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A whole new world awaits fans of Aladdin, as the Guy Ritchie directed remake is now in theaters. Disney’s latest live-action pet project has taken the story of Agrabah’s favorite street rat with a friend of infinite cosmic powers, and turned it into a spectacular musical of proportions it’s never known before. Which means it’s a good time to throw in a 3D conversion for good measure, asking that time tested question: to 3D, or not to 3D?
If you’re curious how we felt about the movie itself, you can read our Aladdin review and find out. Otherwise, it’s time to find out if this round of Disney magic is worth the extra 3D ticket money, or if you’re better off saving that money for a bus out to the Cave of Wonders. Let’s see if Aladdin’s 3D is a diamond in the rough worth mining.
With a magical genie that can conjure any and everything your heart desires, Aladdin feels like the sort of movie that would be a perfect fit for 3D magic. As a live-action adaptation of a Disney movie, the business model basically builds the possibility right in at the ground floor, so seeing a film such as this take advantage of a 3D double dip isn’t surprising. In fact, it’s expected, with the intention of making the action all the more immersive in the best case scenario.
For a film that should easily lend itself to a high level of 3D spectacle, Aladdin doesn’t do as good of a job as it should in conveying the third dimensional thrills it could have. The quotient of eye popping thrills isn’t near as impressive as the depth of picture draw in the film’s backgrounds. And even in terms of the depths that Aladdin engages in, there’s still some holding back in that regard. Not to mention, there’s some problems with the brightness, and a couple pieces that mess with the audience’s eyes. In short, there’s something missing from each of Aladdin’s key 3D factors.
When Aladdin chooses to use its ability to poke through the 3D window, it can be beautiful to look at. So if the movie had taken more opportunities to push through the window that separates the viewer from the material, it would have been more on par with a satisfactory 3D experience. That's not what happens in Aladdin though, as the only moments that really jump out at the audience are some sequences with Will Smith's Genie. And even then, those shots are rare enough that the third dimensional enhancements aren't being used to their full potential.
The same problems that plague items projecting out of the screen also hamper the depths of Aladdin's picture. Though, it's not as bad when it comes to this particular factor, as there's crisp separations between characters and environments, as well as each other. But past that spatial reasoning, the depth of the backgrounds only goes so far, as there's never a feeling of infinite distance hiding behind any particular scene.
Between proper maintenance of an individual theater's equipment, and the tinting of the glasses used in a 3D showing, a colorful film like Aladdin has the potential to be washed out and dimmed in its appearance. While your mileage may vary because of those factors, this film was seen in a trusted 3D projection theater, and it still fell short. The film's subdued, yet vibrant color palette is dimmed out a little too much. Though on the bright side, nighttime scenes aren't washed out to the point where they're unwatchable. You can see this film clearly, but the colors are diminished in the process.
The blur of a 3D image can dictate how well the depth and projection of a 3D picture is created. And in the case of Aladdin, there's a decent level of blurred imagery that occupies the screen. So should your eyes get tired from the dimness of the screen, or the hectic motions that some of the film's cuts induce, you'll be able to see a good level of blur once you remove your glasses. There are moments where 2D anchor points seem to dominate the scene, but subtle levels of blur to come into view, making things a little more 3D friendly.
As if the dimness of the picture wasn't enough to stimy the audience's eyes in Aladdin, there is a mixture of frequent and quick cuts in a scene that mess with the 3D effects being presented on the screen. Not to mention, some of the Genie's special magical effects and transporting effects flash by so fast, it barely has time to register in 3D, leaving the eyes confused. By the end of this experience, there was a fair amount of eyestrain experienced by the viewer.
|3D Scores Recap|
|3D Fit Score||5|
|Planning & Effort Score||3|
|Before the Window Score||2|
|Beyond the Window Score||3|
|Glasses Off Score||4|
|Audience Health Score||3|
Aladdin is an ok 3D experience, but definitely not required by any stretch of the imagination. The end product isn't as exciting or thrilling as it should be, leaving the audience watching the same old world from the same old point of view. If you're going to see this film in 3D, seek out a theater you trust to maintain their experience at the correct level of enjoyment. But even then, you're probably better off going to a premium format experience.
Be sure to visit our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive.