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The days are getting longer, the weather is getting nicer, and it's almost time for that age-old tradition of strapping oneself inside a metal roller coaster and defying gravity for fun! However, you might not have a local theme park open for the season, depending on where you hail from, so a movie like Wonder Park could be the thrill ride fix you need, mixed in with a family drama about the power of imagination. But, of course, there's something else we have to wonder about with this particular film. Yes, it's time to ask that beautiful question, “To 3D, or Not To 3D?”
If you're wondering what we thought about Wonder Park as a movie, head over to our official review for the full scoop. But if you're wondering whether the film is worth the extra ticket money, or if you'd be better off throwing that money towards a box of popcorn at your local theme park, you've come to the right place. Glasses on, as we're about to ride the 3D attraction that is Wonder Park.
Wonder Park, at its heart, is a film about a young girl's imagination, and the theme park it inspires. So that alone would be a pretty big treat in 3D, especially during the theme park sequences in the film. But Wonder Park isn't content with just showing off impressive attractions with 3D panache, as it takes both the real and imaginary worlds of its protagonist and does a pretty bang up job of finding something to surprise the eye with in both.
Looking at the finished product of Wonder Park's 3D conversion, it's a clear verdict in how much time and effort was put into the execution of this enhanced version of the film. The overall package is crisp and eye pleasing, with none of the defects that crop up in some lesser 3D presentations. While there's still some holding back with the film's visuals, it's not to the extent that the film suffers from it.
There are a couple of key shots in Wonder Park that show the perfect example of a self-imposed limitation when it comes to the 3D presentation. Those shots have objects like ice cream cones and other debris from the various adventures the film engages in hitting an invisible camera lens / glass wall and bouncing back into the picture. While those little touches are kinda fun, and definitely play with the visual fourth wall, they cause the film to stop short of any sort of thrills involving the objects in play flying out towards the audience.
While objects may not fly out of the screen, and into the audience's laps, Wonder Park does happen to boast some of the best depth in a 3D animated film. And that's besides the standard shots flying through roller coaster loops and the far off vistas of Wonderland being shown in fantastic depth and clarity. This film goes the extra mile, and includes impressive panning shots of crowds occupying the park that are so well drawn, you can feel each individual guest standing in front of you. It actually feels like a crowd shot, and not just a background effect, which is the ultimate cherry on top of this visual sundae.
There are a lot of beautiful colors and night shots at work in Wonder Park, which are both the types of aspects that get lost in a film with sub-par brightness. Now your mileage may vary when it comes to the brightness of your Wonder Park showing, as theaters maintain their projection rigs to varying degrees. That fact alone throws in a variable that can't always be accounted for. But in this screening of Wonder Park, there was only a slight dimming between putting the 3D glasses on and taking them off at various points in the film. The colors still look beautiful, and the night shots aren't a pain to look at.
Speaking of taking your glasses off, if you're tempted to remove your glasses during any point of Wonder Park, you'll see that classic blur that is a significant part of any good 3D film's visual language. The level of blur you experience in a movie such as this usually indicates how well the 3D effects are being manipulated in service of the thrills portrayed on screen. In the case of Wonder Park, there is a beautiful spectrum of blurred vision, from the extremely blurred backgrounds to the subtle blur of close up shots with characters and objects they're interacting with.
As with any good theme park, there's a lot of fast motion, with spirals, dips, and whipping around in the visuals of Wonder Park. But don't get intimidated by that, as it all flows smoothly, and with great precision. Rather than confuse your eyes, or your stomach, the 3D thrills in this film will not rattle either into a sense of discomfort. So if you decide to take this ride, you won't have to keep a waste bag or eye drops handy, as you'll be able to enjoy Wonder Park with no discomfort whatsoever.
Wonder Park is a stunning film to look at, with the 3D aspect making things only that much more interesting. If you're going to see this movie, you're getting the best return on your hard earned ticket money by seeing it with the added bells and whistles. There's extra wonder in Wonder Park's 3D conversion, and you owe it to yourself to experience every bit of it.
How will you see Wonder Park?
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