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Are 3D Movies Worth It?


Reading + Entertainment

  • movie popcorn and glasses

Jessica, Queen’s Square | April 2, 2017

I love going to the movies.  There’s nothing better than completely immersing yourself in another world and escaping the humdrum of daily life.  Cinemas are continuously trying to improve the theatre experience and the rise of 3D technology is the latest in a line of improvements.  With the near perfection of 3D technology, more and more films are being offered in 3D format, but are 3D movies really worth it? 

In Cambridge, 3D films cost $3 more per ticket than their 2D counterparts and for a family night out at the movies, costs can quickly add up.  The big selling point for 3D is that it offers a better, more immersive experience.  Done properly, 3D movies can completely pull you into a fictional world in a way a 2D movie can’t. The first film I remember that used 3D technology to its full potential was James Cameron’s Avatar.  Regardless of what you thought of the plot, the film itself was stunning and the 3D technology was used to create good old-fashioned movie magic.

Unfortunately, not all 3D films use the technology to this level.  I can think of dozens of 3D films that offer no significant difference between the 3D and 2D format.  There are only a handful of 3D movies released that use the technology to create movie magic like Avatar.  I, for one, am reluctant to pay $3 more for a film that is pretty much the same as its cheaper, 2D format. 

Maybe it wouldn’t bother me as much if I knew what this extra charge was for.  It’s not for the glasses as the cinema will not reimburse you if you bring one of the dozens you have received over the years.  If you ask about the charge, staff will tell you that the surcharge is to cover the cost of renting the special 3D projector.  Surely by now, after years of offering 3D movies, cinemas have purchased these machines outright and no longer have to pass this cost on to the consumer? 

All that being said, every so often a movie comes along that is worth seeing in 3D (price and all).  The most recent one that comes to mind is Marvel’s Doctor Strange.  This film made perfect use of 3D technology to create a mind-boggling visual experience.  Still, the Doctor Stranges and Avatars are few and far between and it’s hard to know which movies are worth seeing in 3D.  Before you decide on the format (and to pay the higher price) check out the website Cinema Blend’s helpful “To 3D or not to 3D” section.  They rate 3D releases in several different categories to help you decide which format is best for each movie.

Theatres themselves are getting savvy and offering fewer and fewer 2D showings.  Don’t let that force you into paying more for a sub-par experience.  Before you head out to the movies be sure to decide if your film is worth seeing in 3D.  Happy viewing!


Submitted by Shaun (not verified) on

The choice is easy for me. My brain hates 3D movies, so I always opt for the old 2D route. With 3D movies, either the picture is blurry, or the 3D effect is muted, or I develop a huge headache. After several years of failed attempts (and more than several $$s) at different theaters, trying different seats, I have given up. And I've discovered I'm not alone. Apparently there's a sizable percentage of the population that have the same problems experiencing 3D movies.