Uniting the worlds and casts of the first three X-Men
movies and the prequel X-Men: First Class
, here comes X-Men: Days Of Future Past
. When genocidal robot sentinels bring the mutant race to the brink of extinction, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and his team work together to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973, where he must change the past to prevent this horrendous future.
Our theatrical review
will weigh in on whether or not this new release is worth your time, while this column will focus solely on the film's use of 3D. Considering seven separate categories, To 3D Or Not To 3D evaluates the full scope of the 3D viewing experience. Think of it as a consumer's guide for your movie-going, complete with a viewers poll where you can weigh in on how you plan to see X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Note: This reviewer screened a Real D 3D version of the film.
On paper, X-Men: Days Of Future Past
makes tons of sense as a 3D film. After all, it's an action movie with characters who can fly, manipulate objects with their minds, and create all kinds of destruction. It seems an X-Men outing would be a sensational venue for the 3D device.
Planning & Effort Score
Director Bryan Singer announced his plans to shoot in 3D stereo
a month before principal photography began in April of 2013. Prior to that, he had shot Jack The Giant Slayer in 3D
with cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel. They had previously collaborated on X-Men
, so they appeared a perfect pair to bring the franchise into 3D. Arri Alexa-M cameras with Leica Primes and Fujinon Zooms were used to shoot the film. All in all, it would appear that the 3D was planned for well in advance. It's a shame it doesn't show.
Before the Window Score
When it seems like elements of the movie are coming out into the theater at you, that's Before The Window. To many, it's the most exhilarating aspect of 3D. Those people will be wildly disappointed in X-Men: Days Of Future Past
's use of 3D. I did notice some snowflakes seemed to flutter out beyond the screen, and maybe if I squinted a gun barrel. But at no point did this aspect of 3D make much of an impact during this actioner's runningtime.
Beyond the Window Score
Alternately, this is the aspect of 3D that gives sets and locations a more profound sense of depth. Unfortunately, Singer doesn't seem to care much for showing us backgrounds here. X-Men: Days Of Future Past
's settings are often cloaked in shadows, fog, hazy sunshine, or are just out of focus. This undercuts the depth of field 3D would provide in sprawling mansions and towering temples. However, it does add some oomph to a set piece set in a high tech prison, as well as the finale that is thankfully spared Singer's hazy filters. But there's another issue in that Sigel's shot choices tend to favor close-ups, which give us little opportunity to see much beyond the heads of our heroes.
When you put those 3D glasses on, things get dimmer. A good 3D print will accommodate accordingly so you don't miss a thing. Several of X-Men's best action sequences are brightly lit, and don't suffer at all from this dimming of 3D glasses. Then there are the scenes set in a future that is metaphorically and literally dark. There details definitely get lost in the murk and leave audiences squinting.
A simple test to essentially see with your naked eye how much 3D is being used on screen, all you need do is take your glasses off. I ran this test a couple of times. In a big action set piece with wide shots, there was a fair amount of 3D in play. But in close ups, I could (and for a bit did) watch the movie without my glasses, seeing virtually no difference.
Audience Health Score
I was frankly surprised to learn that X-Men: Days Of Future Past
was shot in 3D because I found the final results so physically jarring. Sigel employs pan shots through the film, which in 2D probably looking sweeping and subtle. In 3D, as we glide past an out of focus foreground element to focus on one of our heroes, my eyes were jittery in trying to focus, causing lots of blinking. Two-thirds of the way through, the collision of the cinematography and 3D had created a dull ache behind my eyes that developed into a dizzying headache by movie's end.