"Ben-Hur" Reboot Ships Without 3D Version

In the midst of the Christmas season I failed to notice that the 2016 reboot of "Ben-Hur" shipped to stores WITHOUT a BluRay 3D version!  I mean, what is wrong with me?  Isn't this the whole reason I started this blog in the first place?!  Alright, to be fair, there is a reason I didn't initially catch onto this.  Because when I went to shop at Best Buy and Fry's the week this movie came out, there were price tags for a BluRay 3D version.  Neither store had any actual copies of this on the shelves, but I figured (for some reason) it had sold out.  Also, I had no intention of buying this movie in the first place, so I had no reason to prod further.  I have no idea why the price tags were on the shelves, but a review of the movie on High Def Digest confirmed that there is no BluRay 3D release.  Worse, there doesn't appear to be an import 3D release either, so if you saw it in 3D while it was in theaters, cherish the memory (if "cherish" is indeed the right word) because it looks like this one is going to be MIA for awhile.

It's one of those hard situations to really write about because it's not like this movie is worth seeing in general, the original movie is far superior and cheaper to boot, yet it's the very principle that a 3D version was made and now it's being denied.  During a week where stores got 3D versions of "The Secret Life of Pets," "Suicide Squad" and "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" were all released with their 3D versions intact.  Also, Disney did us a solid by finally releasing "The Jungle Book" and "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" on BluRay 3D, so the timing of this non-release is certainly a little weird.  And the frustrating thing is I can't bring myself to fight for a release on this movie because...I don't really want to own it in the first place.  I'm putting it on the MIA list anyway obviously.  If this movie has a 3D version I want it to be available.  That said, this title probably isn't worth getting too riled up over.  Also, there is no 3D version on Vudu.  Just making that clear.


There Are Multiple 3D Movies to See on Christmas

I'm going to save you form another mini-rant about how much Christmas has sucked so much for me this year to get back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing here: discussing 3D movies.  This is an ideal time to do that because there are three new 3D movies that are in cinemas this weekend with a few more left over hanging in for dear life.  If a fan of 3D wants to see a movie in their favorite format, they are in the unusual position of having multiple choices to chose from.  So, because I have seen all these movies, I'm going to give you a breakdown of what the movies are and whether or not they are worth the upcharge.  Let's start with the new movies shall we?

1. Sing

I didn't expect much from a movie about a bunch of singing animals who want to be famous from the studio that brought us the annoying Minions, but "Sing" gets some major points for actually being a little emotional in the third act and for displaying a great deal of energy.  Not only is this easily the best movie that opened this week (that was new... movies like "La La Land" that simply expand nationwide are different), it used the 3D the best.  This isn't surprising since Illumination Entertainment got their start with "Despicable Me," a movie that contained some of the most in-your-face 3D effects I've ever seen.  Thankfully they have scaled back quite a bit on the 3D being a distraction and now seem committed to using the format to immerse. "Sing" shows promise for the first time that this company actually knows how to use the technique they spend so much time on.

2. Passengers

I'm still not entirely sure what this one is about.  I've seen it, of course, but it seems more like a giant experiment that wasn't supposed to see the light of day that managed to do so because a lot of money was thrown at it.  This includes 3D effects that are certainly visually stunning and immersive.  Really, it's a shame the movie doesn't at the very least make more sense because this is one good looking movie.  It would normally justify its premium ticket pricing if the movie was any good.

3. Assassin's Creed

One day a Hollywood video game adaptation will come along and break from the sorry tradition of video games movies absolutely sucking and be a brilliant (or at least fun) piece of work.  That day did not come with "Assassin's Creed" and so we must wait for the inevitable "Halo" or "Metal Gear Solid" movie.  The 3D upconversion shows that the process has come a long way over the years, but with "Assassin's Creed" the visuals seems to have regressed into some of it's more primitive ways, which means only certain shots actually look good while the rest looks flat and inconsistent.  Not a movie worth recommending in general, but especially not worth it in 3D.

4. Rogue One

The new 'Star Wars' movie is obviously a hit.  It is also better than most could have hoped for.  The quality of the film is likely irrelevant to the films success, but if they are going to fart these things out one a year for the next half decade they might as well be good, right?  The 3D version is clearly the superior version, and science fiction lends itself well to the format.  This is also the movie that you are most likely to find on a premium format like IMAX, XD, RPX, ETX, and Dolby Atmos.  There's probably not reason to stay on this one since everyone is going to see it anyway, so let's move on.

5. Moana

This is certainly one of the best 3D experiences of the year.  Since it's been out for over a month most of the 3D screens are gone, but there are a few holding in there.  If you haven't experienced this one in 3D and there is a theater near you showing it in that format, this might be the one to go out of your way for before it is gone (since it's Disney we know a BluRay 3D release is far from guaranteed).

And that is your guide to 3D movies in theaters this Christmas Day.  Whether you see a movie or not, hopefully you have a wonderful holiday and have great people to spend it with!


"The Polar Express" Returns to IMAX

Life... sucks right now.  I'm not even going to sugarcoat it or make excuses for why updates have been slow.  Life just sucks right now.  It's amazing how things work out.  You try to help someone, you hope for the best, and before you know it things slip so fast through your fingers you swear you were trying to keep air from falling.  Relationships become broken, people don't want to be part of your life anymore, and the goldfish dies.  Right now it doesn't even feel like the holidays.  I could sure use some good old Christmas cheer right about now.  Thankfully, I may have gotten at least a little bit of that with the news that Robert Zemeckis's "The Polar Express" is returning to IMAX 3D this week only!  Though the film was initially met with mixed reviews, it was embraced by audiences who saw the IMAX version and made the yearly trek out to see it.  Once BluRay 3D became a thing the annual re-releases came to an end, but IMAX is bringing back the tradition starting today.

Anyone whose seen this movie can tell you what a difference the IMAX version made in comparison to the 2D version.  Even the Nostalgia Critic himself recommended the movie only if you saw it in 3D.  It is a prime example of just how good the format can be when used properly.  Bringing the film back is a welcome surprise.  That said, there are a few strings attached.  First of all, while most IMAX's will have the movie, almost all of them will be showing the film once a day, early in the morning.  Some might show it twice, but don't expect there to be any evening showings.  Also, as a result of this, for some reason the 3D version of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" has been pulled from every IMAX I can see.  You can still see the movie there, but only in 2D.  Finally, I have no doubt this was done pretty much because 'Fantastic Beasts' wasn't as big as everyone was hoping it would be.

Was it successful?  Yes.  Did it make a lot of money?  Yes.  Was the IMAX 3D version great?  Yes (which is why it was so strange most theaters opted to show it in 2D).  Did it have the staying power of previous Harry Potter movies?  No, not even close.  IMAX inked a deal with Warner Bros. to exclusively show the movie for three weeks.  This meant that "Moana" and "Billy Flynn's Long Halftime Walk" had to have their IMAX releases shuttled.  They were betting that 'Fantastic Beasts' would be huge.  It wasn't.  It was successful, yes, but during the second week the movie was showing to largely empty IMAX's.  Two weeks would have been fine, but three was pushing it.  As a result, they have given some time to another Warner Bros. release, hoping to pick up some of the slack.  Next week they'll have "Roque One" in theaters, so they won't be suffering much longer, but if you wanted to know why they are doing "The Polar Express" once more (seemingly out of the blue), this is the reason.  Still, it remains one of the best IMAX 3D experiences ever, so if you've never experienced it before now is your chance!