Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tron: Legacy; 2D vs. 3D vs. IMAX 3D

So, you're going to see Tron: Legacy this weekend. And you won't be making a mistake by seeing the film. I've reviewed Tron: Legacy and it is a great movie. But which version do you see? It is playing in three versions at the theaters, 2D (2-D), 3D (3-D) or IMAX 3D. In my town, regular 3D costs about two dollars more than 2D, and IMAX 3D costs about eight dollars more than 2D. And in other cities, the costs are even more exorbitant for 3D.

Fear not. I've seen all three versions of Tron: Legacy. So, you don't have to stumble around in the dark, I will give my opinion as to which version you should see.

This judgment will be based on the following grading system. There will be three areas. Spectacle, Clarity, and Biggest Bang for Your Buck. Spectacle is an area where the 3D effects and version combine to make an event that must be seen for the maxi um movie going experience. Clarity is how good the picture looks on the screen, taking into account color and resolution. Biggest Bang for Your Buck is the category where taking into account how much a version costs, will determine how much entertainment value. And remember, I'm talking about 3D effects not the overall special effects which were spectacular. The scale will be from one to ten. Ten being the highest grade and one the lowest. Five is average. So, let's go.

A. Regular 3D (Digital 3D). I first saw Tron: Legacy in this version. For some reason, the picture was blurry and ghosting around the edges. I had to keep my head still. So, was it the film or theater or me? After seeing the IMAX 3D version, I don't think it was me. I'm guessing the theater was not using RealD projectors since my 3D glasses were not RealD.

Anyway, the 3D effects did not have the popping effect, i.e. stand out as if you could touch them. And with all 3D films due to the polarization, it was a little too dark. Thankfully, Tron: Legacy was mostly shot in 3D. So there's less visual mud in dark scenes.

1. Spectacle: The 3D effects add nothing to the story or made me say, "Wow." Even Avatar's (2009) 3D effects didn't do that for me thought that film had the best 3D effects so far. Score is seven.

2. Clarity: Again, it's a little dark. And maybe the theater I saw it, had issues with projection but there was ghosting of other images. But I'm going to grade here that ghosting is not a problem since I've seen many 3D movies without this problem. Score is six.

3. Biggest Bang for Your Buck: The 3D effects are nothing to write home about. And you pay an extra two bucks. Score is six.

4. Total Score: 19


1. Spectacle: IMAX screens are fatter and larger than most movie screens. According to IMAX's website, forty minutes were specifically shot for this projection system. 3D effects are better than regular 3D. You definitely notice them. They pop out. Still, even with the special footage, you don't get anything above and beyond either 3D or 2D version. Score is 8.

2. Clarity: IMAX provides better picture resolution than the average film projection. As for Tron: Legacy, there was no out of focus scenes or ghosting along the edges. The picture is crisp and clean. There is still a slight darkness issue. Yet, this is the best way to view the film in 3D. Score is 8.

3. Biggest Bang for Your Buck: This is the most expensive way of seeing Tron: Legacy. While it's the best way to see the movie in 3D, the special footage and clarity don't make this version so much better that you have to shell out the extra eight bucks to experience Tron: Legacy. Score is 7.

4. Total Score: 23.

C. Regular 2D

1. Spectacle: Well, it's in two dimensions or 2D. Yet, you can tell there is a third dimension by the effects which at times have epic sweeping camera movements. The effects don't pop but so what? Do you really get more when you see a memory disc fly by horizontally in 3D? Anyway, the score here is 6.

2. Clarity: Watching this movie in 2D is like that allergy medicine commercial You know the one where with hay fever, you see things in a haze. Then you take the medicine and your visions is clear. IN THE 2D VERSION, THERE IS NO DARKNESS ISSUE. The 2D picture is bright, crisp and clear.

For example when Quorra and Sam escape in the car, they drive off grid. In all 3D versions, it's so dark I don't notice the texture of the mountain road. In 2D, I see it. I see that she drives into an entrance in a wall in the 2D version to enter Kevin's home. That detail gets lost in the darkness of 3D. And the 3D weakness is made worst by the black color palette that the movie uses.

Oh, and I forgot. You don't need glasses. Freedom. The clarity of picture for 2D is unsurpassed. The score is 9.

3. Biggest Bang for Your Buck: 3D effects don't add anything to this film. You still get spectacular special effects in the 2D version and they are the same shots. Furthermore, 3D effects don't help the movie emotionally. And with 2D, you get a brighter, crisper picture. That's because of the darkness issue with 3D films. The score is 10.

4. Total Score: 25

D. Conclusion: And the winner is the 2D version. You heard that right. You get the same great special effects, a brighter and crisper picture and lose nothing in emotional terms seeing Tron: Legacy in 2D. But whatever version you choose, go see Tron: Legacy. And please buy me a drink at the "End of Line" bar.

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