When I was growing up, 3D technology was akin to red-and-blue cardboard glasses that were taped on the side of a Slurpee cup. Now it seems it’s rare for a movie to be released only in 2D with no 3D counterpart to view it in. But is 3D the best choice for families?
My husband and I, for one, love 3D movies; we even have a whole 3D system set up in our home. But our daughter doesn’t like 3D movies at all. Our first 3D-movie experience was actually on a cruise ship when Bolt was first released, with no option to see it in 2D. Even as adults, we were excited to see the movie from a different perspective, but our then 12 year old was sullen after the movie ended and stated quite emphatically that she didn’t like wearing the glasses.
All three of us wear eyeglasses, and it certainly didn’t bother me to wear another pair of frames over my glasses, but apparently it did for her. Five years later, even at 17, she still would opt for a 2D movie over a 3D one.
It makes me wonder whether my daughter is an anomaly or whether there are more kids (and adults) out there like her. So I did some crowd sourcing and I shouldn’t really have been surprised at the results, because they were pretty even across the board. You have the lovers (like us), you have the haters, and you have those who don’t really care one way or the other.
One mom relayed that her five year old gets freaked out by 3D. I had a dad tell me that his younger school-aged children don’t mind the 3D graphics, but have trouble keeping the glasses on. The glasses either slip down their nose, or they pull them down curiously trying to peek over the top to see why it looks different with the glasses on. And then there were those that said: meh. Their children don’t care all that much either way, but with three kids and the extra $3 a ticket at their local theater, they choose 2D.
So in light of the responses I got, obviously the 3D experience is a subjective one. If you’ve never taken your children to a 3D movie before, you may want to anticipate their reaction to it prior to taking them. If your child comfortably wears sunglasses and leaves them on while outside or in the car for an hour or more at a time, they’ll probably adjust to the 3D glasses just fine. For some people (like our daughter), the glasses become a sensory issue and are a distraction to the viewing of the movie.
While most 3D films don’t have the jerky, roller-coaster movement we associated them with years ago, there can still be scenes that surprise you. If your child tends to get motion sickness easily, you might want to be prepared for the signs of headache or an upset tummy.
One of the movies we’re most anticipating this summer to go to as a family is Despicable Me 2. If the first installment of the franchise is any indication, the 3D effects in this movie will be suitable for young and old alike. There may be some surprising moments, but they are sure to be funny and not scary for the little ones.
Other appropriate 3D features for younger children releasing this summer would be Turbo and Planes. The Little Mermaid is being rereleased in 3D this year as well, and many families should enjoy that, as parents get to view the movie they saw as youngsters themselves with a new perspective while introducing their children to this animated film.
And as one of my friends noted, 3D does come at a price, and if you’re taking a family of four or five (or more!) to the movies, be prepared to pay a premium for it. Because of that, if you are taking younger children to the theaters to see movies such as The Wolverine this summer or Thor: The Dark World releasing later this year, you may be better off seeing the 2D version as the subject matter and 3D graphics may be more intense and there may be too much sensory stimulation in the movie for them.
The 3D format provides a depth and realism to a movie that 2D doesn’t quite capture, but it’s not for everyone and I for one am glad that the studios recognize that and have both options for families to choose from.
Tammy has been blogging since 2008 about home, family, recipes, travel, and more! To read more by Tammy, visit ThreeDifferentDirections.com or follow her on Twitter @ThreeDifferent.