Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday the 13th Part III (1982) - Steve Miner - 3D Blu-ray Review

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Director: Steve Miner
Writer: Martin Kitrosser (Screenplay), Carol Watson (Screenplay), Victor Miller, (Character), Ron Kurz (Character), Petru Popescu (Uncredited)
Starring: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Richard Brooker

James Cameron was recently quoted as saying that making movies like Piranha 3D (2010) "cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3D." What Cameron fails to realize when he says this is that 3D is a cheap gimmick* and therefore works best in cheap gimmicky films, which is why it worked so well in Avatar (2009). Friday the 13th Part III (1982) may not be a great movie but it certainly knows how to make use of 3D as a fun gimmick and never takes itself as seriously as James Cameron takes himself.
 
When it comes down to it, Part III is one of the more middling entries in the Friday the 13th series. There aren't any particularly interesting characters in this one, in fact most of the characters seem to be purposely annoying. Most of the kills in the movie seem to be rehashes of kills that we have seen in the previous two entries of the series. The only things that make this film stand out from the rest of the series are the use of 3D and the fact that this is the film where Jason Voorhees obtains his famous, iconic hockey mask. Of course the ending of this entry in the series is pretty awesome, even if it has been done before.

The picture quality of the Blu-ray's 3D presentation is hard to judge because the use of 3D glasses does tend to dim the colors and cause a bit of ghosting that can't be blamed on the film's transfer. The picture quality of the standard 2D presentation is definitely an upgrade from the DVD but is not nearly as good as I have come to expect from blu-ray. While this is probably due to the condition of the original film negative, I am sure that a little more time could have been spend on some restoration. The picture quality of the Friday the 13th Part 1 blu-ray is much better and I don't see why this one couldn't have been just as good.

Screenshot from Blu-ray.com - Click image to see more.

While the Blu-ray picture quality is still better than the DVD, I am not sure if the price is worth the upgrade just for the better picture quality. However, the chance to finally see the movie in 3D is well worth the price of picking up the Blu-ray. The pure fun of getting to see the movie in 3D makes this mediocre film a lot more fun than it would be otherwise. This film just revels in its use of 3D taking any chance it gets to poke or shoot something out of the screen. That ridiculous yo-yo scene finally seems to actually have a purpose, even if it is just to show one more thing flying toward the audience (seriously, this is the most pointless scene when shown in 2D). 

In my opinion, this is the perfect type of movie to use 3D, it is nothing more than a fun movie that takes full advantage of the fact that no one is going to take it seriously. Movies in 3D are not about trying to create a more engrossing experience for the audience, that is what story and character development are for. Movies in 3D are all about the gimmick and that is all they need to be. Not once have I ever seen a movie and felt that I would have been pulled more into the movie if it had been in 3D. Not once during Avatar did the 3D give me the impression of being surrounded by the movie as James Cameron intended.

*As I write this, I am fully aware that when sound was first introduced into film it was considered by many to be a cheap gimmick that wouldn't last. It is quite possible that history will prove me wrong, but I don't see that happening until 3D can be done effectively without glasses and without inducing headaches.

Rating: 6/10

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