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Normally we kick off these articles by telling you that one of the biggest decisions you'll face this weekend is not whether to see this movie, but whether or not to see it in 3D. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is being released into theaters in both 2D and 3D formats, but we think there's a much larger issue here: Should you be high while you see it?
If you're interested in a review of the film go here. That's not what this is.
The truth is that A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is so full of 3D gimmicks that there's really no point in seeing it at all unless you see it in 3D. Not because the 3D is any good really, but because there's so many of them that if you see it in 2D you'll end up watching a guy waving his cane at the screen for no discernible reason. Half the jokes won't even work. So rather than evaluating whether you need to see this movie in 3D, in this very special edition of To 3D Or Not To 3D we set out to determine whether you need to be high while wearing those silly 3D glasses, in order to enjoy it. Read on…
Does It Fit?
Stoners love ridiculous flashing lights and stupid special effects. They're easily amused. There's a reason Pink Floyd employed all those mad laser lights. Putting a movie for and about stoners in 3D is such a natural fit that it's amazing it's taken them this long to do it.
Planning & Effort
If you're really high while you see this you won't care that a lot of the shots in the movie weren't so much filmed in 3D as CGI'd in 3D. The movie's answer to almost every 3D challenge is to render it in CGI. Even a Christmas tree, which another director might have just stuck a 3D camera in front of while he threw it out the window to get the proper effect, was for some reason rendered in CG. So yeah, I guess they did put a lot of planning and effort into this, but of a very strange variety which seems like it only serves to make the movie's 3D worse. I guess this is stoner logic at work.
Beyond the Window
3D can be used to create the illusion of depth on a screen, and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas sort of does that. It works especially well in the movie's claymation scene, but there's also a few gags involving robots. The whole robots and waffles thing is probably best enjoyed stoned but the 3D surrounding it doesn't really need weed to work. There's no need at all to be stoned to enjoy that, but it can't hurt.
Before the Window
3D can also be used to make it look like things are flying out of the screen at you, and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas does a ton of that, usually in the most gimmicky ways possible. Worse most of it seems to be done with computer generated graphics of questionable quality and only occasionally used. The filmmakers would say they were doing all of this sarcastically, but I just saw a bunch of meh 3D effects and one good scene where Patton Oswalt blows smoke at the camera. If you're not high it kind of sucks but if you are stoned all you'll really notice is the tons of bright colors used and the crazy way stuff keeps bounding towards the camera, when it happens. You may even try to inhale some of Patton Oswalt's smoke. Toke up.
Because you're basically wearing sunglasses to watch this movie in 3D, a lot of the time it makes the picture dim and dreary. But A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is filmed in a way that's basically bright and cheery. It's full of Christmas lights, and oh yeah there's that claymation and robots stuff again. It's never dim and that helps compensate for the fact that you're wearing sunglasses. You don't need to be high to enjoy any of this, but if you are high, feel free to keep the 3D glasses on when you walk out. It's a great way to conceal your red eye.
The Glasses Off Test
If you take your glasses off while watching a 3D movie, you'll see the picture get all blurry. The simplest way to explain this is that the blurrier the picture gets, the more the movie uses 3D. So to test this I took my glasses off during A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, and things got pretty blurry indeed. You'd definitely need to be really high to enjoy watching this movie without your glasses on. Bonus points if you're so high that the movie looks blurry even with your glasses on.
Marijuana effects different people differently, but I watched this movie sober and it made me a little queasy. Just imagine what it might do to you spend the entire film munching on pot brownies smuggled into the theater by your buddy's skanky girlfriend. If you're not willing to risk getting sick, don't eat the brownies.
Final Verdict: You don't have to be stoned to watch A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas in 3D, but it'll probably help. Particularly if you're looking for a way to enjoy watching NPH fling confetti at the camera.
For more 3D analysis, visit our To 3D Or Not To 3D archive right here.