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Believe it or not, it's time for another Underworld movie. With Underworld: Blood Wars hitting theaters this weekend, there were two questions on our minds: is the blood sucking, ass kicking franchise still any good, and is it 3D worthy? That's right folks, Selene and her pals were rolled out in the third dimension, and as such it's time to render judgement on the ultimate matter: To 3D or Not To 3D?
While we won't be evaluating the film's actual thematic content here, you'll be able to read our proper review here. Otherwise, it's time to load up for another Underworld movie, as well as yet another installment of "To 3D or Not To 3D!"
Honestly, who thought an Underworld movie needed to be in 3D? While there's certainly a lot of action in Underworld: Blood Wars, none of it is really the sort of stuff you'd say is 3D worthy. It's hard to think of the 3D format being added to the Underworld series as anything more than cash grab, and Underworld: Blood Wars only proves it.
The use of 3D in Underworld: Blood Wars is pretty bad. So bad in fact that it'd be hard to think that Sony didn't order a 3D conversion at the last possible second, in order to squeeze some 3D dollars out of the audience. There's no real "wow" factor to this. In fact, it's barely a 3D movie to begin with. This comes from a less than stellar conversion, and some pretty horrific efforts when it comes to certain crucial factors of the 3D process.
When a film uses the "Before The Window" potential to its greatest 3D extent, the audience may flinch at what looks like objects flying towards them off the screen. Underworld: Blood Wars manages to handicap its 3D presence enough that objects do look like they'll fly out at the audience, only to stop short and remain part of the picture. The spatial reasoning of characters and objects separating from their landscapes is decent enough. However, this doesn't make up for the film's greatest failing.
I'm hardly able to say this, and this is considering the lame-o post-conversion jobs I've seen in "To 3D or Not To 3D" history. There is no "beyond the window" effect for Underworld: Blood Wars. While characters and objects do pop out of the backgrounds provided, there's literally no depths to these pictures. This movie feels like one, gigantic image of flatness that things pop off of. That's good for a pop-up book, but lousy for a motion picture.
Out of all of the factors that Underworld: Blood Wars could excel in, it picked two of the most out of the way categories to earn high marks within. One such field was in the brightness category, as the film actually manages to stay watchable throughout a film that's mostly told at night, and through various shades of darkness. For a movie that has several moonlight battles, and outfits in varying shades of black, you can actually see Underworld: Blood Wars through your 3D glasses. It's still a little darker than the image presented without the glasses though. Your mileage may vary though, as some theaters don't calibrate their 3D projectors properly when switching back from 2D.
There are large sections of Underworld: Blood Wars that feel like there's no blur at work at all. Figures front and center aren't very blurry, leaving the background to take on whatever blur there is. However, with most of the background elements already being blurred in focus, one has to wonder how much of the supposed blur effect needed to convey depth is truly there.
The lone perfect score for Underworld: Blood Wars' 3D score is in the department of audience health. Though, to be fair, if your 3D presentation barely scrapes the surface of the third dimension, then audience health will never be an issue. There's no effect that taxes the viewing experience, and the brightness is at an adequate level that it doesn't hurt your eyes. So if you have to see this movie in 3D, you're certainly not going to get sick, until you remember you paid 3D prices for a sub-par 3D showing.
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