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Fans Pick Top Classics For BD 3-D

1 Jul, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Star Wars

Star Wars in 3-D? It’s a dream come true for Blu-ray Disc fans, who picked the celebrated sci-fi franchise as their No. 1 choice to watch in three dimensions once a 3-D standard for Blu-ray Disc is approved and studios start releasing movies in 3-D en masse on the high-definition format.

Members of the Home Media Tastemakers Forum, a blu-ribbon panel assembled by Home Media Magazine as an industry consumer panel, overwhelmingly chose Star Wars as the movie they’d most like to see in 3-D.

“3-D gives you the feeling of ‘being there’ in a way that 2-D cannot,” said Forum member David Wertheimer, CEO and executive director of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

In addition to Star Wars, Wertheimer’s top choices — each panelist was asked to pick three movies — include The Matrix and Apollo 13.

“3-D could also give you this sense of claustrophobia in the Apollo 13 capsule, which I also chose because 3-D will ultimately make dramas better, even ones without action sequences,” Wertheimer said.

Many industry experts consider 3-D a potential “killer app” that will accelerate Blu-ray Disc’s adoption by the masses. Both the Blu-ray Disc Association and the Consumer Electronics Association have created groups to spur development of a standard for 3-D on Blu-ray Disc, with expectations that the first titles could appear as early as next year.

The Home Media Tastemakers Forum is a small, private group of academics, technology experts, bloggers and early adopter families from select cities around the country. Members — carefully screened by an outside agency — get to experience new products, concepts and technologies in home entertainment before anyone else. They will be used as something of an industry sounding board, both by Home Media Magazine and other media outlets and by studios and suppliers.

Like Wertheimer, blogger Scott Hettrick included Star Wars as one of his top three picks. His two other choices: Tron and Titanic.

“All movies would benefit by 3-D to bring viewers into even scenes of ordinary dialogue,” he said. “Every scene from these movies would be so much more impactful, particularly Luke flying into the trench from the original Star Wars, the light cycles on the grid in Tron, and Leonardo and Kate floating in icy water in Titanic.”

Gary Collier, an IT technician in Santa Ana, Calif., consulted with his wife and came up with the “Harry Potter” films, the “Spider-Man” movies and the “Indiana Jones” series.

“Seeing Spider-Man fly through New York City and shooting webs would look really great in 3-D,” he said.

Brian Stark, a computer software engineer from Carlsbad, Calif., based his picks on what he’d like to watch with his two sons, Cameron, 13, and Ethan, 8.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire would be nice to see in 3-D because of the flying scenes,” Stark said. “The Polar Express — well, that’s already out in 3-D. And Dirty Harry — I’m going way into obscure land, but it might be cool to look down the barrel of Clint Eastwood’s 44 Magnum while he said, ‘Do you feel lucky, punk?’”

Wally Hastings, a visiting professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., picked the original “Star Wars” trilogy, the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and Saving Private Ryan, although he noted, “Having the opening D-Day landing in 3-D might almost be too intense for some viewers.”

Ken Sweeny, a program coordinator at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, picked three films that were shown in 3-D in theaters.

House of Wax is arguably the most famous and trend-setting of the 1950s’ 3-D craze movies,” he said. “Dial M for Murder is one of the few crowd-pleasing 3-D efforts to be created by one of the world’s most important and influential filmmakers. And Coraline is one of the most interesting and accomplished of the recent string of 3-D animated films to hit theaters.”

Cass D’Arlon, a trade-show account executive in Santa Ana, Calif., is the lone naysayer.

“I really don’t want to see any movies in 3-D,” he said. “If a filmmaker cannot make a watchable movie in 2-D, 3-D isn’t going to make it better. 3-D reminds me of Quadrophonic sound from the early 1970s. It was all the rage until everyone woke up and figured out it was an audio gimmick, just the way 3-D is a visual gimmick.” 

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