 3D can make a movie worse.  Below is a lost of 3D films that (in our opinion) don't deserve a spot on your shelf.  Please keep in mind some of the movie here are good (and we will note when they are).  We are only commenting on the 3D aspect of these films may not be worth the extra few bucks to see in theaters or buy on disk.  This list is a work in progress and is subject to be updated when deemed fit (and will only include movies that are available in 3D on disk for obvious reasons).

Clash of the Titans
Studio: Warner Bros.
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: Yes

Right after "Avatar" and "Alive in Wonderland" 3D in cinema's popular, Warn Bros. had to hastily slap together this piece of junk upconversion that was so bad critics argued it actually made the film worse.  3D had just made it's major comeback, and it didn't take long before an example of released for how bad it could be.


The Last Airbender
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: Yes

 Though the bad 3D is probably the last reason you should buy this disk, let it be known that the true awfulness of this production extended to a 3D experience where the most noticeable pop-out was that of the studio logo.  I mean... come on, we're talking about "The Last Airbender." Even good 3D wasn't going to save this.  Not even a little.


Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: Yes

 Of all the things that should be in 3D, sex shouldn't be one of them.  As what can only be described as the first mainstream pornographic 3D film, the pop-out effects are certainly frequent here... you just might not want to see them for yourself.  This might actually be the only disk on this list that isn't worth getting BECAUSE there's too much 3D (trust on this; you don't want to know)!


The Peanuts Movie
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: Yes

 This is another case where the issue is not that the 3D is poor, only that it adds so little to the film there is practically no reason to watch it in 3D.  Indeed, this is one film where you will really be scratching your head trying to figure out why you are wearing the glasses for an effect that is dubious at best.


The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Studio: Sony Pictures
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: Yes

 You would hope that an animated movie that used stop motion effects would result in some cool 3D (because, you know, actual sets), but the shots and cinematography doesn't give the 3D a chance to shine much.  There is some depth, just not enough to make a difference.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available (amazingly)
Online Stream Available: Yes
Import Available: Yes

The first 'Pirates' film to enter 3D did so in such poor fashion you wonder why it was attempted at all.  With only a few shots where things are purposefully thrown at the screen, this is the sort of gimmicky 3D that gives the format a bad name.  Granted, these shots look worse in 2D..but I don't think there's any format where this movie looks good.


Studio: Sony Pictures
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: No

 I suppose the good thing about this release is that the movie is so forgettable that there is no reason anyone would seek this out.  As for the 3D itself it is non-existent while the film makers forgot to adjust the light for the added darkness the glasses brings, which means watching this in 3D feels like watching the movie through a bed sheet.


Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: Yes

Though most of DreamWorks upconvrsions are great, "Shrek" is the one instance where there isn't much pop to be found.  2D works just as well this time around.


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Status of American BluRay 3D Release: Available
Online Stream Available: No
Import Available: Yes

 This is probably the most humorous 3D release since most of the movie is neither in live action or computer animation like the marketing made you to believe.  This is, in fact, 85% a hand drawn 2D production.  Now, that said, when the few live action sequences DO look good in three dimensions, but most of the film looks like a cheap pop-up book in comparison!


Only Big 3D Release Next Week is an Artistic Porno

The only problem with running a blog like this is that sometimes you get into dry spells where news on your specific topic is so slow it makes updating difficult.  You already know that the 3D release of "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" has been delayed and that Disney isn't backtracking on their lack of 3D support for the rest of their films anytime soon, but next week feels far more grim.  For the horrible "Norm of the North" won't be released in BluRay 3D when it hits store shelves next week (in all fairness the movie wasn't released in 3D in theaters either, but I have heard from producers that it was intended for three dimensions).  "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is enough of a disappointment that Warner Bros. is considering releasing the R-rated cut in theaters later this year to push the film towards the $1 billion dollar mark (will be interesting to see if this version is also in 3D).

The only BluRay 3D we're getting next week is for Gaspar Noé's "Love."  For those who want to know what this movie is you can stream the 2D version on Netflix... though I strongly encourage you skip it.  The director claims that the movie is about passion and exploring sexuality, but it is really just an excuse to have actors perform unsimulated sex on camera.  The movie (which was so terrible I couldn't even finish it) is about 135 minutes long with almost a full quarter of it dedicated to graphic sex.  Some of the shots in this "movie" are so unpleasant to watch in 2D that I have no doubt it will be worse in 3D.  The only reason I'm even discussing this release is that (in my opinion of course) this is not the direction the format wants to take if it is to survive long term.  Likewise I know many 3D fans will pick this up because 3D content is so rare we'll sometimes buy things we really have no intention of ever watching again.

I'm not saying this because I'm against movies that use lots of sex as a way to tell stories either.  I'm against THIS particular film because it's smut trying to parade as art.  No doubt the 3D was used in an attempt to be 'bold' and 'different' from other movies, but all it does it make certain *cough* "shots" seem too close for comfort.  Of course Noé was free to make whatever kind of movie he wants to make.  He's an artist and, if "Irreversible" is anything to judge by, a very good one.  I feel "Love" is a complete misfire and a total waste of everyone's time.  The idea that the movie will have some blind buys from a fan base that craves more content from their 3D TV's is enough to make me squirm.  So I'm encouraging everyone to skip it.  I know it's not fun to have to go almost a whole month without having a 3D BluRay to buy, but there are some products that are so bad we need to take a stand against them from the get go.  Please don't buy "Love."


"Jaws 3" Coming to BluRay in 3D (No, Really)

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Chances are you've been too busy spending the last thirty years re-watching Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning classic film "Jaws" to realize that there are actually sequels to it.  Three of them to be exact!  And each of them is worse than the last.  These movies are so bad that "Jaws" is essentially the franchise most film lovers tend to pretend is only one really good movie.  Before the final film was released, Universal tried to ride the initial 3D gimmick with the release of "Jaws 3D."  Critically lambasted as being the worst excuse for a sequel since - well, "Jaws 2" - the movie has languished on VHS and 3:00am TNT reruns for years, but now its finally coming to BluRay along with the rest of the rejects.  What's more, for the first time since the theatrical release, viewers can see the 3D version on BluRay 3D.  So just to recap: America is denied BluRay 3D releases of "Frozen," "Big Hero 6," "Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F," "Noah," and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," but we get "Jaws 3."

Really, you can't make this stuff up.

In a strange way, I AM looking forward to seeing this in 3D!  Not because I like this movie or anything, but because the movie looks so goofy in 2D that I almost need to see for myself if the original 3D effect could possibly manage to make the film look any less silly than it already does.  There have been many satirical YouTube reviews to save you from seeing the movie yourself, but if you ever wanted to own the 'Jaws' movies that totally suck, they are all coming to BluRay later this year, with "Jaws 3D" making its true home video début.  I can already tell you it's going to be a very, VERY interesting year!  See Disney, Universal says "Jaws 3" gets a 3D release.  Don't you think you should start making your movies available in 3D?


The Force is Strong at Retailers This Week

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I was visiting a Fry's yesterday to pick up a new power cord for my PlayStation 3 when a powerful feeling swept over me when I stepping into the building.  No, it wasn't that of a powerful AC, but that of a billion dollar franchise that was determined to take my money.  For right in front of me there were toys of little robots, glowing colored light stick, and on virtually every corner a copy of "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" was sitting on a shelf or table, waiting to be bought.  Much like how the franchise would soon be taking over Disneyland, the movie was taking over retailers all over the globe with exclusive retailer editions to help fuel the desires of the consumer to spend more money on a movie that probably grossed more than it deserved.  Fighting the urge to buy the movie was not easy.  Disney even went out of their way to give the movie a special black case that would make it stand out on the shelf (until Ultra HD BluRay's become a common thing that is).

The interesting thing is that this was no ordinary movie push by a retailer.  For the movie was not only displayed front and center at the store, but has display stands and tables dedicated to virtually every section.  If you somehow got through the store without picking up a copy there were mini-displays sitting on all the counters of the cashiers.  Going to the nice lady to pay my $3 for my cord resulted in a stare down with this movie that I could hear in a Darth Vader voice saying "you can not resist the power of the Disney Side.  It is time to join us and add this movie to your growing BluRay collection." I started to sweat at this point as I resisted the urge to buy my own disk.  I felt for the first time what it must feel like to have a mind battle with a powerful Sith Lord, and only wished that Yoda was there to teach me the ways of the Jedi so that I may not stray from the Light Side of the Force.

After starring at the movie the lady asked me if I wanted to pick up a copy while I was here.  I looked her in the eyes, knowing that this would be the test of a lifetime, and I said firmly "thanks, but no thanks."  I bought my cord and left without a copy of the biggest movie of the year.  Now, under normal circumstances I would have bought this movie, but as you are well aware the 3D version wasn't released today.  Thankfully we WILL be getting that at a later date (most likely in that big 'Ultimate Edition' that's been announced), at the moment though we just have it in 2D.  The reason I share this story is because even though "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" was not my favorite movie last year (or even close to it really) it does have a power that makes wanted to buy it so very desirable.

It is the only movie so far where I've felt like "well, it's not being released how it was supposed to be seen...but I can probably live with this until we get the real version later on."  This is one of the genius things about Disney's marketing: They know the power of Star Wars is great enough to double dip.  In a day and age where double dipping on movies is largely in the past (mainly because people wised up to it after Peter Jackson exploited the concept with his movies) Star Wars is the one franchise that can get away with this practice.  That is one of the key reasons we are not getting the 3D version day and not.  Not because it won't sell, but because Disney knows this is a big enough movie where fans would buy the thing twice.  Holding off on certain presentations and special features ensures that the movie is bought twice by most consumers.  It is for that reason I must resist the power of the Force and save my money until the 3D version comes out later.  I didn't want to buy two copies of "Frozen" (which was a much better movie) and I won't buy two copies of this.


The LASER Sharp 3D of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"

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Last weekend "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" managed to get toxic reviews yet easily claim the number one spot for the weekend.  With a $170 million opening, an extended universe starter had just been unleashed upon the world.  Like "Zootopia" a lot of the business was helped by 3D and IMAX screenings (85% of movie theaters showed the film on screens that required glasses).  The second weekend the movie was dropped like a bad habit (by about 68% some reports suggest).  I saw it last weekend and joined most of the world in hating it.  Frustratingly, I hated not because it was consistently terrible, but because it was really good before the extended universe selling came into the picture.  This is a drop so deep that it puts the future of this franchise into question.  Yes, the studio can afford to take a critical hit, but if those numbers hold up, then long term Warner Bros. could have a real disaster on their hands.  It seams the lessons of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" weren't learned: Audiences don't want to buy tickets to commercials for future products, they just want a ticket to THIS product!

I could repeat my opinions of the film all I want, but I already wrote a review for it and it would be more constructive of my time if you were to just read that.  I'm not even going to discuss the success (or lack therefor) of the film itself much.  Yes I opened with it because I couldn't resist the urge, but I really want to discuss the format I saw the movie in.  See, I saw "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in the famous TCL Chinese Theater!  A couple of years ago they replaced their really big screen and put in a really big IMAX.  Since that upgrade it became home to the first ever IMAX 4K Laser projection. Despite using lots of gadgets in my everyday life, I'm not always sure what new type of cameras and projectors are on the market or what they intend to do.  This new stuff always promises to "make images more detailed," but sometimes in practice I can't see what the heck the companies are talking about.

Dolby Vision may have been designed to bring out contrast in the image better than it ever had been before, but all I see when I watch a movie in that format is a brighter image.  High Frame Rate may have been invented to make movies look more realistic, but the effect just comes off an uncanny.  When I watched "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in 4K Laser projection I have to admit that I was pretty impressed.  Not because it made the image clearer (I believe we're at a point where images can't get clearer than they already are), but because it made the images on the screen smoother.  More specifically, it made the 3D run smoother than I had ever seen it before without compromising the image.  Before this the smoothest 3D I had seen was with Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy.  While I was very critical in my views of the 48 HFR filming, I did have to admit that those extra frames did make the 3D images much easier on the eyes.

The thing about 3D is that is can be a strain to watch sometimes.  Doctors recommend not to watch it all the time because your eyes and brain are constantly working to make out the double images and turn them into a fully working experience.  While it never really bothered me before, I noticed pretty quickly that the Hobbit movies were much easier on the eyes.  I was partially happy with that effect.  What's the point of gaining a better viewing experience though when the rest of the image looks like YouTube garbage?  It was a step in the wrong direction (I don't want to have the movies look worse just so 3D is less stressful... I don't like the format THAT much).  With the 4K Laser projector though, I think we might have found the best solution for this problem thus far.  While I wasn't completely thrilled with "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" as a movie, I did notice that the 3D was excellent.

It's some of the best 3D I've seen, and during the (admittingly overblown) action sequences, the camera angle's, editing, and sweeping images were all complimented by the 3D in ways I haven't experienced in an action movie since "Mad Max: Fury Road" ("The Walk" doesn't count because that films use of 3D is very different in nature).  Action movies are extremely difficult to make good 3D films out of, because their very nature and the way most of them are made clash with what makes 3D really work sometimes.  3D needs long shots, steady pacing, and an image that is content to sway rather than jerk around.  Most action films, in contrast, have short shots, quick editing, and cameras that shake all over the place.  It makes the 3D blur up and jerk around.  In cases like "Noah" the resulting effect was such a visual disaster we didn't even get it in the states.  What's interesting with "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is that the way the movie is shot suggests that the 3D should have been a complete disaster.

Zach Snyder is not a subtle director.  In fact, dare I saw it, I don't think he even knows HOW to direct sometimes!  With the exception of "300" and "Watchmen," his movies are so frantically paced that there is almost no room to breath.  "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" does have lots of breathing room early on, but once the fighting begins it brings up the same problems "Sucker Punch" had.  This kind of film making does not lend itself well to 3D.  Yet on an IMAX 4K Laser projection system, the 3D looking beautiful and the image was sharp.  I will be seeing the film again in a standard IMAX 3D to see if the image still holds up, but if it doesn't, then that means laser projection could be the first step in eliminating what many people dub "the 3D headaches" altogether.  It's just a shame I had to discover this through THIS film!