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Hollywood's top 3D movies

Last updated on: March 16, 2011 16:55 IST

Hollywood's top 3D movies

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

The jury's out on 3D, really. Lots of people hate renting big clunky glasses in theatres, lots of people have headaches but then sometimes 3D can make an otherwise ordinary film quite remarkable, as it overwhelms the senses and gives us an experience beyond expectation.

Now, India will get its very first 3D film with Vikram Bhatt's Haunted.

While we wait for that to come out, here's my list of 10 films that used their 3D very well indeed:

10. Journey To The Center Of The Earth

This 2008 Brendan Fraser-starrer might be the weakest movie on this list, and must have surely devastated fans of Jules Verne, but credit where it's due: it was an eye-popping 3D spectacle. Exploitatively made only to throw things at the audience and make them sit up and react, this film laid on the effects thick and fast.

Not a good film by any standard, but definitely a very effective 3D watch.


Image: A scene from Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

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9. Beowulf

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If you needed a reason to watch this one, here are three words for you: Angelina Jolie naked. Sure, it's just a 3D animated version of her, but there's something to be said about that motion-captured set of curves, right?

Robert Zemeckis couldn't quite get a hold of adapting this epic poem -- not even with a script by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary but some of the set pieces are fun, as is Crispin Glover. Definitely worth a 3D shot, this.


Image: A scene from Beowulf

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8. Polar Express

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Yet another Zemeckis product, this one was a Christmas tale that pushed the boundaries of 3D animation at the time even though Tom Hanks' eyes often looked creepily glassy.

Yet the sheer visual splendor of this film about a young boy rediscovering Christmas by hopping aboard the Polar Express makes it worthwhile. The palette alone is enough of a treat for the senses, and Hanks' voice acting, well, always works.


Image: A scene from Polar Express

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7. My Bloody Valentine

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It's all very well to applaud movies that use 3D organically, by making it a seamless part of the narrative and weaving it in subtly. Then again, 3D never was meant to be subtle, a fact that films like this 2009 slasher film took glorious advantage of.

This B-movie works *only* when in 3D, the makers throwing sharp objects and bulging eyeballs and body parts at the audience and while it might be trash, it's seriously fun trash.


Image: A scene from My Bloody Valentine

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6. Monsters Vs Aliens

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As proved with My Bloody Valentine and the fact that almost all the successful flirtations with 3D cinema in the 1950s were with unimaginative and exploitative B-movies the schlocky horror genre does well in 3D.

What does even better, however, is animation. Which is why Monsters Vs Aliens, a goofy spoof taking on monster movies took advantage of the blatant 3D misuse of horror movies while marrying it with a fun and colourful animated narrative.


Image: A scene from Monsters Vs Aliens

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5. Toy Story 3

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In a perfect marriage of both 3D gimmick throwing things at the screen and waiting for audiences to duck and fantastic emotive storytelling, Pixar's beautifully crafted Toy Story 3 does the job mouthwateringly well.

Buzz and Woody and toys new and old are hurled around and out of the screen with terrific aplomb, but the true focus in this vivid 3D melee is on the storytelling. And on the fact that you can hide your crying eyes behind 3D glasses.


Image: A scene from Toy Story

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4. Up

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Pixar dealt another ace with this lovingly crafted tale of a grumpy old man who flies his house to South America, and the treat was in the telling.

From the bouquet of technicolour balloons that raise Carl Fredricksen's too-big-for-one house to the rabid attack dogs who speak in perfect, if occasionally high-pitched English, this film used 3D cleverly and innovatively. Never to shock, but always to aww. A gem of a film.


Image: A scene from Up

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3. Superman Returns

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Sure, this Bryan Singer film only ever had 20-odd minutes of 3D, but what an experience it was. The deal was that when Clark Kent took his glasses off, you put your 3D glasses on and it was a masterstroke, keeping the only 3D bits when Supe was in action.

And while the film wasn't particularly well-reviewed, we at Rediff loved it [check out Prem Panicker's review and Raja Sen's review], and that action setpiece involving the plane is sheer magic.


Image: A scene from Superman Returns

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2. Coraline

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Henry Selick's gorgeous stop-motion adventure makes it this high up on the list simply because of how painstakingly it has been crafted, and how wonderfully suited every detail is to the 3D experience.

Neil Gaiman's children's book is elegantly creepy, and Selick masterfully uses 3D to create a chilling atmosphere more than just things that pop out at the audience. A stunning film and an absolute must-watch.


Image: A still from Coraline

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1. Avatar

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No prizes for guessing why this revolutionary, theme park-ride of a movie, the biggest film of all time, tops this list. Avatar changed 3D forever.

And here's why.


Image: A scene from Avatar

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