Pixels is invading cinema screens this weekend, with an assortment of retro video game characters and one hell of a color palette in its arsenal. Strangely enough, this film has the honor of being Adam Sandler’s first live action 3D film. But is it worth crossing the third dimension with your extra cash, or is it a better idea to go for the flatter, more traditional 2D presentation? There’s only one way to settle this debate, which means it’s time for another installment of To 3D Or Not To 3D!
While we won’t be going into the quality of the film itself, which is already covered in our theatrical review, we’ll be diving into the quality of the 3D effect used in Pixels’ glasses enhanced presentation! Ready your quarters, put on your best 3D compatible shades, and prepare to game on as we evaluate the power of Pixels in 3D.
While old fashioned arcade games are traditionally flat 2D affairs, much like a typical Adam Sandler comedy, the concept of Pixels was presented as a film that could make a good 3D romp. 2D characters becoming 3D creatures that terrorize the world, and with colorful vision from Christopher Columbus to boot? Sounds like a good idea to us. Provided, of course, that those involved manage to put in the time and effort to make it worth our eyes.
Planning & Effort Score
When Pixels was originally proposed, it was announced as a 3D animated film. In an era where 3D seems like an afterthought, this project was born as an eye popper from day one. While the animated portion was obviously 86’d, the 3D was still on the table from the get-go. Gener8 Digital Media were the forces behind the conversion of the film itself, with Prime Focus World assisting in the 3D conversion of the visual effects.
Before the Window Score
If a 3D movie can make you flinch, there’s a good chance that it’s doing its job before the window. In the case of Pixels, this is definitely true. There are some well-framed shots that throw the action at the audience. A particularly aggressive game of Pong with the Taj Mahal, and an action set piece in Washington D.C. are the standouts when it comes to the before the window factor. But perhaps the best usage of this 3D element is during video game sequences in the beginning of the film, where elements fill the spaces of the screen that aren’t’ focused on the combatants.
Beyond the Window Score
The beyond the window factor is one of the most frequently underutilized in a 3D conversion. Yet somehow, Pixels manages to include a fair degree of depth in its picture. While the film consistently displays clear lines of spatial depth between characters, there is also some pretty impressive depth with some of the environments. The beginning of the Pac Man sequence shows a particularly impressive shot that includes an impressively deep shot focusing on an event blocks away from the camera.
There are a couple of hiccups in Pixels’s 3D conversion. One is the film’s brightness factor, as the rich color palette is dimmed a bit by the glasses that audience members must wear. Thankfully, the film is colorful enough to overcome a lot of the limitations of its medium. While it’s slightly dimmed, it still catches the eye. Of course, your mileage may vary with this factor, depending on how well calibrated your local theater is with its 3D showings.
Glasses Off Score
There’s a positive degree of blur present in Pixels when one looks over the frames of their glasses, particularly with the sequences of action and movement. But if you take your glasses off at the right moment during the film, you can see that the 3D blur is merely decent when it comes to smaller, more conversation heavy moments. Even then, the background usually comes alive with a good deal layering to add depth,
Audience Health Score
In a summer where there have been a couple big ticket conversions that mess with your eyes, there isn’t too much of a problem with the 3D presentation of Pixels. In fact, there was only one moment of wonkiness, and it was a brief second long bit that passed as quickly as it came, and most of the film has strongly established focal points that prevent the motion sickness felt by some moviegoers.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: Pixels is a hell of a lot of fun in the 3D format, and though I didn’t see it in the format, I imagine that it will richly benefit from the IMAX/Premium Large Format treatment just as well. With surprising depth, a lot of flinch inducing moments, and some impressive coloring, you’ll be in for a visual treat if you choose to don the glasses.
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.