Retroactive 3D: Past Films We’d Like To See With the Third Dimension

Have you noticed there’s a movement currently going on involving some newfangled technology called “3D”? And have you noticed almost every movie these days – especially summer days – employs said technology? And finally, have you noticed almost every movie that employs said technology seems to just throw it in during post-production to make an extra (quarter of a billion) buck(s)? Weird, so have we! And as long as it’s OK to more or less retroactively “treat” a movie with 3D – be it a contemporary release or an classic that’s being re-released (Star Wars, Titanic) – here are some that came out prior to the boom and that we’d love to see while wearing those ridiculous glasses.

Raiders of the Lost ArkMost Steven Spielberg Movies

Schindler’s List in 3D? Awkward! Ditto Amistad, The Color Purple and The Terminal, et al. But almost every other Spielberg movie from his vast canon is tailor-made for the technology. Jurassic Park in 3D … I mean, that alone would negate every bad, 3D-injected-for-cash movie shoved down our throats post-Avatar. But it wouldn’t have to end there: E.T., Jaws, Raiders, Close Encounters, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report – hell, 3D might even render A.I. watchable!

Independence DayIndependence Day: ID4

Like absolutely every Roland Emmerich movie, Independence Day is preposterous – but for those of us willing to check our disbelief, logic and pretension at the door, it’s at least guilty-please preposterous. 3D would take it to a whole new level, elevating everything that’s good about it (i.e., aliens, grandiose explosions, that Vivica Fox scene) to the video-game-like fun it is intended to be. Plus, Roland Emmerich could pocket more money!


Given his staunch anti-all-things-technology stance, Quentin Tarantino presumably would never even hear of 3D – but maybe Robert Rodriguez could talk him into it! Either way, Grindhouse – which should not even be allowed to be seen at home, sans fake trailers and quasi-continuity – remains one of the boldest, most misunderstood cinematic ventures in many years, and with all of its retro, grimy gimmickry, the movie(s) could’ve greatly benefitted from one more trick (had it been fashionable at the time): 3D.

28 Days Later28 Days Later

With all the sub-par horror flicks rushed into theaters sporting their 3D badges these days (cough Saw, cough cough Final Destination. I’m choking!), it’d be cool to see a genuinely scary movie – even if it has a bit of depth thrown in – with the glasses on. Danny Boyle’s best movie not named Trainspotting was shot with nifty digital-video camerawork that made us feel like we were there; 3D would add heart attack-inducing vividness to those zombie close-ups, leaving us seeing – and possibly running from – zombies for days afterward! Plus, if there’s is any species of undead that’s ripe for 3D, it’s gotta be zombies. Right?

The MatrixMatrix Trilogy

An absolute no-brainer. The Matrix was, visually, lightyears ahead of its time when released; 3D would be a logical next step. That slo-mo gunshot? The close-to-the-camera action sequences? They NEED the extra dimension. So does Keanu Reeves’ acting.

Where The Wild Things AreWhere the Wild Things Are

Somewhat confounding in 2D for adult and children viewers alike, perhaps 3D would shift the focus of this Spike Jonze epic to where it really needs to be: the larger-than-life, otherworldly visuals. It might actually serve to simplify what is an occasionally frustrating, unnecessarily overwrought adaptation.

The ExorcistThe Exorcist

If you thought some of the images from The Exorcist were permanently embedded in your brain, just imagine them in 3D: The upside-down spider-crawl down the stairs by Regan; the projectile split-pea-soup vomit that feels like it’s headed right toward you; the 360-degree head-sp– … OK, let’s scratch this one.

A Clockwork OrangeA Clockwork Orange

This could backfire, obviously. Stanley Kubrick’s controversial 1971 masterpiece is unrelenting and borderline sadistic for the viewer, and much of the movie, with its horrifying commentary on humanity and free will and its unflinchingly violent scenes (even by today’s standards), isn’t meant to be consumed under the influence of 3D. But then there also exists Kubrick’s notorious attention to eye-popping visual detail, his futurism fetish, and the resultant brain-melting beauty thereof, which to me would make Clockwork in 3D an unforgettable, reward-outweighs-the-risk trip worth taking.


I’m aware that this suggestion borders on sacrilege, but let’s all concede that if/when Ghostbusters 3 hits theaters, there’ll be a “D” unsubtly added to the title – in fact, it’ll be made largely to capitalize on the cash cow that IS 3D. As such, we must embrace the fact that the original has at its core everything that makes a transition into 3D mandatory: a giant f—ing marshmallow man.

Fear and Loathing in Las VegasFear and Loathing in Las Vegas

We’re drug prudes here; a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away. But when watching the all-out drug movie that is Fear and Loathing, one (a hypothetical person) can’t help but feel under the influence, even without being under the influence. It is, for lack of a non-cliche, trippy – and, forgive me, but unsavory movies, too, can be great 3D candidates. Another Terry Gilliam flick that’d work in 3D: Brazil. Just throwin’ it out there.

Total RecallTotal Recall

Pardon the crassness, but [insert crass one-liner about seeing the three-boobed prostitute in 3D]!!