With his new film, director Robert Zemeckis has worked to recreate one of the greatest stunts ever performed. In 1974, French acrobat Philippe Petit strung a wire between the Twin Towers and, with jaw-dropping skill and balance, actually managed to walk across it. This story was previously told in the James Marsh-directed documentary Man on Wire, but now Zemeckis has crafted it into a feature and is bringing it to the big screen with The Walk. But is it worth the extra few bucks to see it in 3D?
As we do with every newly released 3D film, we’ve broken down the experience watching The Walk into multiple categories to determine exactly the best way to see the movie on the big screen. To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question! So read on for the answer…
I wouldn’t normally put a movie that essentially follows a heist structure into the category of "must see in 3D," but The Walk is unique. The entire concept of high wire walking is perfect for the format, as filmmakers should do everything that can to create a sense of distance between the performer and the ground below. Zemeckis’ movie captures perhaps the most extraordinary bit of high wire walking that the world has ever seen, so calling it a fit for 3D is kind of an understatement.
Planning & Effort Score
While there were a few years where Robert Zemeckis specifically earned a reputation for making movies entirely with performance capture, the filmmaker was also one of the director’s leading the charge for 3D. As a result of this, he has had a habit of considering the extra-dimensional approach when taking on new projects, and The Walk is no exception. He had both 3D and IMAX in mind when he conceived of making the film, and while he made the decision to post-convert instead of using dual-cameras, there was every effort made along the way to enhance the theatrical experience.
Before the Window Score
Robert Zemeckis is a filmmaker who, through years of experience, has learned the importance of utilizing all aspects of 3D. This means not only creating a sense of depth, but also having objects flying out of the screen at the audience. The director makes a regular habit of adding exclamation points to sequences using the "Before The Window" aspect of the added dimension, whether it’s by having characters juggle items close to a movie-goer’s face, or dropping an extended length of cable on their heads. It’s exciting and fun, and really what the 3D experience was made for.
Beyond the Window Score
Are you afraid of heights? Do you get dizzy when standing on tall buildings? Well, one might ask why you took an interest in The Walk in the first place, but let me take this opportunity to tell you that you may want to avoid seeing the movie in 3D. And I mean that as a compliment. The use of depth is absolutely spectacular throughout the film, the lead character’s craft regularly lending opportunity for depth and distance to be important, and the third act is invigoratingly vertigo-inducing for reasons I’m sure you can guess. These moments honestly help define exactly why the film should have been made.
The Walk certainly has its moments of drama, doubt, and darkness, but what Zemeckis has made is very much a happy film about dreamers that is, for the most part, very bright. This is very much reflected in the movie, and it stands out even through the grey filter added by 3D glasses. Even the scenes set at night and in dark corners don’t get muddied by the unfortunate side of 3D technology. Admittedly this category is somewhat subjective, as different theaters are going to have their projectors set to different brightness settings, but my experience watching The Walk was extraordinary.
Glasses Off Score
When watching a movie, a quick and easy way to see how much bang you’re getting for your 3D buck is simply to lift up your glasses and take a look at the screen. Doing this actually reveals the artificially created layers that create the 3D experience, and really great 3D movies are actually rather unwatchable in this way. While watching The Walk, I took regular opportunity to take a peek over the rim of my glasses – both for showier and slower scenes – and I was impressed every single time. This film was purposefully crafted for the extra dimensional experience, and it shows.
Audience Health Score
Poorly made 3D can sometimes leave audiences feeling nauseous, motion sick, or headachy, as filmmakers fail to create strong focal points that prevent the eyes from wandering around the screen. Given all that you’ve read here, surely nobody will be surprised when I say that The Walk doesn’t have this problem. Sure, the aforementioned vertigo did leave my head spinning a bit, but that was ultimately something to applaud the film for, not scold.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: We don’t give them out all that often, but yes, what you’re looking at above is a perfect score. The Walk is a film that was very much developed with the full 3D IMAX experience in mind, and the results are nothing short of spectacular. Every aspect of the presentation is wonderful, and it really presents the movie with an impact that you really just won’t get with 2D. When you buy a ticket for this one, definitely shell out a few extra bucks and grab some glasses.
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NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.