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Magic is in the air once again as Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them hits theaters! With the past history of the Harry Potter universe coming to light, there's more opportunities for a story to be told - and for the magic to hit the screen through a 3D presentation. So naturally, when a movie decides to weave a 3D spell over its end product, we'll be there to ask the biggest question of all: to 3D, or not to 3D?
If you're looking for the proper review of the film's actual content, you'll need to go here and read our official review. But if you're more interested in whether Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is worth the extra 3D money, or if you're better off buying a natty overcoat in the fashion of Newt Scamander's, then you've come to the right place. Without further ado, raise your wands and follow us as we evaluate this film's 3D status.
The Harry Potter franchise dove into the 3D waters with the IMAX presentations of Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince, with a full-fledged 3D platform release happening by the time both parts of The Deathly Hallows had been completed. So to start the Fantastic Beasts leg of the journey in 3D seems like an extremely solid idea, rather than just a last minute format change.
For the most part, the 3D in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is pretty well planned. A lot of elements are in play with the film's third dimensional enhancement, and if you see the film in IMAX 3D, there's a lot of "frame breaking" that sees elements of the film jump out of the letterboxed image. Unfortunately, the screening we caught for this review was in standard 3D, and in that format alone, two major factors suffered, which makes us question the planning & effort portion as well.
With all of the creatures and environmental effects flying about in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, there is certainly a lot of objects that can come flying out of the screen. Luckily for the audience, the objects that project outward are actually pretty decent. Unfortunately, the lack of focus on some of the creatures jumping out at the audience manages to dock the score just a little bit, despite mostly getting it right.
While most 3D films tended to screw up the illusion of depth in their picture, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them stays on the straight and narrow. Standard spacial reasoning, and some decent depths to the backgrounds, help this part of the film's score stay pretty much on par with the "Before The Window" score you see above.
This is the truly upsetting portion of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them's 3D variant, as the entire film is so dark, it's hard to figure out what's going on. Your mileage may vary depending on where you're seeing the film, as individual theaters may not calibrate their projectors properly. So either the theater that screened our version of the film was horribly calibrated, or the film's 3D is a dim mess.
If there's one thing that this film got perfect, it's the blur effects involved with the visuals. There's a good amount of blur throughout Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and it shows with both the depth of picture and the eye-popping visuals of the film. Even better, the film is all the more brighter when you take your glasses off, so that gives your eyes a rest.
With the element of "flying newspapers" being used more than once in the Harry Potter series, and in 3D nonetheless, you'd think it'd be an easy effect to master. And yet somehow, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them manages to bungle this effect, as its one of the many times that the visuals become dizzying, and not in the right way. This film is a strain on the eyes in 3D, thanks to the brightness and lack of focus that plague pieces of this film's visuals.
Honestly, unless the IMAX 3D format improves upon the experience, or if our screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was an outlier for some reason or another, we really can't recommend this film in 3D. The issues with brightness alone makes us hesitant, and the audience health issue only further compounds our rejection.