THE THROWDOWN – 3D vs. IMAX

Wednesday is Throwdown day at Keith & the Movies. It’s when we take two movie subjects, pit them against each other, and see who’s left standing. Each Wednesday we’ll look at actors, actresses, movies, genres, scenes, and more. I’ll make a case for each and then see how they stand up one-on-one. And it’s not just my opinion that counts. I’ll share my take and then open up the polls to you. Visit each week for a new Throwdown. Vote each week to decide the true winner!

Filmmakers and studios have employed all sorts of methods to try to enhance the moviegoing experiences of their audiences. Some of these techniques and innovations have been successful in making a visit to the cinema even more enjoyable. But some attempts at creating a better experience hasn’t worked all that well. Right now two of the biggest enhancements are IMAX and 3D. Both will make a bigger dent in your wallet but both can be loads of fun when executed well. So for this week’s Throwdown you get to decide which offers you the better moviegoing experience. Is it IMAX or is it 3D. As always you vote, you decide, and the winner takes all.

3D vs. IMAX

Whether you like it or whether you don’t, you have to admit that 3D technology has come a long way. Years ago it found its way into the movie theaters with pretty mixed results. The technology has seen several incantations over the years but it seems to have finally figured things out. The first movie to open my eyes to the technology’s possibilities was James Cameron’s blockbuster “Avatar”. Narratively speaking I thought “Avatar” was an overrated mess, technically it was an amazing accomplishment. Since then many movies have tapped into (or should I say cashed into) the 3D craze. Unfortunately subpar results have outweighed good ones. Studios have taken to tacking on 3D in post production instead of shooting their films with 3D in mind. The results have been lackluster at best. On the flipside there have been some films that have used 3D to create a truly satisfying visual experience. Movies like “Hugo” and “Prometheus” are actually made better by the technology in the hands of their capable directors. I still find myself skeptical, but for me, a few good results are enough to keep me curious about what’s to come.

I’ve now seen several movies on the IMAX screen and it’s hard not to be impressed. The sheer size of the screen is enough to excite you, but then considering that most IMAX theaters feature state-of-the-art sound, the overall experience itself is simply fantastic. Many quality filmmakers have played with IMAX and the results have been for the most part great. But the one film that I always go back to when thinking about the strengths of IMAX is Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”. Nolan is a big proponent of IMAX technology and sequences of “The Dark Knight” were shot in IMAX. He went even further this year with “The Dark Knight Rises”. IMAX screens now use 3D technology to create their own unique experiences. But to me you can’t beat a movie shot in IMAX for IMAX. This is a technology that’s been around for a long time, but we are now seeing more great filmmakers using it to create the ultimate cinematic experience.

So which is tops when it comes to your experience at the theater. Does 3-D or IMAX tickle your fancy more? Which do you think has proven itself? Which offers more for the future? Most importantly what makes your movie watching better? Your votes decide. Vote now!

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19 thoughts on “THE THROWDOWN – 3D vs. IMAX

    • You know, I think 3D has shown signs of brilliance but only when in the right hands. I chose IMAX too but 3D has a lot of potential. But right now it seems to be a case of overusing a potentially good thing.

      • I still don’t see the potential, to me it just doesn’t add anything to the experience. If I think of it afterwards I still think of it as a 2D film.

      • Oh I disagree there. There have been a handful of movies that I still remember the 3D. They created an amazing environment which added to my experience. But there lies the problem, There’s only been a handful and to me that’s where the technology falls short. There are too many cash-ins instead of quality productions.

    • It’s funny you say that. In many ways I’m the same. In fact, most of the time I skip both 3D and IMAX and just watch the regular 2D version instead. Even more, the vast majority of the movies I watch are 2D even though I have access to the other two versions.

  1. I take IMAX if it weren’t so darn expensive! I LOVE the giant screens but until I could see 3D WITHOUT those annoying glasses, I really don’t care for it.

  2. Definitely IMAX! Not only do you get immersive visuals but you also get incredible sound. The bass in the opening of Dark Knight Rises was so powerful I actually felt like I was in the hijacked plane! Incredible. There have been a few good uses of 3D like Hugo but I’m generally unimpressed by the effect 3D has on the movie-going experience.

    • You get to the core of my feelings. Gimmicks are good when they work really well but when it comes down to it all I need is a good movie, a good clear screen and I’m good to go.

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