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THE HTF 3D ADDICT: Step Up 3D



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#1 of 5 Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 12 2010 - 08:41 AM


 

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What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.

 

 

 

 

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Step up 3D


 

 

Studio: Touchstone

Product Release: December 21, 2010

Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English, 7.1 DTS-HD; French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

 

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ON A SCALE 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5

3D Separation: 5

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 4

 

Do your own thing. Build your own respect.


Okay, here we go....


One of the first arguments I heard from the

naysayers against this new format is that 3D

adds nothing to the viewing experience. I am

about to prove those naysayers wrong.


When Disney contacted us asking if we were 

interested in reviewing Step Up 3D I volunteered

knowing that I would be taking the hit for the

team.  After all, I don't fit the demographic for

this kind of film, nor up until moments ago did

I even know that this is the third in a series of

dance films geared towards teenage audiences.


In this installment we meet NYU freshman

Moose (Adam G. Sevani) who meets up with a

troupe of dancers known as the "Pirates" who 

gather in a warehouse turned danceclub known

as the "vault" owned by an aspiring filmmaker/dancer 

named Luke (Rick Malambri).


Got it so far?


Evidently, this NYU freshman has enough dance

potential to garner the interest of a rival gang

known as the "The House of Samurai" who challenge

"The Pirates" to a series of dance events all leading

up to the coveted World Jam competition. It's important

that the Pirates win the $100,000 grand prize as the

bank moves to foreclose on their club.


While the film has lots of heart, the basic

storyline has been done hundreds of times before.  

It's the same chewed on, spit-out garbage and

clichéd dialogue you have seen time and time again.


However, that's not what you are here to watch

and fortunately the story quickly becomes secondary

tthe film's real purpose -- DANCE!


Now here is where things really get hot...


Step Up 3D is an incredibly explosive dance

film that brings the 3D format front and center

to deliver powerhouse film experience.


There are amazingly choreographed dance

sequences set against beautiful backdrops of

neon and strobing lights.  Since the film was

conceived for the 3D format, it's cleverly

staged and photographed to dazzle and tickle

the viewers senses -- which it indeed succeeds

in doing.


What I really enjoyed most about the dancing

and the music is that all of it crosses an array

of genres and styles that include lots of breakdancing,

flips, contortions, head spinning and various

robotic-like movements.  But mixed within all

of that we get a bit of tango and even some Astaire.


Everybody is going to find a favorite style of

dance or music within the film's running time.

There are two dance numbers that I particularly 

enjoyed:  The first being a Samurai dance number 

set to a hyped-up remixed version of Frankie Vallie's

Beggin'.  A short time later, there's a wonderful

sequence shot on the streets of NY that features

Adam Sevani and Alyson Stoner dancing to a

remixed version of Fred Astaire's "I Won't Dance."  

What's most inspiring about this scene is that it

was all done in one complete unedited shot.


What a better subject for 3D than dancing --

and the filmmakers have taken full advantage

of it by throwing body parts into the viewer's face.  

If that were not simply enough,  every 3D enhanced

gimmick that could be thought of is readily used

including floating bubbles and balloons as well as

Icee chunks that jump out of the screen.  Some of

the most memorable "In Yo' Face" moments come

from the dancers themselves and their spastic-moving

hands that reach out towards you.


Since I have been so tuned to animation as of late

I have forgotten how good live action 3D can

look.  You could not have picked a better locale

for this film than New York City whose backdrop

is fully taken advantage of throughout. With an

incredible sense of depth between foreground and

back you can't help but look in awe at some of

the incredible city landmarks including the Brooklyn

bridge and a nighttime ride through Times Square.


Sadly, there are a lot of ghosting issues here.

The film mostly takes place in dark warehouse

settings with fast camera panning and quick

dance movements that often result in image

doubling or blurring.  It isn't nearly bad enough

to ruin the experience, but when it's present it

seems greatly exaggerated.


The image quality is perfect, more soft than

sharp, but not inhibiting the piercing array of

colors that almost constantly dazzle the eyes.

I even noticed rock solid black levels which I

usually don't pick up upon when watching 3D content.


The 3D disc features a DTS-HD 7.1 track.  I found

it to be first-rate even on my 5.1 system.  Crisp,

clear highs and boombastic bass levels that was

shaking the floor beneath my feet.  The surrounds

can be enveloping at times though mostly music-filled

rather than with effects or ambience.


The 3D release contains a terrific Disney 3D trailer

perfectly enhanced for the format which reveals that

"Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Bolt" is on the way.


However, that being said, they have a hideously

ineffective 3D logo that follows the trailer which

I hope the studio pulls in favor of something more effective.



 

CONCLUSION


 

Let me get back to the argument I talked about in

the first paragraph of this review.  


Had I watched Step Up 3 in standard 2D, I don't 

think I would be sitting here with this huge smile

on my face.   The filmmakers took a tired idea that

would probably have bombed in 2D but made fresh

by catering it for 3D.  What this does is give you an

entirely new perspective on what you are watching.

In this case, the result is one of the most enjoyable

live-action 3D titles I have reviewed to date.


This film will completely dazzle your senses.  Don't

be surprised to find your feet tapping away to the

music.  Once it's all over don't be surprised that

you'll want to revisit certain dance numbers over again.


Don't do what I did and judge a film by its cover.

Step Up 3D, while obviously geared towards teenagers,

will equally impress adults for its high-octane dance

choreography and demo 3D quality that is amongst

the best that is available to date.


Note: At the very last minute I decided to give this

film the highest score I could give it for overall 3D

presentation.  It deserves it despite the fact that there

are crosstalk issues.  I did the same for Monsters vs.

Aliens which I found similar issues with.  Ghosting 

issues are handled better with some displays over

others.  It's hard to pinpoint if it's hardware at fault

or authoring.  My guess would be authoring.  Since

crosstalk remains common in many 3D releases I

have decided not to let it heavily impact upon the

final rating --- especially when you have a title like

this that was made for the format.


 

 

Equipment

 

LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display

LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player

Denon 3808CI Receiver

Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

SV Sound Subwoofer

 
 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 5 Todd Erwin

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Posted December 12 2010 - 09:31 AM

Nightmare Before Christmas is, perhaps, the best 3D conversion I have seen, and gives this film a depth of field it only hinted at in its original 2D presentation.



#3 of 5 tbaio

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Posted December 21 2010 - 10:53 AM

I saw this in the theaters with 3 kids who saw the first set of films & we all enjoyed it (even though I did not see the others, I still had fun with it).  I agree that that the heart & soul of the film is its dance sequences & 3-D presentation.  The 3-D was outstanding on the big screen & from this review, it sounds like none of it is lost on home viewing; which I'm very happy to hear.  Thanks again for another informative review.


#4 of 5 Larry Geller

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Posted December 29 2010 - 05:02 AM

Least moose-like character to ever be named Moose.Posted Image


Mmmm, snout!-Homer Simpson

#5 of 5 TonyD

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Posted December 29 2010 - 03:07 PM

He looked more Like Howard Stern then a moose.


Took me right out of the movie.


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