While there has been a long-standing argument on whether the emergence of 3D technology in filming has been detrimental to the movie-going experience, there is no doubt that 3D actually enhances the final result of a movie, thus making it a fulfilling experience for the viewer. Because of this, a number of film producers have opted to use the technology even when it is evident that it would not contribute to the overall experience. Fortunately, we have been able to make a list and help narrow down the best movies to watch in 3D.
15 Best Movies To Watch in 3D
1. Avatar (2009)
Undoubtedly one of the best movies to watch in 3D, Avatar is an epic science fiction film that took famed filmmaker James Cameron almost 10 years to make. This was as a result of the technology used to make the film not being available at the time. When it was finally released, Avatar proved to be a breakthrough in 3D technology.
Set in the mid-22nd century, a time in which humans were colonizing a fictional moon known as Pandora, the story follows the threat humans pose to a local Pandoran tribe of Na’vi.
2. How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
How To Train Your Dragon, which took home the Most Creative 3D Film of the Year award at the Venice Film Festival, is a computer-animated action-fantasy film that is loosely based on a series of children’s books of the same name by British author Cressida Cowell. The story follows a young boy in a mythical Viking world who aspires to follow his tribe’s tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. He, however, later finds himself unable to kill the dragon he captures as the pair instead become unlikely friends.
3. Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park is the first installment in the Jurassic Park franchise. The Steven Spielberg directed movie is a science fiction adventure film that is based on the 1990 Michael Clayton novel of the same name. The story centers around a wildlife park of de-extinct dinosaurs created by a billionaire philanthropist and a small team of genetic scientists on the fictional island of Isla Nublar, off Central America’s Pacific Coast.
Although it was first released in 1993, producers of the movie opted to re-release it in 3D in 2013 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with Spielberg going on record to say he had created the film with a sort of “subconscious 3D”. This move proved to be successful as moviegoers and critics lauded the effects of 3D on the legendary flick.
4. Gravity (2013)
Gravity, one of the highest-grossing films of 2013, is a science-fiction thriller film that tells the story of two American astronauts whose space shuttle suffer mid-orbit destruction. The pair are then stranded in space with very limited options on how to return to earth.
The film makes this list of the best movies to watch in 3D due to the fact that critics lauded its use of the technology, as well as the story, and that its 3D showings generated 70% of its opening gross. A further nod it received was its winning of the Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects awards at the 86th Academy Awards.
5. Tangled (2010)
Loosely based on the story of Rapunzel from the collection of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm, Tangled is a 3D computer-animated musical adventure film that tells the story of a young princess with magical long blonde hair who yearns to leave her secluded tower to see the world.
The film, which won best 3D scene of the year at the second annual International 3D Society Creative Arts Awards, spent six years in production due to the unique artistic style that was used in creating it.
6. Life of Pi (2012)
Life of Pi is a survival drama film that is based on the 2001 Yann Martel novel of the same name. The story revolves around a 16-year-old Indian man named Pi who survives a shipwreck and is adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
Prior to release, many critics had felt the story of the book was practically unfilmable. Director Ang Lee, however, went ahead to create a spectacle with the 3D technology, garnering the praise of some of Hollywood’s elite filmmakers.
7. Hugo (2011)
Directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, Hugo was the legendary filmmaker’s first attempt at using 3D technology in making a movie. While the film went on to perform badly commercially, grossing $185 million from $150-$170 million budget, it’s use of 3D was praised as it took home the Academy Awards from Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects, among others.
The historical adventure drama film, which is based on Brian Selznick’s book; The Invention of Hugo Cabret, revolves around a boy who lives alone in the Gare Montparnasse railway station in Paris in the 1930s.
8. The Great Gatsby (2013)
Adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel of the same name, The Great Gatsby is a romantic drama film set at the height of the Roaring Twenties on Long Island. It tells the story of the eponymous character, a millionaire who owns a luxurious mansion and throws lavish parties, and his encounters with his neighbor Nick Carraway.
While the use of 3D in the movie divided critics opinion, moviegoers approved of its use as it further received an Outstanding Live Action 3D Feature Film nomination at the International 3D Society’s Creative Arts Awards.
9. The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
The Adventures of Tintin is another Steven Spielberg film that is amongst the best movies to watch in 3D. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, popularly known as Herge, the story of the 3D motion capture computer-animated action-adventure film revolves around the titular character who embarks on a journey to locate a sunken Unicorn ship and its treasure.
10. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Prior to the release of the third movie in the Toy Story series, Pixar had enjoyed massive success as a result of the impeccable storyline and animation work done on the film. Not resting on their laurels, they opted to add more depth to make the film more immersive for the viewer with the use of 3D, a move that proved to be very successful as Toy Story 3 went ahead to become the highest-grossing film of 2010, the highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, at the time of its release.
The plot of the third installment focuses on the toys, which are accidentally being donated to a daycare center as their owner prepares to leave for college.
11. The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D (2006)
The Nightmare Before Christmas is another film that was originally released in the 1990s but got re-released in the 2000s thanks to the emergence of the 3D technology. It is the first stop-motion animated film to be entirely converted to 3D. The musical dark fantasy Halloween film tells the story of Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town who stumbles through a portal to Christmas Town and thus decides to begin to celebrate the holiday.
12. The Walk (2015)
The Walk is based on the story of a 24-year-old French high-wire artist named Philippe Petit, who walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on a tightrope on August 7, 1974.
While the movie came a few years after the craze for 3D had somewhat died down, the technology still proved to be an essential tool in bringing the biographical drama film to life as it helped enhance the illusion of depth perception, which was a major part of the cinematography, thus making it one of the best movies to watch in 3D.
13. Up (2009)
Up is a computer-animated comedy-drama buddy adventure film that centers on the relationship between an elderly widower named Carl Fredricksen and an earnest boy named Russell. To fulfill a dream and a promise he made to his late wife, Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and sets out to see the wilds of South America.
Produced by the renowned animation studio Pixar, Up was the first film presented by the company in 3D. It enjoyed massive success both critically and commercially, as it further became the second animated film in history to receive a Best Picture nomination.
14. Alice In Wonderland (2010)
Loosely inspired by English writer Lewis Carroll’s fantasy novels; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Alice in Wonderland is a dark fantasy adventure film that follows the adventures of a nineteen-year-old girl named Alice Kingsleigh. With the help of Mad Hatter, Alice, who is the only one who can slay a dragon-like creature that is controlled by the Red Queen called the Jabberwocky, is told that she can restore the White Queen to her throne. She is then left with no choice but to fight the Red Queen to protect the world.
15. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009)
The final entry on this list of best movies to watch in 3D is the computer-animated sci-fi comedy film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Loosely based on Judi and Ron Barrett’s 1978 children’s book of the same name, the story follows an aspiring inventor named Flint Lockwood who develops a machine that can convert water into food. Following a number of failed experiments, Lockwood attains success, however, his machine begins to develop food storms, leaving him with no option but to destroy the machine in order to save the world.