To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Sherlock Gnomes Ticket

Sherlock Gnomes Sherlock and Watson beside Gnomeo and Juliet in the garden

In case you were unaware, the sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet is landing in theaters this weekend. And much like its predecessor before it, Sherlock Gnomes is ready to entertain its audience with its own version of 3D thrills. But is this long promised sequel best enjoyed with or without the aide of darkly colored glasses?

It's time to investigate for ourselves, as we're about to answer one of our favorite questions: to 3D or not to 3D? Should you want to see how we rated the film itself, you can head over to our official review to find out. But if you're more curious about how the 3D presentation of Sherlock Gnomes measures up, then stick around!

Kid movies tend to be really good fits for 3D conversions, as they can contain genuinely eye popping thrills that dazzle under the right conditions. Just looking at the visuals and whimsy that Sherlock Gnomes has on display is enough to show even the casual observer that a proper presentation with third dimensional enhancements could be a feast for the eyes. In concept, this should work really well.

Unfortunately, the visuals in Sherlock Gnomes' 3D conversion are hampered by two factors that should never have been a problem. Not only are the brightness levels horrible, in a film that screams "Colors!" from the word go, but there are several hand-drawn animations that are left in 2D throughout the film. How these factors were so overlooked is a mystery, but this film is not going to be a friend to your eyes.

When a 3D film manages to throw objects out of the window of view, it's known as going "before the window." It's an achievement that most films can pull off to a minor degree, much like the one seen in Sherlock Gnomes, where there's some stand out effects that pop out of the screen. And yet, for the moments that the film gets right involving rolling pins pointed at the audience, or Doctor Watson's retractable cane flying into the air, the film doesn't consistently play to that level of spectacle.

As far as the factors "beyond the window" in Sherlock Gnomes, there's no overt problems that ruin the film's visuals. The backgrounds are crisp and active, with characters being properly separated with correct spatial reasoning. There's also no flatness to the backdrops, though they don't reach as far as a highest tier 3D conversion would reach. Still, there's enough detail to get lost in if you peer deep enough into any frame of the film that isn't a 2D sequence.

For a movie as colorful as Sherlock Gnomes is, the brightness of the picture is so dimmed that it kind of strains the eyes. If you were to lift your glasses off, you could see the level of color that's actually present in the film's visual component. But putting your glasses back on turns the picture into a washed out mess. Though at the very least, the night sequences can still be watched without too many problems, as they fit right in with the overall consistency of the picture. Please note, this is a subjective problem, as it also depends on how well the theater showing the film maintains their projector while switching between 2D and 3D showings.

A good 3D film tends to blur the lines not only between the audience and the movie they're watching, but also, quite literally, the image itself. With Sherlock Gnomes, there's some decent blur throughout the film, with the standard 2D anchors to let the rest of the film fly free around. This lends to good depth of picture, and some decent projection of objects beyond the window. And then the film trips over its feet by including not one, but several, 2D sequences that interrupt the flow of the film's 3D presentation. They don't even try to turn the hand drawn animation into a 3D image, they just let it play as is.

As far as motion sickness goes, Sherlock Gnomes will give you gnome problems at all. The action does wonk out a little bit, but for the most part, the images are steady and watchable. And yet, the problem with the lack of brightness in the picture being shown is the bigger threat to your eyes, as it tends to strain the viewer's senses a bit. This error is only compounded by the fact that once you lift your glasses for a break, you'll see all the color you need.

If there's a 3D theater that you trust to keep its equipment in perfect order, and if absolutely have to see Sherlock Gnomes in 3D, then there's a shot this might work in this premium format. But even then, there's a chance that you might want to save the extra money on tickets and wait for a 2D matinee to open up. The conversion isn't very impressive, and acts more as a cash grab, rather than a visual enhancement.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.