Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Lion King 3D - Movie Review

3D Technology has certainly been the story of the year so far in the world of cinema. The release of James Cameron's Avatar set off a virtual wildebeast stampede as movie studios set out to turn as many feature films in to 3D blockbusters as quickly as possible. The result of this obvious cash grab was met with mixed results as films like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender were so poorly converted to 3D that it actually made the image quality worse.

It was soon discovered that the preferred methods of making a 3D movie were to either film it with 3D cameras like the visually breathtaking and box office record smashing Avatar or spend as much time as possible and make every effort to make sure the conversion process is done right. Disney was at the forefront of this "quality over quantity" idea and they also had an edge with animated features being ideal candidates to present in this emerging format.

Movies like Toy Story 3 and Tangled were huge successes with the latter being a major surprise hit and only partly due to the 3D format. The studio remembered that story is more important than anything else when it comes to making a movie people will truly enjoy and want to see again and again. They were in fact the same folks that brought us The Lion King in the first place and the only question now was if they would make the conversion of this all time classic to 3D just as magical as the rest of the film.

All I can say is that seeing this film in the theater again was nearly as amazing of an experience as the very first time I saw it and being able to view it in 3D literally added a whole new dimension to the experience. The first thing that will jump out at you is oddly enough not going to be stuff looking like its jumping out at you. In the past, the gimmick of 3D was to have objects or people visually popping out of the screen to where it looked like you could reach out and touch them.

I remember as a kid seeing Jaws 3 in 3D and there were scenes of chewed up and spit out limbs hanging in the water in front of me and of course I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Now, what you get from 3D when it is done right is an amazing amount of depth to where backgrounds really do look like they are far off in the distance. This makes objects in the foreground look even more like they are right in front of you without having to be blatantly thrown in your face. Movies like Avatar, Up, and How to Train Your Dragon did a wonderful job at this and The Lion King fits right in there with that group.

If you do have a chance to see this movie in 3D while its still playing in the theaters, please do so, you will not be disappointed. The beautiful visual style loses nothing in 3D and gains a depth and richness that only enhances the storytelling process. The "Presentation of Simba", which is one of the greatest opening sequences in movie history, is just as stunning as ever and there are a few of those "wow!" moments added in with the 3D enhancements that just take it to a whole new world (oops, wrong movie!) level.

Of course this YouTube version of the re-release trailer is not in 3D, but is still very cool to watch.

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