To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 Ticket

By Eric Eisenberg 2011-07-13 03:12:57discussion comments
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Harry Potter is one of the largest film franchises in history, and this Friday it will reach its conclusion with the final installment, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. But while the new movie has all of your favorite characters - except for the ones that have died, that is - and ties up all of the loose hanging threads from the seven previous films, there's one element that sets this release apart from all of the others: for the first audiences will have the option to see Harry Potter in 3D.

You've already read Katey's take on the film overall, but how does the movie handle the new format? Is it worth your extra $4 or are you better off seeing the new movie the same way that you saw all of the others. Read on for our full analysis of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's 3D and make your informed decision.

Does It Fit?
Not every movie is meant to be in 3D. If your movie is all about characters sitting in a room together chatting about the weather you are wasting both time and money trying to apply the new technology. History has dictated that the best applications tend to be in films that are animated/make heavy use of CGI (ex. Avatar, Legends of the Guardians) or have plenty of mind-blowing action (Transformers: Dark of the Moon). In the case of Harry Potter, this is kind of a mixed bag. While there is a good amount of action, it's typically contained to little more than characters using their wands to shoot spells at each other and the amount of CGI has always been kept to a minimal. Throw in the fact that every other Harry Potter has done just fine without 3D and the result is a low fit score.
Fit Score: 2/5

Planning & Effort
Since the re-launch of 3D post-Avatar there has been an ongoing battle between movies filmed using the new tech and those that have post-converted as a money grab. For obvious reasons, movies that are planned and structured with 3D in mind tend to make better use of it. As for Harry Potter, you may remember a report from last year saying that plans to post-convert The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 were cancelled because they simply didn't have time to finish. Though the months since have been used to work on the 3D for The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the subject of the third dimension was a post-production issue, meaning that director David Yates wasn't plotting and planning shots to make best use of the medium. This shows in the final product.
Planning & Effort Score: 2/5

Beyond the Window
We explain this every time we write one of these "To 3D or Not To 3D articles," so I'll do my best to keep the exposition to a minimum. When dealing with three dimensional movies, directors have the capacity to both create a sense of depth as well as moving things off of the screen towards the audience. "Beyond The Window" refers to the former, and, unfortunately, Harry Potter doesn't use it well at all. With the exception of one scene, which I won't detail due to spoilers, the closest the film gets to depth is having a flat character stand visibly stand in front of a flat background. This is often referred to as the "cardboard cutout" effect and, frankly, it looks terrible. Hogwarts is such an incredible location that could have potentially been amazing to explore, but the 3D does none of that.
Beyond The Window Score: 1/5

Before the Window
While "Beyond The Window" was about creating a sense of depth, "Before The Window" refers to the film's ability to have objects and characters reach into the audience and look closer than they appear. Once again, Harry Potter does very little to take advantage of this. Given that the franchise has always featured a great deal of flashy projectiles, it could have been a slam dunk if the film had actually been planned in 3D, but that aspect is never explored. There are one or two moments - not scenes, mind you - that have bits and specs fly into the theater, but it's not nearly enough to make the movie a worthwhile 3D experience.
Before The Window Score: 1/5

Brightness
The battle between brightness and 3D is an intense as the one between Voldemort and Harry, but if 3D is the good guy in this analogy, then I am afraid that this story doesn't have a happy ending. Almost the entire film, which runs at 2+ hours, takes place at night, including the entire Battle of Hogwarts. Because of the film's low-level use of 3D, this means that you are basically watching a 2D movie and merely decided to wear a pair of sunglasses into the theater. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is meant to be dark and gloomy, but this couldn't be what J.K. Rowling had in mind. It should also be noted that I saw the film on a studio lot, so I find it hard to believe that I viewed it with anything other than optimum conditions.
Brightness Score: 1/5

The Glasses Off Test
The glasses may be dark and uncomfortable, but there's a very good reason why you have to wear them during a 3D movie. If you don't, the screen appears to be distorted and blurry as two separate images are being sent to each ocular cavity. What's interesting is that the more blurry the screen is during the Glasses Off Test, the more effective the 3D. As you can probably expect from everything you've read above, Harry Potter doesn't perform exceptionally in this area. With the exception of the one scene mentioned in the Before The Window section - again, spoilers - the movie is almost watchable without the glasses. Taking off your glasses helps with the brightness situation, but unfortunately still hurts your wallet.
Glasses Off Score: 2/5

Audience Health
Some people can't watch 3D movies without intense feelings of motion sickness and terrible headaches. This is often attributed to the movie failing to establish focal points and making the audience constantly search the screen causing eye strain. If there's anything positive that can be said about the 3D in Harry Potter it's that it didn't make me feel sick. I walked out of the theater feeling totally healthy and happy about the film I had just watched, but disappointed that I was forced to watch it in 3D.
Health Score: 5/5

SCORES RECAP
3D Fit2
Planning and Effort2
Beyond The Window1
Before The Window1
Brightness1
The Glasses Off Test2
Audience Health5
Total Score14 (out of a possible 35)

Will you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2D or 3D?

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Final Verdict: Please don't see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 3D. A final score of 14 out of 35 is dreadful and this serves as one of the worst examples of 3D use I've ever seen. Movies like Green Hornet and Green Lantern both made it seem as though post-conversion 3D was getting better, but this new film, in a way, destroys a lot of that progress. Save your money and see the ultimate Harry Potter movie in 2D.

For more 3D analysis, visit our To 3D Or Not To 3D archive right here.
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