Jules Verne...is... Comin' at Ya!

With the exception of Robert Rodriguez’ 3-D films and a few oddities, it’s very rare in Region 1 land when a 3-D film makes its way to DVD in 3-D.

IMAX’ Bugs! (2003) debuted on a 3-D DVD in Germany prior to its U.S. release, and the IMAX-Warner Bros. disc of Deep Sea 3D (2006) was a pretty but major cheat when the studio figured no one wanted to experience 3-D in a home theatre environment. One suspects Deep Sea might eventually come out in some boxed set (ideally with all the other IMAX 3-D films, particularly the ocean and space shorts), given studios are currently 3-D friendly in the theatrical arenas.

Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D (2008) is important because the 3-D version is on the B-side of the standard DVD edition, as well as the Blu-Ray release, and one suspects the IMAX 3-D films may be another tantalizing carrot labels can use to exploit the resolution of the high-def format.

Even on standard DVD, Journey works as a 3-D experience. It’s still not perfect (apparently the LCD glasses for home theatres lacks the focal problems, hazing, wobbly colours, and raster lines of the anaglyph process), but as small steps in home-level 3-D go, Journey is a major improvement.

Will it martial lazybones like Universal, Paramount, and MGM to release proper 3-D versions of their eighties shockers (Jaws 3-D, Friday the 13th 3-D, Amityville 3-D to name but a few)? Who knows. The fact those clunky cheeseball classics have been languishing in vaults still irks fans, and perhaps worse is a near-zero effort to do the same for the substantive 3-D wave from the fifties.

I’d love to see Inferno (1953), The Mad Magician (1954), and particularly Kiss Me Kate (1953) in 3-D, but for now one has to rely on the few titles and beat up prints bravely being run through the projectors of second-run theatres. On the big screen in 3-D, Dial M for Murder (1954) and House of Wax (1953) are awesome, and one would think, as high-def projection systems are more common now (certainly in major cities), the studios would take a gamble and restore some of the these classics as high-def masters for 3-D exhibition, much in the way the estate of John Wayne has done with Hondo (1953). (Check out this Google search for further info.)

It’s worth preserving these films, because they’re the historical grandfathers (and, like Comin’ at Ya! and Treasure of the Four Crowns, and Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, the dumb glue-sniffing cousins) of the IMAX flicks and Disney flicks that have been enjoying a resurgence through new technological leaps, and a deeper need to ride an interactive, celluloid rollercoaster.


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