Family wearing 3-D glasses
As a small child in 1986, I sat down in a Disneyland theater to watch a 17-minute short called 'Captain EO' in 3-D. The Supreme Leader's long fingernails seemed like they were going to scratch my face. I just knew I could reach out and touch Michael Jackson's furry sidekick, Fuzzball.

'Captain EO' just came out of Disney's vault and is playing again at Disneyland. When I saw it recently, I was reminded how great 3-D can be: you forget you're wearing dorky-looking glasses, and you really feel that you're a part of the action.

Then I went to see 'Clash of the Titans' in 3-D, and now I'm wondering: Can truly great 3-D be sustained for two hours? And, is the extra four dollars worth it? Family wearing 3-D glasses
As a small child in 1986, I sat down in a Disneyland theater to watch a 17-minute short called 'Captain EO' in 3-D. The Supreme Leader's long fingernails seemed like they were going to scratch my face. I just knew I could reach out and touch Michael Jackson's furry sidekick, Fuzzball.

'Captain EO' just came out of Disney's vault and is playing again at Disneyland. When I saw it recently, I was reminded how great 3-D can be: you forget you're wearing dorky-looking glasses, and you really feel that you're a part of the action.

Then I went to see 'Clash of the Titans' in 3-D, and now I'm wondering: Can truly great 3-D be sustained for two hours? And, is the extra four dollars worth it?

It is unbelievable to me that a regular movie in the Los Angeles area costs $12. Take a date or your family, and you're easily in for a $100 evening. Spending that kind of money sets my expectation level very high. And when I'm paying $16 for 3-D, that 3-D experience had better do for me what Michael Jackson did in 'Captain EO' 24 years ago.

The first 3-D movie I paid to see in a theater that didn't require blue and red lenses was 'Disney's A Christmas Carol'. The first thing that struck me were the snowflakes that seemed to be falling off the screen -- they felt winter-y. In other words, the 3-D enhanced the emotion of a Christmas movie I was watching within days of Halloween. But, other than the snowflakes, I don't remember to much else about the movie as a 3-D experience.

I'll be the first to admit that the 3-D in 'Avatar' impressed the heck outta me. Director James Cameron reclaimed his crown as "king of the [movie] world" with his innovations that made the jungles of Pandora exist in my eyes. That realness made the extra cash to see it in 3-D worth spending.

Clash of the TitansBut that accomplishment is overshadowed by the likes of 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Clash of the Titans.' Unlike 'Avatar,' which was shot in 3-D, and 'Disney's A Christmas Carol,' which was made in 3-D, these two movies were "upconverted." Put more clearly, the director shot the film with a regular camera, saw 'Avatar' smash all box office records ($742.5-million domestically) and decided to turn his 2-D film into a 3-D extravaganza. And what's sad is, movies like this have all come up short.

In the same way that 'Captain EO's' Supreme Leader's nails almost scratched my face, 'Alice's' Red Queen should have pointed her finger at me as she screamed, "Off with her head!" The same way 'EO's' Fuzzball flew right into my face, 'Clash's' Pegasus' could have flown, well, right into my face. Instead, the enhancement felt like a waste.

Will I see a 3-D movie again? Absolutely! I think that 'Toy Story 3', made as a 3-D film, will knock my socks off. But if they decide to "upconvert" 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse'? I'll save my money and see it as it was filmed, in 2-D.

Plus I can always use my money to go back to Disneyland, although that's not a cheap ticket either.
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