11. Underworld: Awakening 3D Blu-ray Disc
Underworld: Awakening is the fourth entry in the semi-popular Underworld film series. The overall story arc concerns the conflicts within and between Vampire and Werewolf clans. However, this latest entry centers on plight of both "species" as they are being targeted for extermination by humans.
The film is not an example of a great script or acting but the 3D video, 7.1 Channel DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound mix, and the extra features, which include some interesting pre-visualization clips, provides an entertaining viewing experience.
The 3D was shot natively using RED cameras (similar to the cameras being used by Peter Jackson for his upcoming Hobbit). The 3D effects layering is natural and detailed, despite the fact that the film contains a lot of dark scenes.
Whether or not you are a follower of the Underworld series, if you have both 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray Disc player, this disc is worth the view.
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Also, if you don't have the previous three films of this series (Underworld, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and Underworld: Evolution, they are also available in a Blu-ray boxed set (2D only).Compare Prices
It is brutal, violent, unrelenting, and definitely deserves its R-rating. However, Dredd provides an excellent 3D viewing experience in which 3D is actually an integral part of the story line. Rather than resorting to pop-out effects, the film utilizes well-placed slow motion and excellent foreground-background perspective to draw you in.
Based on the well-known cult British comic book, viewers are taken on "day in the life of Judge Dredd" - who is one of an elite corps of individuals who is assigned to be judge, jury, and executioner (if need be) in the fight against crime in the near-future metropolis of Mega City One. However, his additional assignment on this day is to evaluate a new recruit. The unlikely pair decide to investigate some odd goings-on in the 70,000 population Peachtrees Megablock, where they end up with facing off with both corrupt Judges and murderous drug lord Ma-Ma. If you can handle the intensity of the action, and the gritty film style, this is one great 3D movie.
13. Disney's A Christmas Carol
It seems like just about every few years, a new version of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol" hits either the local cinema or TV screens. We all know the main character, and we all know how the story ends. However, that is not the point. It is the way the story is told that really brings it home. In this case, Disney, who usually takes great liberties when translating literary works to the screen, doesn't veer off the details of the story that much. Also, instead of a live action performance, Disney has used the medium of 3D motion capture animation to bring this classic to the screen.
I actually passed on this version of the story when it was in theaters. However, needing a disc to test 3D, I decided to pick it up and I am glad I did. Yes, there are some sequences that emphasize an exaggerated 3D effect we endure with just about every 3D movie, however, director Robert Zemeckis also uses 3D to tell the story. One of most impressive is the sequence where Scrooge has to pay the coffin maker for the casket of his previous boss. The excellent use of 3D with the interplay of color and shadow is extraordinary, not to mention the 3D texture of the Scrooge's facial features. This is definitely a 3D Blu-ray disc that is a must have demo disc - even if it is not Christmas.
14. Tron: Legacy
When the original Tron was released 27 years ago, it was something that no one had seen before. Now it looks very dated. However, Tron: Legacy is here and is a worthy sequel to the original - with the addition of 3D. First off, the entire movie is not in 3D. The beginning and end of the film, which takes place in the "real world" is actually presented in 2D. However, once we enter the Tron world, the film comes alive with 3D.
Also, it is important to note that Tron Legacy changes its aspect ratio from 2.40:1 to 1.78:1 in several major action sequences. The reason for this is that portions of Tron: Legacy were shot in IMAX, and the Blu-ray (both 2D and 3D versions) preserve the intent of filmmakers in this area.
In a similar fashion to Avatar, the 3D effects in Tron: Legacy are well balanced, with exaggerated 3D effects only used in relation what the action requires. For the most part, the 3D effects are not used just to have 3D effects. Probably the most effective use of 3D were the lightcycle action sequences. Tron: Legacy definitely needs to be in your 3D library.
Tangled is the 50th animated film release from Disney, and, supposedly, marks the studio's last in a long tradition of making animated films based on fairy tales. Here Disney takes the story of Rapunzel and executes it as both a light-hearted adventure, punctuated by a happy-ending love story. This film definitely appeals to kids, but there is more than enough for adults to enjoy.
The 3D presentation is excellent. Here the accent is not so much on "coming-at-you" effects, but using the 3D to bring out the already excellent colors and textures of the film that so that the whole thing draws you into a fantastic fairy tale world. This film is a great example of how 3D can be used to enhance the storytelling experience.
16. Despicable Me
When I first saw the trailers for Despicable Me, I wasn't very impressed. It seemed like a rip-off of "Spy vs Spy" with cute yellow creatures and cheesy 3D effects. However, I was wrong! Obtaining this film to use in my 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray Disc reviews, I discovered a film that delved into the nature of loneliness, the need for acceptance, and redemption as much as fun and games.
Here the 3D effects are mostly played for laughs, but with great effect (the trailer didn't do the 3D justice). The strange world of the title character Gru (the World's pre-eminent super villain) and his lemming-like Minions, although impressive in the 2D version, really come alive in the 3D version that makes this movie a great fun piece of entertainment, with just the right dab of seriousness, for the whole family. Definitely a great 3D demo disc.
17. Drive AngryThe 3D Blu-ray edition of Drive Angry literally blasts its way into your living room with tires screeching and guns blazing. Although the plot is not all that original, and the execution of the film has similarities and references to films like Bullit, Gone in Sixty Seconds (1974), Vanishing Point (1971)and Death Proof, it certainly justifies the extensive use of "comin'-at-ya'" 3D effects that are actually well staged. Although there is some minor intermittent ghosting (most noticeable on dark scenes), the 3D holds up well. The 3D has a lot natural depth and does not suffer from "paper doll" effects. In addition, the soundtrack complements the over-the-top action very well.
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18. Oz The Great and Powerful
Oz The Great and Powerful on Blu-ray is an enjoybable film, but doesn't quite reach the level of the 1939 classic that it is a prequel to.
On the technical side, the color design and seamless integration between physical and virtual sets, as well as physical and CGI characters is very good (take note of the China Doll character), and the DTS-Master Audio 7.1 channel soundtrack, with the exception of a few soft dialog segments, delivers the home theater surround sound experience.
As far as the 3D goes, starting with opening credits and Kansas scenes (presented in Black and White), the 3D is very effective, becoming more aggressive as the film expands to widescreen and color as the takes you to Oz.
On the other hand, there are a few segments where the backgrounds appear too flat, most notably when you see the Emerald City and China Town skylines in the distance.
It must also be noted that, from a purchasing standpoint, the only thing you get in the 3D package is the film, other than a trailer for Disney/Pixar's Monsters University. Disney decided to offer 3D and 2D versions as separate packages, which requires a separate purchase for each package. If you want to see all the available bonus features associated with the film, you need to purchase both the 3D and 2D Blu-ray Disc packages.
19. Wrath of the Titans
Wrath of the Titans comes to Blu-ray in several editions, two of which are 3D Blu-ray Combo packs. In both 2D and 3D the 1080p Blu-ray transfer great. The detail, especially with clothing, facial, and hair, contrast, and color tones are excellent. No additional edge or video enhancement, is noticeable, and the CGI elements are seamlessly integrated into the action.
The 2D-to-3D conversion, for this film, unlike the poor effort on its predecessor, 2010's Clash of the Titans is executed well. For the most part the 3D looks natural and does not suffer from excessive halo (crosstalk) issues or any major "paperdoll" looks. Although I have 3D executed better, this effort demonstrated a very good 2D-to-3D conversion.
Also, besides both excellent 2D and 3D video presentation, the audio is just about flawless. Dialog was well centered and prominent, there was active use of surround channel effects. Sound movement between channels was also well executed with few noticeable dips. There is also a lot of great subwoofer action is this film, so be prepared.
However, the downside is that story and script don't measure to the visual and audio treatment this film received, but forget than, pop the popcorn, open the soda, put on the 3D glasses, and sit down for a fun ride through Greek Mythological adventure-fantasy.
20. Under the Sea
Before the current 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray push, IMAX has been presenting documentaries and nature films in 3D theatrically for quite a while. Now, these wonderful films are being released on 3D Blu-ray Discs. Although these films are short (usually about 40 minutes or so in length), they are great additions to a home 3D movie library.
One of the best of these films is Under The Sea. I will say upfront that in my opinion the narration provided by Jim Carrey isn't all that impressive to me, but what you see on the screen is just amazing. You are taken down into an undersea world where we get the chance to see creatures that very few humans get to see in their natural environment, if at all.
Also, the added bonus of 3D gives the feeling that that undersea is alive in your viewing room. Watch for that shark and don't let the sea lions jump out of the screen. You even get to enter the world of the Leafy Sea Dragon, a creature that is camouflaged so well, you would almost certainly miss it, even at close range. This film demonstrates what 3D does best, bringing aspects of our world to us that we may never be able to go to ourselves.