Although 3D has sprung its multi-dimensions into theaters before (the '50s, early '80s), it is only now starting to take hold with audiences by the masses...so we ask, what's worth seeing in 3D? Here are 10 of the most worthy spectacles (as of early '10), starting with...
Beowulf (2007) - While Robert Zemeckis' elaboration on the ages old adventure isn't a film that holds up to close scrutiny, it is quite eye-popping in 3D (and especially IMAX 3D). You can feel the heat from the dragons' fire and Angelina Jolie's lusty ponytail-lashings, and while the warriors' machismo may be a bit over the top...well, just don't think about it too much.
House of Wax (1953) - Skip the 2005 remake, and head straight to this legitimate horror classic, starring Vincent Price as the mad wax sculptor and Charles Bronson as his thuggish assistant. It was one of the best early 3D marvels, and still stands up today.
Dial M for Murder (1954) - Of course, there was no way master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock was going to be left out in the cold from the early 3D craze. Based on the play about a man's plot to kill his wife, Murder played in both 3D and 2D in its original release. It's been revived from time to time in its 3D format, and has been spectacularly popular for those limited runs.
Captain EO (1986) - Good news, EO fans! Disney has recently announced that they will bring back the good Captain to its amusement parks. Starring Michael Jackson, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Captain EO - detailing the efforts of EO & his friends to change the heart of the evil Supreme Leader - is still a good old-fashioned, 17-minute thrill ride for the ages.
U2 3D (2008) - Somewhat falling under the radar was the excellent U2 concert in 3D. Shot on the band's 2006 tour with 18 different 3D cameras, the concert movie is the real deal - total sonic and visual immersion. If you're not a fan, you'll still like it. If you are a fan, then 3D nirvana awaits.
T2 3D (1996) - Like Captain EO, this one's not technically a movie, but an amusement park thrill ride. But, it was directed by a pre-Avatar James Cameron, features many of the original Terminator stars (including the big guy), and still plays at Universal theme parks. Add in a live T-1000, some real waterdrops for the audience, and it's just like being hunted by actual terminators.
The Polar Express (2004) - Before Beowulf, director Robert Zemeckis let loose his playful 3D imagination with this perennial holiday favorite, about a few lucky children and their adventure to the North Pole. In time, the film will likely be acknowledged as one of the first true CGI-animated, 3D classics.
Coraline (2009) - Henry Selick's beautiful, and spooky stop-motion, 3D animation movie was the first big 3D achievement out of the gate in 2009. The 3D elements are fantastic, but so equally is the story about one girl's discovery of an alternate universe.
Up (2009) - The Best Picture nominee is a Pixar marvel about an old man's journey to South America, and his friendship with an 8-year-old boy. In digital 3D, it takes on a whole new luster. There's an extra sheen to the colors and the images that's completely captivating, and adds additional layers to the rich story and characters.
Avatar (2009) - There's a reason this sci-fi adventure set in a world called Pandora is the most profitable movie of all time. While the characters and story are serviceable enough, it is the breathtaking visuals and 3D wonders in Avatar that stick with you. The cliche is true. Before Avatar in 3D, we literally hadn't seen anything like it.