Time to Right the Ship: "Zootopia" is Released onBluRay 3D

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This post is at least a few days coming, but I've had to entertain family this week, and there are priorities in your life you must place above certain things.  Now it is time to mention (once more) that "Zootopia" has been released in the United States in it's native 3D version.  You can go to a local Best Buy or Fry's and buy a BluRay 3D of this $1 billion dollar hit film.  Chances are the major box office played a pivotal role in Disney reinstating their support for BluRay 3D in many peoples eyes, but, as far as I can see, this is merely a way to test the market.  After all, $1 billion didn't help "Frozen" get a BluRay 3D in America.  It should also be noted that, like the movie Disney decided to choose as their ending point for 3D support, they may have picked the wrong film to use as a measuring stick for getting back in the business.  "Zootopia" is a great film.  It may go down as one of the companies best films of all time.  The 3D used in the film though, is, to be blunt, not extremely important.  Nice, maybe, but far from important.
This is frustrating because in almost any other circumstance, this is a title that can be purchased safely in 2D by all but the most hardcore of 3D fans (which, if we're being honest, I am).  Ah, but there's the fact that Disney hasn't been the most reliable company when it comes to releasing their films in 3D in America.  While most of us can play the import game and buy these movies from Europe, it is SO much nicer to be able to buy these movies from our home state, with our own rating system and everything!  We chided Disney for not releasing 3D versions of "Frozen," "Big Hero 6," "Need for Speed," "Maleficent," "Aladdin," "The Finest Hour," etc, etc... you get the idea.  Basically, Disney has not been a 3D fans best friend in a long time.  Pixar and Marvel are big enough to overturn Disney's stubbornness in this area, but leave them to their own guns, and even "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will get the shaft.  That makes the release of "Zootopia" on BluRay 3D a welcome surprise as well as a slap in the face.

Simply put, this is one of the few 3D releases there is not as much demand for from people.  The movie is just fine without the 3D, and most people would normally agree.  They'd much rather have "The Jungle Book" or "Alice Through the Looking Glass" in 3D, as those films benefit from the third dimension greatly.  But getting those movies on BluRay 3D is far from a sure thing at this point.  If "Zootopia" fails to sell whatever number of units it needs to sell to convince Disney the format is viable again, we may not get those movies in the format.  Even if we get a pre-order announcement, this company is not above cancelling the disks at the last minute, so chances are those future releases will rest on whether or not "Zootopia" sells.  The bad news is, the future of the companies support for the format rests on a movie that doesn't benefit much from it.  On the plus, it is such a huge title it should move some copies regardless whether people liked the effect or not.

Of course every sale of "Captain America: Civil War" is going to help in this case.  Every BluRay 3D of "Finding Dory" will be a boost.  The difference is those two movies (regardless of the quality of them) come from studios that care very deeply how their films are viewed.  They would force Disney to release a BluRay 3D of "The Good Dinosaur" and "Thor: The Dark World" even if they were only going to move a few hundred copies.  In the eyes of Marvel and Pixar, the films were projected in 3D, so they need to be made available in 3D.  Disney has no problems skipping on the proper way to view a film if it will ensure more sales (for years they were the only studio who released pan & scan only DVD's of movies they considered wouldn't sell to "film fans").  Therefor, a sale of "Zootopia" on BluRay 3D is a much bigger deal than it is for the other movies.  It shouldn't be that way; but it is.


No 3D for Extended Cuts of "Batman v Superman" or "The Martian" (But Why?)

Coming out within the next few months are two extended editions for two very big box office hits: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "The Martian." The former needs no introduction as you all know what it is.  The latter is a science fiction drama (not comedy) starring Matt Damon as a man who is stranded on Mars.  The first film was critical panned while the second film garnered praise and Oscar recognition (including a nomination for Best Picture).  Both were directed by men who have shaky careers as directors.  The only thing they both have in common is that both movies are getting extended cuts from what movie goers saw in theaters on BluRay.  Also, in both these cases, the extended cuts will NOT be presented in 3D!  The question, of course, is why is this the case?  Especially since both these films 3D versions made lots of money at the box office and were acclaimed for actually using the 3D effects properly.

Let's look at "Batman v Superman" first, as it's obviously the one you readers are more interested in.  First of all, I do want to point out that while the Ultimate Edition of this movie will not contain the extended cut in 3D, the theatrical cut WILL be in 3D, so there will be no need to have to decide between which version you want to buy!  As for why the extended cut won't be in 3D...well, the reason may lie in the fact that "Batman v Superman" is an unconverted presentation.  That means the film wasn't shot in natural 3D and was converted during post production.  Now, natural 3D is better than upconversion, but if this movie proves anything it's that the upconversion process is getting a lot better.  It is also really expensive, one that will add millions of dollars to a films budget.  This extended cut isn't just a few minutes here and there, it's a full half hour longer.  This means the cost of up converting the new footage would be considerable.

Had "Batman v Superman" been a bigger hit, maybe the studio wouldn't blink twice at the thought of spending the money.  Yes, despite the fact that this movie has made roughly $871 million dollars world wide, this was considered a huge disappointment for Warner Bros. (I know; problems of the rich and famous).  Course, this doesn't explain why the extended cut of "The Martian" isn't getting a BluRay 3D release.  Because, unlike "Batman v Superman," "The Martian" WAS filmed in natural 3D!  There is NO additional costs to convert 2D scenes to 3D scenes because everything is already in 3D.  So why isn't the extended edition of THIS getting a BluRay 3D?!  I couldn't tell you.  I've e-mailed Fox to see if they would like to comment, but they have yet to return my e-mails.  This is especially frustrating since this is a double dip of a movie that was released with bare bone features earlier this year, and rather than put both versions in one set (kind of like what Warner Bros. is doing for "Batman v Superman"), they would rather gouge their fans.

Regardless of the reasons, it is more than frustrating to be forced to choose between a longer cut of the film and watching it the way the directors intended it to be viewed.  In all fairness, most extended cuts aren't a marked improvement over their theatrical cuts, adding little to the film other than making it longer, so chances are fans won't really want to watch these extended cuts too many times anyway.  Of the two, Warner Bros. is doing this a little better than Fox, for the mere virtue that you get a 3D disk of the theatrical cut with the purchase of the Ultimate Edition combo.  When an extended edition BluRay is released of a film that was shot in 3D in the first place can't get a 3D release... well, that is a problem, and one that needs to be rectified by the studios.


Nostalgia Critic Reviews "Spy Kids 3D"

With half of the top ten movies at the box office being 3D movies (as of this writing), it seems poetic that this weeks episode of the hit internet series "Nostalgia Critic" should tackle "Spy Kids 3D." The Robert Rodriguez directed family film is notable in the history of 3D films as it was the first successful motion picture in years to show that 3D was a viable format.  It should be noted that at the time of it's release digital projectors were not very common, so most people saw the film in anaglyph 3D (AKA: The kind where you wear the red and blue colored glasses).  This also means "Spy Kids 3D" did not have the added benefit of having a $3 surcharge.  Nevertheless, the film would end up taking in around $197 million, showing that people actually liked the effect.  As the Critic points out though, this could almost be a dubious claim, seeing as how the effect of the 3D is "spastic."

In fact, 3D in portrayed in as three different characters in the video: Dignified ("Hugo," "How to Train Your Dragon"), Distracting ("Jaws 3," "Friday the 13th 3"), and Doesn't Count ("Clash of the Titans, "The Last Airbender"), all representing a different style of 3D.  As usual the Critic's review is funny and informative, but the reason I'm discussing this is because of how much he comments on the 3D.  First of all, he points out that despite 3D being in the name of the movie, the 3D version is NOT available on the BluRay!  That certainly seems to be defeating the point.  He also points out how the whole movie is filmed around the 3D gimmick, rather than having the 3D supporting the film.  When you watch all this in 2D it makes the film worse (if not entirely unwatchable).  It's a great way to get an idea of what this movie is like without having to watch the whole thing.

The stand out for me though, was the fact that he actually made 3D into three characters (called the 3D Brothers) and acknowledges that there is good 3D and bad 3D.  I hear way too often that 3D is pointless.  It doesn't contribute anything to the story.  It adds another $3 to the ticket price.  That third argument I'll concede, but I disagree with the first two.  What the Critic has done is essentially agree with both points of view.  There ARE movies where the 3D doesn't matter and there ARE movies where the 3D takes over the movie to a point where it's more annoying than anything!  The best 3D is the kind that pulls the viewers into the worlds.  Although the name of this blog is still "Save BluRay 3D," I am pretty certain the future of 3D is safe.  It's getting better and now almost every movie theater is capable of presenting it.

If anything we look back to movies like "Spy Kids 3D" as an example of how to not do this.  How, if left unchecked, 3D can become the center of the film and add a nauseating effect no one wants.  Interestingly, I watched this episode after getting home from a friends house, where we watched "Mad Max: Fury Road" in 3D.  They all walked away feeling that the 3D helped make that movie more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been in 2D, and made the action sequences more involving.  I have come to the conclusion that 3D is at a point where it can be taken seriously and, in many cases, should.  But there are three ways you can make a 3D movie and only one of them really works.  Future film makers would do well to remember this when moving forward in the future.