I’m not a fan of 3D. I don’t think it adds much to a movie, and usually detracts from my experience. 1 Sometimes I end up seeing a movie in 3D simply because the only available opening night showings are 3D, but 3D is rarely my first choice.
Golden and I had seen Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse early and loved it. We saw it again in 2D and loved it. We were listening to Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond Spider-Verse podcast, where he and Marc Bernardin spent two hours(!) waxing ecstatic over the movie, and Kevin specifically mentioned the 3D as best-in-class. Since we adore the movie so much, we decided to see it for a third time, just to see for ourselves.
The credits hadn’t even finished before I turned to Golden and said “This 3D is absolutely amazing!” Since the entire style of the movie is to represent a comic book come to (animated) life, the 3D enhances that experience in a novel and completely satisfying way. Static images are layered in ways that they’d be layered if you were reading pages. The heights seem higher, the depths seem deeper. Word balloons move with characters, and appear at different depths based on the positions of the speaker. Sound effect words drawn on the screen appear at the depth of the location of the sound. New York City itself becomes a living and breathing character with depth, both unreal and more real.
There have only been three movies that I felt used 3D to enhance the storytelling: Tron Legacy, Avatar, and Gravity. 2 I would go so far as to say that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse uses 3D better than all of them. This is the absolute pinnacle of how to use 3D to help you tell a story, and never, ever be gimmicky. I cannot recommend seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 3D highly enough. If you have already seen it in 2D, see it again in 3D. Seriously, you won’t regret it.
I already think that Spider-Verse might be a game-changer for animated films. Now I think it might be a game changer for how to integrate 3D into storytelling as well.
And just when I thought I couldn’t love this movie any more…
For whatever reason, very often 3D makes the image on the screen look smaller to me. For example, as I mentioned in The Ωmega Beam Aquaman episode, an arial shot of buildings of a town in Sicily looked tiny to me, like they weren’t real buildings but models, whereas when I saw it in 2D it looked like a real town. ↩︎
In these three cases, 3D was used to enhance the fantasy worlds (or emptiness of space, in the case of Gravity) with a sense of depth which made the environments more real and compelling. ↩︎
Published on: January 5, 2019