'Spider-Man' & 'Sing' Are Must-See 3D Events!

Labels: , , ,

These days (as any fan of 3D film will tell you) we are lucky if we have one 3D movie to see in cinemas.  We're doubly lucky if that 3D film is worth paying the extra money for, as movies like "Black Widow" and "Dune" don't make for very good "immersive" experiences.  That's why it seemed worth getting off my butt and updating this blog to report that there is not one, but TWO 3D movies in theaters that not only deliver on the promise of how good 3D can enhance a movie but are equally worth paying extra money to see!  There would have been a third, but "Encanto" was prematurely dumped onto Disney+ so...streaming!  Anyway, the two movies I'm referring to are "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "Sing 2."  We'll talk about "Sing 2" first since everyone has likely seen Spider-Man (and this is the one that is likely to lose its 3D screens sooner despite being the later release).

"Sing 2" is the sequel to "Sing," the animated film from Minions factory Illumination that has the dubious honor of being the highest grossing film to never have achieved the number one spot at the box office (in fact, history seems to be repeating itself as "Sing 2" is poised to be a surprise hit while ALSO likely never achieving the number one spot at the box office)!  The movie continues the story of a bunch of animated critters who have dreams of making it big on Broadway/the music industry (though Seth MacFarlane doesn't return, so no Frank Sinatra cover this time around).  This time around though they are trying to convince a reclusive rock star (played by Bono) to come out of retirement to help put on a massive show in Vegas.  Like the first film, the story and the characters aren't great.  They are fine for what they are, but they aren't especially memorable.  Where the movie shines are in the performances at the end of the film, as the tunes, animation, and (obviously) singing elevate the material into something that is special!

This was the effect in the first film and its more so here.  Now that the animals have a stage on Vegas to play with, the visuals and sets are bigger and grander!  The characters fly through the air on wires!  There are even hundreds of tapping...um, to be honest, I'm not sure I what they are, exactly, but they ARE pretty stinking cool to watch!  Illumination burst onto the 3D scene in a BIG way with "Despicable Me," a movie that needs no introduction but one where readers may need to be reminded was a movie that leaned HEAVILY into the 3D effects!  That movie basically threw everything and the kitchen sink at the audience who paid the extra $3, and it was the definition of a '3D gimmick movie.'  Since then, Illumination still makes their films in 3D but is more pragmatic on how they use the effects.  The visuals still pop but they no longer distract.  "Sing 2" may be their best balance yet, with a movie that brings subtle depth throughout the film until the big show numbers come into the picture, at which point the effects are used to immerse the audiences in the performs with lots of pops and long shots,

Obviously, kids love this stuff (which is why Illumination continues to make them).  Sadly, since it IS a kid's movie (and parents seem to be especially tight on the wallet when it comes to paying for kid's films), there aren't a lot of theaters showing "Sing 2" in 3D.  Those that are showing it have limited showings.  The closest theater to me had one showtime at 3:05pm.  That showing was almost sold out (thank goodness), but it speaks volumes to the theater's confidence in their ability to sell 3D tickets to family films.  Obviously if you want to send a message that this needn't be a concern you'll need to go to the theater and support it with a ticket purchase yourself (as well as write letters to management expressing your desire to see more 3D showings for new releases).  That brings us to..

...the big one.  The red one.  The money printer that is almost single-handedly saving the theater industry itself: "Spider-Man: No Way Home!"  Truthfully, it almost feels futile to be writing about this.  As one of the most successful films of all time (!!!), "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is a movie that is being watched by people and watched again, and again, and again...heck, my brother-in-law even saw the movie, and this is a guy who feels streaming is a superior viewing experience because he doesn't have to leave the house.  But leave he did for Spider-Man!  Anyway, it was a forgone conclusion that "Spider-Man: No Way Home" was obviously going to be a good 3D experience.  With the action sequences and swinging all over New York, there was good reason for Sony to advertise this as a '3D event' experience (something few movies have been noted as in the last five years).  The fact that we're into week three of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" being in theaters and there are STILL 3D showings speaks volumes to the fact that audiences must be embracing the 3D format for this one!

The first week I could understand going to a 3D showing because it's the only one available, but for tickets to still be selling at a rate that makes multiple 3D screenings a day necessary shows that people are enjoying their 3D experience with the web swinger.  It probably helps that Doctor Strange plays a role in this film and transports Spider-Man to the Mirror Dimension.  "Doctor Strange" is one of the best 3D movies to come out in the last ten years, using 3D to great effect with turning buildings, gravity defying stunts, and a hero who float in midair!  Even if only fifteen minutes of that were brought to this film, it alone makes the 3D screening worth the price of admission.  Chances are I don't need to tell anyone here to go see "Spider-Man: No Way Home," but if you want to see it again and haven't seen it in 3D...well, it may provide a unique visual experience that makes seeing it again worthwhile?!

Will either of these movies be released on BluRay 3D?  Maybe.  "Sing 2" is the bigger question as imports of Illumination films in 3D have dried up, so the theater may be your one and only shot to see the 3D version for the foreseeable future (a fitting fate, seeing that Bono's other 3D film he was in - "U2 3D" - really hasn't been seen much since its release in 2008).  Despite my previous article about "Black Widow" potentially being the last Marvel 3D release, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Seven Rings" also got a 3D release in Japan while Sony is actually pretty good at release 4K/3D combo sets internationally for most of their movies.  Thus, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" will likely get a BluRay 3D release you will be able to import.  None of this is set in stone though and with the unpredictable nature of the BluRay 3D format, if you want to ensure you get the full 3D experience for either of these movies it's best to hunt them down in theaters and see them there.


"Revenge of the Shogun Women "Coming to BluRay 3D 12/14

Labels: ,

Cult action film "Revenge of the Shogun Women" is set to be released by Kino Lorber Studio Classics on 12/14/2021.  The film - directed by Mei-Chun Chang - was initially released in 1977 in theaters during a 3D craze revival where films like "Jaws 3D" and "Friday the 13th -Part 3 3D" were all the rage in theaters.  "Revenge of the Shogun Women" was not a huge hit upon its initial release, has never been released on DVD or BluRay formats, and was on the verge of being lost.  Thankfully the folks over at 3-D Film Archive launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to restore the film (under the capable hands of Bob Furmanek) and now that restoration work is complete.  The BluRay itself will contain both polarized and red/cyan 3D versions of the film.  For those who do not wish to view the film in 3D, there will also be a 2D version made available in the same set!

In a day and age where 3D TV's are a rare and dying breed, a release like "Revenge of the Shogun Women" is sure to please fans of the format.  It's also wonderful when an underground film is plucked from obscurity and saved through passionate film fans on sites like Kickstarter.  For fans of 3D  movies, "Revenge of the Shogun Women" is sure to be an interesting addition to their collection!


Marvel's "Black Widow" - In Potential Last Hurrah for Format - Confirmed for BluRay 3D!

Labels: ,


In what may be a sort of 'last hurrah' for the BluRay 3D format, Marvel's "Black Widow" WILL be getting a 3D release on September 15th, 2021!  This is especially good news for Marvel fans who were afraid the latest superhero movie would not be available in their favorite format, but in a way there's every reason to believe this will one of - if not the - final BluRay 3D release from Disney!  See, you can't buy this from Zavii in England.  You can't buy it in Canada.  You can't buy it in France or any of the other European countries.  

No, the only place you can buy "Black Widow" with a 3D copy is in Japan!

More precisely, you will need to buy a combo pack that includes the film in UltraHD 4K and MovieNEX (which is basically Disney's version of Movies Anywhere in Japan)!  And yes: region locking will almost certainly be a thing, so hopefully you have a region free player.  Now, as I state over and over on this site (almost to the point where I could just copy and paste many of my previous posts, change a few names, and call it a day) I am always happy when a 3D movie comes to disc.  I feel even more happy in this case because Disney has been shunning the format in a way that I haven't seen them do since they first famously cancelled the US release of "Frozen" in BluRay 3D (thus setting off the domino effect of other studios ditching the format).  Despite continuing to make movies in 3D, Disney movies that did NOT see a BluRay 3D release recently include:

  • Luca
  • Soul
  • Raya and the Last Dragon
  • Us Again (Short)
  • Olaf's Frozen Adventure (Special)
  • Mulan
And this isn't even counting the fact that "Free Guy" was recently announced with no BluRay 3D release (and "Jungle Cruise" is almost certain to follow)!  It's not just Disney either: "The Boss Baby: Family Business" and "The Mitchell's vs. the Machines" either aren't getting a BluRay 3D release or will be getting NO physical release at all!  Honestly, it seems like Warner Bros. is the only studio really bothering anymore (which is saying something since their parent company - AT&T - cares so little about movies they dumped their entire 2021 slate on HBO Max for basically free), seeing that "Godzilla vs. Kong" actually got a BluRay 3D release in AMERICA of all places!  And now we have "Black Widow," coming out on BluRay 3D, yes, but in a combo pack that is highly expensive (Japan has some of the highest prices for movies in the world) and being packaged as basically a special feature.  I haven't had to buy such a release since (in a weird case of deja vu) "Ralph Breaks the Internet" was only available in 3D in a similar way.  And, yeah, I'm going to buy it.  Its going to run me north of $80 to do so because...well, what choice do I have?

Yeah, it's going to look weird on my shelf with the Japanese text.  Trust me, I know the feeling.  It's already weird enough to have discs in my collection that have an alternate rating on them other than the MPA's; having a foreign text cover the artwork makes it extra weird.  What choice do I have though?  Kind of like how I've had to make the decision recently to see movies in 4DX as opposed to IMAX to get the 3D effect, if I have to go to Japan to get "Black Widow" in 3D I guess I have to go to Japan to get "Black Widow" in 3D.  The fact that this is the only place to get it though, and that so many other movies in general have not gotten 3D releases, leads me to believe this very well may be one of the last BluRay 3D's we get in any form.  Maybe Warner Bros. keeps the format alive a little bit more, but the fact that even Zavii isn't getting 3D versions anymore means the writing is likely truly on the wall.

I know there is a lot of questions as to why, but it's really simple: the pandemic changed everything.  When the pandemic hit theaters closed.  Streaming got more popular.  More companies decided to put their eggs into their own streaming services.  Physical media became cumbersome to make when factories were shut down and production slowed to a halt.  It's much easier to stream things than to buy them on disc (in some ways its cheaper as well).  Theaters are open again but the theatrical window has shrunk again.  Disney has made it clear their future is in Disney+ and they've restructured their company in a way that makes this VERY clear!  Ironically, it actually costs LESS money to stream 3D movies than 4K or HDR, but with the 3D TV's still not being made why bother put them up that way?!  BluRay 3D has been a niche product for years selling around 20,000-60,000 discs a title.  Sure, part of the reason is that limited supplies of these titles are made in the first place, but these are not number huge corporations are interested in.

They aren't even interested in producing physical media anymore.  Streaming is cheaper for them and better for the planet.  It's a win-win as far as they are concerned.  Yes, there are problems with this thinking, but it doesn't matter; this is the direction Disney is going and every studio they own just has to live with it.  If you really love 3D, buy every disc you can, whether they come from Canada, Europe, or Asia.  If there's a movie you want to see in 3D, catch it while its in theaters or risk never experiencing it that way.  No, I'm not shutting down the blog, but there is less reason to update it.  Do you really want to read a bunch of new posts saying that a movie is NOT coming to BluRay 3D?!  Man, that's so common now its not even funny.  I'll talk about a 3D release that is coming and how to get it,  but saying a movie isn't getting a BluRay 3D release is like bringing up a politician and announcing they're corrupt: it isn't really news after awhile!  But hey, if you like "Black Widow," I'm happy you have this chance...even if you'll need to have katakana written all over the case.


Sony's "Venom: Let there be Carnage" Confirmed to be Released in 3D

Labels: , , ,

Although the future of 3D is still in question after Covid-19 almost destroyed the theater business (as well as proved to have an annoying fog problem for those wearing masks), it seems Sony intends to release "Venom: Let there be Carnage" in RealD 3D when the film is released in September (if the latest poster is to be believed).  No word yet on whether or not the IMAX release will also be in 3D (which the previous film was released in).  Although I'm still not sure how many theaters are going to be dedicating valuable screen time to 3D movies in the coming months, fans of the format can take some comfort knowing that "Godzilla vs. Kong" had 3D and 4DX screenings in America (and by all accounts did very well).

What will also be of comfort is the continued relaxing of mask regulations for those who have been vaccinated.  With (hopefully) the vast majority of people vaccinated by September, wearing masks should be less of an issue, and thus fogging of the glasses won't be a concern.  Although it's nice to see movies still coming out in 3D, I would be lying if I said I wanted to see this particular film in 3D.  The original "Venom" was a dark movie.  The 3D made things worse.  If the second film is shot brighter this won't be a concern, but it is worth noting none-the-less.  For fans of 3D, you have at least one more release to look forward to!


Where Does 3D Go in a Post-Covid World?

I know there hasn't been a lot of activity here as of late.  That is partly because the world of cinema more-or-less came to a halt this past year.  Movie theaters were closed for most of the year.  The future of our favorite chains are still in peril.  The historic Cinerama Dome and ArcLight went dark (and there is no word on who will save them).  The Oscars just had their lowest ratings in history (despite the fact that the nominees were widely available on streaming sites for anyone to see).  Movies were either delayed a year or two or sold to Netflix to recoup some of the money that was invested.  With all this chaos in the film industry, not many people were wondering what was going to happen with 3D, a format that has had diminishing returns for a long time.  Yet as I sit here - the only guy who even bothers to keep a blog dedicated to the format (as far as I know) - 3D is in no better or worse shape than it was before.  Despite "Trolls: World Tour" being the start of the 'day-and-date' release strategy, the film was still released on BluRay 3D both internationally and in the states (something the first film still has yet to do).

You never know when you'll be able to buy these at Best Buy.

What's more, even though "The Croods: A New Age" did shockingly well in theaters, there were virtually no reports of 3D screenings anywhere (despite advertising it on the poster).  Yet the movie does have a BluRay 3D release here in the states.  "Wonder Woman 1984" was basically given away for free on HBO Max while it was released in a 2D only format in theaters, yet a few BluRay 3D copies were made for purchasing in the states (not internationally as far as I'm aware).  Strangely though, Disney films "Soul" and "Raya and the Last Dragon" not only didn't have any 3D screenings in general, but there are no release plans for BluRay 3D's despite both films having 3D versions available.  While it looked like Covid would put the final nail in the coffin for 3D movies in theaters, "Godzilla vs. Kong" DID receive 3D dedicated screenings at AMC Theaters (who continues to advertise how safe the 3D movie going experience is) while people who saw the two monsters duke it out in 4DX and select RPX screenings also got to experience the film in three dimensions.  3D TV's are still not in production, but glasses-free 3D is making nice progress.  Finally, while 3D display was taken out of the new XBox Series X and PlayStation 5, the format survives through Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR (as well as Nintendo 3DS to a certain extent).

In short, nothing still makes sense, and we are in no worse a place than we were before.

Is 3D still in a place where it has more to drop, or are we in a position where we've hit rock bottom and there's nowhere for the format to go but up?  It's hard to say.  I can't exactly say I'm an expert in these things (and I certainly didn't see a global pandemic that would almost destroy the very industry I love coming).  I can't even tell you if the 3D screenings of "Godzilla vs. Kong" sold out because people genuinely wanted to see the film that way or if the 25% capacity cap forced people to see it in a format they would rather not.  Heck, did we not get theatrical 3D releases of "The Croods: A New Age," "Raya and the Last Dragon," and "Wonder Woman 1984" because it was still too early to even toy with the idea, and did the release of "Godzilla vs. Kong" come along at just the right time as people were getting vaccinated, so theaters decided they'd give it a go?!  Were there contract obligations to follow?  I don't know.  I truly don't know.  Here's what I do know: 3D - for all its ups and downs - is still something that fascinates people every other decade or so.

Despite not being released in theaters, the 3D version
still found it's way to BluRay 3D in America and other territories.

Technology keeps looking for new ways to experiment with the format.  Artists still want to use it.  BluRay 3D fans are dedicated mother f*&kers (enough so that three movies with NO theatrical 3D releases got home video releases)!  The theatrical experience is NOT dead and people will ALWAYS want to go out to see movies!!!  In short...we're at another transitional period.  We honestly won't know where 3D really is until "Black Widow" comes out.  Marvel movies lean heavily on 3D for extra money, so how that is released will determine where we are.  Will we get a theatrical 3D release with import BluRay 3D?  Will we get a theatrical 3D release but no physical release?  Or will we get neither?  Or, what about the fourth option: that Disney is putting all their eggs into the (3D free) Disney+ and don't care all that much about theatrical or physical media anymore, so we really shouldn't base anything on them?!  

Nobody truly knows anything at this point.

The reality is that in the grand scheme of things, 3D isn't much of a concern for anyone.  We're just now getting vaccinated and the world might be back to normal in another year or two.  A niche visual format isn't too many peoples top priority (I include myself in that category).  That said, as I have clinged to hope throughout the past year, so too will I do so going forward.  I am happy that we are still getting BluRay 3D releases (in the states none-the-less)!  I happily paid money to see "Godzilla vs. Kong" in 4DX and RPX 3D (and IMAX...what, it's been awhile since I've been to the movies; I was going to watch anything in these formats)!  I also take comfort in the fact that key blockbuster movies coming out in the next few years have completed 3D versions, meaning the format will likely be around in some form for awhile.  As for this blog I will still update it once in awhile.  No one really reads it anymore (and there's not enough news to keep it updated on a daily basis), but I enjoy returning to it here and there, and hopefully a day will come when updates are more frequent!  By that time maybe we can look back at posts like this and laugh, wishing that we could reach through our computers and give past me some comfort for what's to come.  Who knows (not me, that's for sure)?!

This was awsome in 3D and totally worth seeing in theaters!