10 Movies That Should Be 3D (Mania.com)

By:Ken Pasini
Date: Tuesday, November 03, 2009


The growth of IMAX into mainstream cinema has arrived. Although 3D has been around for years, no major breakthroughs in this technology have occurred over the last several decades.  This however, is no longer be the case. Several large budget films from the last few years, such as Superman Returns and Journey to the Center of the Earth, were released as a standard format, as well as in a 3D format that married this technology with the IMAX experience. The recent 3D remake of ‘My Bloody Valentine’ did considerably well at the box office, when compared to that of the non-3D release of ‘Friday the 13th’(both within weeks of each other. Studios now feel that enough market demand exists for 3D films, and the technology is improving. James Cameron recognized this trend years ago, and his upcoming ‘Avatar’ should be a 3D affects laden marvel, if nothing else. Even films that were released in standard format are now being upgraded to 3D (Toy Story 1 & 2). This trend has prompted your latest Mania List. Films infused with mesmerizing affects and distinct ‘depth of field’ visuals were the criteria used to justify Mania’s list of films that we think are ripe for a 3D overhaul. Multi-colored glasses are not required for perusing the following.

10. Alien

Ridley Scott brilliantly lures the audience deeper and deeper into his web this brilliant film. The story never collapses under the weight of spectacular visuals, but rather, the confinement of the ship serves as an ever tightening noose. A 3D version of Dallas crawling his way through the air ducts of the Nostromo hunting the ‘small’ creature that burst from Kane’s chest, or the Alien (full grown) drooling while slowly opening it’s mouth to reveal a set of threatening incisors before projecting a second, more menacing set of snapping teeth, would be absolutely priceless. 

9. Star Trek (JJ Abrams)

The most recent entry on our list (2009), Star Trek captivated the audience with stunning visuals that would so perfectly adapt to the severe depth of field scenes that are the sweet spot of 3D. Consider the scenes where Kirk and Sulu are diving through the atmosphere to raid the planet wrecking mining drill on the Vulcan home world, or when Kirk and Spock are battling the Klingons on the enemy ship. 3D would so perfectly increase the anxiety of the ‘catwalk’ fight scenes, as the audience would ‘feel’ the danger of plummeting into the abyss. So many scenes in this film meet the ‘depth of field’ criteria for affective 3D that this one seems to be a ‘no-brainer’.

8. Jurassic Park

A cinematic marvel to be sure, the first of the Jurassic Park movies made you actually feel as if dinosaurs were real today. Spielberg crafted an amazing film from equally amazing source material, by introducing the audience to amazing affects rarely seen prior to its release. The rampaging menace of the Tyrannosaurus Rex or the tenacity of the Velociraptors would be amazing to experience in 3D.  



7. Twister

Aside from the plausibility of a team of Storm Chasers experiencing a multitude of tornadoes on a given summer day, the affects were spectacular. The audience is sucked into the premise of getting up close and personal with several life threatening twisters. Am I the only one who would love to experience the ‘flying cow’ and exploding tanker scene in 3D? 

6. Terminator 2

It may be unfair to include a film by 3D auteur James Cameron, but considering the spectacular action scenes (many with fantastic Depth of Field 3D opportunities) and the liquid metal transformations of Robert Patricks T-1000, this film had to make the list. Consider the 3D impact of the Terminator reaching his hand out to Sarah Connor during the famous mental hospital rescue saying ‘Come with me if you want to live’.


5. The Cell

A surreal, sensory assault, the audience is immersed into the twisted psyche of a serial killer.   Many of the visuals in this film suggest that this may have originally been conceived as a 3D vehicle. Already an affective nightmare in its current form, 3D would only enhance this films creepy atmosphere by heightening the audiences foreboding and despair.


4. X-Men: The Last Stand

Avoiding the debate regarding this films merits (or lack thereof), from a pure visual perspective, it makes our list. So many scenes in Ratner’s entry into the franchise would be spectacular to experience in 3D. Consider the Forest scenes of Magneto’s encampment, the tragic battle at Jean Grey’s childhood home, the Golden Gate Bridge spectacle, or the rampaging Juggernaut bursting through walls in pursuit of Kitty Pride. In actuality, all three of the X-men films could have made the list, but the third may be the strongest 3D candidate.


3. The Lord or the Rings

Rumor has it that these films may already be undergoing a 3D make-over, which is spectacular. All three stand as a single entry on our list none the less, and for any who have seen them (are there really people who HAVE NOT seen these movies?), a series of justification examples should not be required. We wait with excited anticipation of an official announcement regarding their 3D premiere.


2. Strange Days

This intense ‘head trip’ by James Cameron (screenplay) and Kathryn Bigelow (Director) follows the story of an ex-cop who markets recorded experiences stored on data discs to willing buyers. This film contains ample opportunities for 3D enhancement, particularly as the plot builds towards the climactic twist near the end. 


1. The Matrix

The Wachowski brothers masterpiece tops our list of films. A riveting story that helped revolutionize special affects for years to come, much of this film already appears to be in 3D (but isn’t). As opposed to films such as ‘Superman Returns,’ where prompts to don 3D glasses at key ‘depth of field’ points guide the viewer, ‘The Matrix’ was a veritable sensory overload from the opening scene, with virtually every moment a justification for 3D effects. How cool would the ‘Bullet Cam’ be in 3D, or the myriad of gun fights, or the Nebuchadnezzar navigating its way through the catacombs of a burned out Earth, or the skyscraper scenes, or the battery room of humans, or… Without a doubt, this film screams for the 3D makeover process like none other, and therefore tops our list.
Many films from the past 30 years may be prime candidates for a ‘quality’ 3D makeover. This list is certainly not all inclusive, and for that matter, you may not agree with some of the entrees. We seek to offer our top suggestions of those films we would like to see capitalize on the recent trend towards 3D, provide solid criteria for what prompted their consideration (a movie should be evenly populated with enough ‘depth of field’ opportunities to justify a 3D expansion), and to offer some key examples for each film. We invite readers to peruse our suggestions, comment, and offer your own candidates for consideration.  We look forward to the day when this technology does not require the use of 3D glasses.


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