Disney film's 3-D effects fall short of eye-popping

The Gripe

The Gripe

March 30, 2007|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critic

It's great that 3-D technology is making a comeback at the movies. Disney's Meet the Robinsons, which opens today, is being shown in what is being called "Disney Digital 3-D" in selected theaters, affording a whole new generation of moviegoers the chance to experience the joy of watching a movie while wearing funny glasses.

But it's sad that much of the fun seems to have gone out of the 3-D experience. With films from the 1950s, the Golden Age of 3-D, audiences could always count on a couple of extraordinarily cool effects, moments that may have seemed unnecessary to the movie but looked great in that third dimension. In House of Wax (1953), for instance, there was a guy operating one of those paddle-ball toys, with a rubber ball attached to a long elastic band. Sitting in the theater, that ball jumped off the screen and seemed to come within inches of your nose.

Even the oft-maligned 3-D revival of the 1980s had its moments, including an infamously eye-popping moment from Friday 13th Part III (1982) that nobody who saw it will forget.

Sadly, Meet the Robinsons barely takes advantage of the added dimension. In fact, the best 3-D moments come before the film even starts, when a promo spot featuring Carl the Robot lets everyone know what to expect. The spot promises an extra-dimensional good time that the film simply doesn't deliver.

Makes one yearn for the days when the Three Stooges, in 3-D, pointed a hypodermic needle right at the audience. Now that's entertainment!

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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