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.
Step up 3D
Product Release: December 21, 2010
Audio: English, 7.1 DTS-HD; French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Running Time: 107 Minutes
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
to the 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
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.
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.
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