As the Enterprise crew embarks on their third mission into the theaters of Earth, the final frontier is about to strike back as Star Trek Beyond crosses into the line of action and adventure once more. So, of course, Paramount was wise enough to try and cash in on the adventures of Captain Kirk and his intrepid crew by providing the audience a third dimension friendly option to enjoy. But is it worth the extra money, or time, considering money is an outmoded concept in the future of the Federation?
Well, that's where we come in, as we're about to ask one of our favorite questions here at Cinema Blend: To 3D, or Not To 3D? While we've already reviewed the film, resulting in the review you can read at this link here, we're going to separately evaluate the 3D presentation of Star Trek Beyond through the aid of our usual criteria of excellence. So strap in, and brace yourself, as we're about to go to full impulse engines in order to help you decide if the latest Star Trek adventure is worth your 3D dollars.
To say that a Star Trek film doesn't fit the 3D mold is something that is not only incorrect, it's just downright dishonest. With ships flying hither and thither, proton torpedoes whizzing about to meet their target, and now an awesome ship that looks like it's built on the same engineering principle as a block of Buckyballs, 3D couldn't be a better fit if it tried. Star Trek Beyond is a pretty great fit when it comes to the 3D format.
Stereo-D is mentioned in the credits as the conversion house that worked on making Star Trek Beyond into the 3D wonder that it is. While it does have some drawbacks in its 3D conversion, there's no doubt that the team that worked on the film put in a lot of time and effort into making this a 3D conversion to remember. You just simply don't get a picture this fantastic without putting a lot of work into it, and it's made all the difference.
Unfortunately, for as great of a 3D conversion job that's been done on Star Trek Beyond, there are a couple of fields that didn't get as much love as they should have. The "Before The Window" factor is most definitely one of them, as there's only a couple limited sequences that really poked out of the frame. For the most part though, the torpedoes, phaser blasts, and projectile objects are kept inside of the frame. In a movie where a swarm of enemy ships hurt themselves in to the hull of the Enterprise, there should be more of a wow factor when it comes to objects flying out of frame.
Holy depth perception! Star Trek Beyond is probably one of the best usages of spatial reasoning and the illusion of depth that I've seen all year. Characters are clearly delineated, background and foreground effects elements have their own piece of the screen, and even the facial and bodily features of our characters are well defined. You might not have a lot of objects being flung in your face, but your eyes could happily drown in the depths of the picture you're viewing.
For about 90% of its running time, Star Trek Beyond manages to keep a pretty good hold on the brightness factor of the images being shown. Unfortunately, a mark is taken off for some of the nighttime sequences on the film's central planet of action. This is especially disappointing because the space combat / cruising scenes are pretty bright and vibrant when on screen. While this isn't a deal breaker, it was certainly enough for us to notice. Please note: your mileage may vary with this segment, as your local theater may or may not have their projectors properly calibrated for their 3D presentations.
If your 3D presentation has an impressive depth to its picture, chances are it's going to have moments where the image gets to be quite blurry when you take your glasses off. In the case of Star Trek Beyond, there is quite a bit of blur to go around at any given moment in the film. In particular, there are sequences where the blur is contained in the background elements of the picture, helping to draw a sharper contrast between the actors and their surroundings. However, there are also some purely digital effects shots that are blurry all over, as the finer details of the full picture are manipulated for your pleasure.
Films that contain a lot of aerial combat and sweeping shots of tracking can be a pain in the ass when it comes to their 3D conversion. The worst case scenario results in a scene that causes your eyes to wonk out a little bit, making the scene hard to watch. However, there were no such moments in the 3D presentation of Star Trek Beyond. Like a well maintained starship, the viewing experience is as smooth at one quarter impulse as is when entering full warp.