10 Must-See 3D Movies On Their Way
With Toy Story 3 coming to cinemas, we cast our eye over the upcoming 3D films to watch
It's the future, or so we keep being told, but while every second movie seems to be getting the 3D treatment in the wake of Avatar's world-conquering success in the format, when you see Pixar's forthcoming Toy Story 3 -- which makes outstanding use of the third dimension, in service of a great story -- it's easy to see how the horizons of cinema as we know it could well change to embrace the technology. To mark the release of the Disney-Pixar film, Rotten Tomatoes put on the 3D goggles and took a look into the near future, to bring you a preview of 10 of the must-see movies on their way over the next year...
Despicable Me is the first feature co-directed by Chris Renaud, who was Oscar-nominated for his short No Time For Nuts, which starred prehistoric saber-toothed squirrel Scrat from the Ice Age series. Realizing that such supporting characters -- think also the penguins of Madagascar and the Little Green Men of Toy Story -- often steal the show, much of Despicable Me appears focused on Gru's relationship with his overall-wearing popcorn-a-like minions. These creatures are sure to be a hit with the kids, while the stellar voice cast, which includes Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Danny McBride and Ken Jeong, ought to keep parents amused. The crazed scenario, which lends itself to dozens of minion-launched rockets and roller-coaster 360-degree spinouts, should ensure the 3D is used to maximum effect.
If you've never seen Tim Burton's 1984 short, do yourself a favor and watch it on The Nightmare Before Christmas extras. Shot in beautiful B&W that anticipates the classic Hollywood horror flavor of his later Ed Wood and offering the graveside humor of Beetlejuice and Nightmare, this has modern-day schoolboy Victor Frankenstein inspired by his science teacher's (cult legend Paul Bartel) frog-zapping experiments to use electricity to bring back to life his dearly departed doggie Sparky. Sympathy for the monster/outsider and terrifically droll dialogue (dad Daniel Stern says to mom Shelley Duvall: "I guess we can't punish Victor for bringing Sparky back from the dead") are other Burton trademarks that emerged fully formed. All that said, Frankenweenie is a linear 29 minutes and didn't reflect the filmmaker's original intention to make it in stop motion. Now, though, Disney is giving him creative control to design the characters and expand the story so that other schoolkids learn Victor's secret and start re-animating their dead pets. An uprising of zombie goldfish, iguanas, cats and dogs, conceptualized and made by Burton, in 3-D and in glorious black and white? Sold.
Nic Cage chews the scenery and unveils absurd bouffants with pleasing regularity. But no matter how crazy his excesses in Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans or Knowing, we have a feeling we haven't really seen the full magic of his facial frenzy and follicular follies until they've been realized in three dimensions. Here's what you need to know about Drive Angry: He plays a dad tracking down those responsible for killing his daughter. It features a '69 Dodge Charger and a '71 Chevrolet Chevelle. Eye candy Amber Heard appears. So do David Morse and William Fichtner and a dollar'll get you two that they'll be playing bad guys. Tom Atkins shows up but we're betting he's too goddamned likable to be anything other than an old pal of Cage's character. And just to amp up the guilty-pleasure must-see vibe: Cage told MTV in April that a) this time he "dyed the hair [our italics] lighter because I think that's what the character should look like" and b) "There's a supernatural element to it as well, which is keeping with what my interests are right now." So, it's Ghost Driver, as conceived by Patrick Lussier, director of the My Bloody Valentine remake? Schlocktastic!
We didn't include Avatar 2 on this list because -- duh -- it's a given we want to see it. But before that we're keen to venture into the Sanctum, whose production James Cameron has been overseeing in Australia this year. The lean $30m film, which uses the Avatar cameras, is based on the real-life experience of Andrew Wight, an Aussie adventurer who led an underwater caving expedition that got trapped in a subterranean hell-maze for two days after a flash flood blocked the entrance to the system. Wight has since produced Cameron's Aliens of the Deep and Ghosts of the Abyss and is producing and writing Sanctum, with the film directed by compatriot Alistair Grierson, who proved his action and suspense chops with low-budget WWII flick Kokoda. RT saw some 3D proof-of-concept footage a few months back and can testify that visual immersion in the dark depths triggered all sorts of spine-tingling fear.
We love the 1978 original but recognize it as a cheap-ass cash-in on Jaws that just happened to be awesome because Roger Corman put Joe Dante behind the camera with a script from John Sayles. While it'd be a bit much to hope for the same winning combination of scares, schlock and spoof from director Alexandre Aja (High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes weren't exactly laugh riots) and writers Josh Stohlberg and Peter Goldfinger (Good Luck Chuck, Sorority Row) what is guaranteed are a lot of in-your-face piranha attacks. And with Eli Roth playing the MC of a wet T-shirt contest, you can count on at least some bad-taste laughs with the carnage. A couple of fun facts: the first Piranha spin-off was sequel Piranha II: The Spawning, which was the feature debut of 3Dmeister James Cameron, and there was a 1995 TV movie remake called Piranha, which marked Mila Kunis' first major role.