The Best 3-D Films

The audience for 3D movies has certainly dwindled since the acclaimed Avatar came out 11 years ago, but those of us that are left are certainly still passionate about it. Passionate enough to make a list of the best 3D movies that are in our personal Blu-Ray collection. At the time of writing this, all movies should be available and recommended if you, or your friend, have a 3D TV. Pop one in, have a good time, because these are worth the experience.

10) A*P*E

This movie isn’t great, in fact, this movie is unbelievably trashy in the best ways possible. South Korea and the United States made a joint production of this sort-of King Kong remake/rip-off. The costume they used for the gorilla is old and not even remotely usable and the 3D only emphasizes that fact. That said, for such a trashy movie the 3D is great, better than your average blockbuster 3D today, and if you watch this (which was later renamed Attack of the Giant Horny Gorilla for a re-release) with friends you’re certainly going to have an unforgettable night.

9) It Came From Outer Space

Gotta love creature features. Aliens, manly 50’s stereotypes, crashed cars, this film has it all and utilizes 3D in a somewhat subtle way as it enhances an otherwise straight forward creature feature. When the film finally does reveal the aliens, and the spacecraft, the actions of the characters feel real under the 3D backdrop. It has a brisk pace and makes for an overall pleasant experience.

8) Gog

Similar to A*P*E, Gog is an interesting feature where the story isn’t why you watch it. The story is the classic 50’s “machines will never be useful to man no matter how much scientists putter at them” type. The 3D is surprisingly strong and with how the machines are built it creates a constant interesting scale of depth as they wheel around the set attacking humans. It can be a tad boring, but in a group setting, that 50’s cheese will be drizzling.

7) In the Heart of the Sea

Based on the real story that inspired the book, “Moby Dick”, this film is a huge story that spans from a small fishing town to the vastness of the ocean. The special effects are incredible and Ron Howard has spoken in interviews about how important it was to get the 3D right, and how he advocated for time dedicated to the work on the 3D. Thankfully, that turned out well because it’s an incredible sight to see big ships on the sea in 3D. There’s even an incredible 3D shot of a guy inside a whale as he gathers its oil.

6) Dredd

Judge. Jury. Executioner. In a futuristic dystopia, the law is in the hands of individuals that make on the site calls of how criminals are prosecuted. The story mostly takes place in a giant housing unit that provides a story very much like The Raid: Redemption. What makes this 3D different than others on this list is the feature of slow-mo. The drug dealers that act as the antagonists are peddling a drug that makes everything slow down for the user, so the 3D comes in very handy whenever it shifts perspective into this field of drug induced vision.

5) The Walk

This movie is about Philippe Petit’s famous tight rope walk between the World Trade Center towers. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and his attention to detail when it comes to technology really shines here as the movie takes the form of different aspect ratios, black-and-white and color, and then finally the third act which takes place hundreds of stories above the ground and makes anybody watching feel like they’re on the tight rope alongside him while watching in 3D.

4) The Amazing Spider-Man

If there is a superhero made for the 3D format, it’s Spider-Man. From web-swinging, to wall-crawling, to the thwips at the camera, this film has everything a 3D lover will need. It was made with 3D in mind, and as one of the bonus features on the Blu-ray, director Marc Webb delves into how revolutionary the native 3D camera technology they were using was. As a Spider-Man fan this is a must watch.

3) Creature from the Black Lagoon

Underwater swimming has never looked this good. Can you imagine bringing a heavy 3D camera into the water and actually move it? That’s crazy, and on top of that it’s beautiful! From the creature’s imposing shadow and claws to it’s playful teasing of the heroine, this movie thrives in the 3D space like no other. This is a classic example of great movie, but the 3D enhances everything great about it.

2) 3-D Rarities

Boo Moon

3-D Film Archive released two collections of short 3D films. These can be either shorts from the 20’s or commercials. It’s a treasure trove of different 3D uses from classic cel animation to stop-motion animation to regular color 3D, etc. The collection highlights Kelly’s Plasticon Pictures, Bolex Stereo, Rocky Morciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott among a slew of other 3D gems. It’s phenomenal to see how much has survived in vastly different formats over the history of cinema that has been lovingly restored.

1) Avatar

This is definitely a #1 cliche choice, but it re-revolutionized 3D for the modern age. It’s a trip and a breath of fresh air every time it’s on and it’s still marvelous to see what they were able to accomplish a decade ago. Some of the CGI has started to lose it’s luster, but the 3D still rocks like a pack of pop rocks in cola. This is the rosetta stone of modern 3D and still the landmark of what 3D movies should aim for.

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