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Just in time for the witching hour of Halloween, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is here to cast its spell on those who want a little Disney villainy in their lives. And with a little bit of fairytale sorcery, there are always two things that can be guaranteed: a cost to pay for wielding such power, and a 3D conversion to bring those powers to life.
Which means it’s time to crack open the old spellbook and see if Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is worth the extra 3D cash, or if it’s something best left in the dark corners of Moors. If you’re curious about how we felt about the film itself, you can read our official review elsewhere. But if you’re ready to fly, let’s spread our wings and swoop into the details of this latest 3D adventure in a theater near you.
It’s pretty easy to peg a film in terms of how well it would fit into the world of 3D conversions, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is definitely a movie that could benefit from that treatment. With a full-scale war, magical realms of wondrous creatures that fly and float, and dark corners populated with secrets and creatures that could be positively eye-popping, the Maleficent sequel could make for something pretty impressive, with the right 3D approach.
Unfortunately, the approach to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’s 3D presentation is not as exemplary as the film would have promised. The problems aren’t even limited to one section either, as several factors set the 3D version back quite a bit. Brightness definitely plays a part in that overall devaluation, but on top of that, there’s a really unbalanced level of Before/Beyond The Window action, as well as a bit of a concern for Audience Health that goes beyond mere screen dimming.
In terms of objects being thrown off of the screen, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil doesn’t land on a consistent level of disappointment, as the film does show in a couple of cases that it can project thrills outside of the window’s frame. Musket balls, arrows, and other weapons shoot out to the audience, but those are about the only notable features that really poke out of the film’s overall picture. One of those effects even causes a bit of a visual wonkiness, confusing the eyes in its execution, and that's a shame, as there are quite a few moments in the film that could have used this effect to great extent.
Thankfully, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil doesn’t forget to add the depths to its Beyond The Window component, giving the audience a lot of lush thrills when it comes to seeing how deep this particular rabbit hole goes. Characters and their environments are separated to impressive degree, with a lot of close-up shots putting a premium on where the participants are standing respectively. But there’s a minor hiccup in the fact that some scenes feel deeper than others. In one moment, the picture feels endless, and in the next, it almost feels like the background stops short of that effect. For the most part, there’s a healthy depth to the picture shown on screen.
You’d expect a certain degree of dimness to a 3D picture, as the glasses required to complete the illusion bring things down a notch. But if your theater doesn’t maintain or calibrate its equipment properly, the 3D presentation of a film like Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will be stymied from the word go. As the 3D effect for this particular equipment wasn’t turned on until halfway through the 3D trailers, the calibration was assumed to be a bit off, which in turn may have contributed to this showing of the film in question grayer than normal. The colors were a bit washed out, and even in scenes of full daylight, there’s was a noticeable dimming that went beyond just what the glasses provided. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was still watchable, but some portions were harder to look at than others due to the dimness of this picture.
Whether the picture is dim or not, you’re going to want to take your glasses off at some point to see what things look like without your glasses. At this point, you’d see a varying degree of blurriness on the screen, as that’s what helps manipulate the typically 2D image of a normal movie into a 3D presentation. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil definitely has its share of blurriness on screen, but through various points of the film, it feels like even that factor is varied. Linking to the slight problem of the film’s ability to draw depth, there are some scenes where things are really blurry to maintain the illusion, and others that aren’t as blurry and feel like they’re putting a little less effort into the mix.
When you mix the factors of fast-moving action that doesn’t let the audience’s eyes catch up to the 3D effect, and a dimness that goes beyond the standard level of gray added to the picture, you have a familiar recipe for eye strain. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a bit hard to watch, as the eyes tire between both of those twin factors of wonk, leaving the audience relieved when the experience is over.
Your mileage may vary with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil as a film itself, but as far as a 3D experience is concerned, the film lands off the mark it’s aiming for. If you’re a 3D fanatic, then you should at the very least seek a matinee screening that softens the cost for your day out. But if you’re only mildly curious, it’s suggested you either find a theater you trust with a 3D showing, or stick with the 2D version with this one. Either way, tread with caution.
How will you see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil?
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