Few genres have been as affected by the 3-D boom as the animation genre, as virtually every single animated film now released comes equipped with a 3-D option. (There are a few exceptions to this, of course, including 2011’s Rango.) And while there are some cases in which 3-D is used surprisingly well – 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon, for example – the technology is far too often completely unnecessary. Here, then, are five films that should have been presented in 2-D:
When it comes to 3-D, Pixar’s track record is unfortunately not quite as stellar as one might expect. Though the Disney-owned studio used 3-D beautifully in 2009’s Up – the viewer almost felt as though they were floating in the clouds with Carl Frederickson (Ed Asner) – the technology ultimately wasn’t able to add much to 2010’s highly-anticipated Toy Story 3. The film, which is otherwise flawless and the perfect capper to one of the best trilogies in cinematic history, is never quite able to justify its use of 3-D, as very few scenes in the movie are genuinely, wholeheartedly improved by the added dimension. (If anything, the dark glasses diminished the impact of several key moments – including the now-infamous incinerator sequence.)
2. 'Rio' (2011)
When Carlos Saldanha initially set out to make 2011’s Rio, the filmmaker was determined to deliver one of the most vibrant animated movies ever made. In an interview with IndieLondon, Saldanha remarked, “I think color was part of the deal, so I really wanted to make it colorful and bright – not only visually colorful but also in terms of characters and environment and music.” It’s strange, then, that Saldanha would agree for the film to be shown in 3-D, as the inherently dark process drains the movie of its bright, larger-than-life sensibilities on a disappointingly regular basis. The most obvious victim of the 3-D presentation is the climactic scene set at Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival festival, which is transformed into a murky mess.
There are few contemporary animated movies that are as ill-conceived and underwhelming as Alpha and Omega, which is a shame, really, as the movie features an attractively old-school animation style and some nice voice work from folks like Hayden Panettiere, Danny Glover, and Dennis Hopper. It goes without saying that the 3-D process adds absolutely nothing to the film; worse still, the extra dimension ultimately transforms an already-weak piece of work into an absolutely interminable experience. The uncomfortable glasses and darkened image push the viewer over the edge in terms of tolerating Alpha and Omega, and it does seem as though the movie might be a passable (if unspectacular) experience in good old 2-D.
Much like Alpha and Omega, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil is a bad movie that’s made worse by 3-D. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil is a sequel to an equally disappointing 2005 release, and both films share a shoddy animation style that stands in sharp contrast to the brilliant work from studios like Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. The 3-D process proves to be just as needless and pointless as one might have expected, with the added dimension ultimately ensuring that the substandard animation is magnified to a rather unfortunate degree. (Nothing highlights bad animation more than having it sit inches from your face.)
Shrek Forever After is unquestionably the best of the Shrek sequels, and it’s rather remarkable just how fresh and exciting the filmmakers at DreamWorks Animation managed to make the fourth entry in the Mike Myers series. The problem is, however, that the use of 3-D ruins the continuity of the franchise, as the movie’s three previous installments, 2001’s Shrek, 2004’s Shrek 2, and 2007’s Shrek the Third, were all presented in good old-fashioned 2-D. As such, Shrek Forever After feels strangely out of place within the Shrek saga and it ultimately does seem as though the filmmakers should’ve avoided the temptation to add that extra dimension.