Whether you have a 3D system already or are planning on getting the Playstation one, one of the things you’ll want to think about is which 3D Blu-Rays to buy to really show off your system. After all, one of the best things about being an early adopter to technology is having people over and showing off 🙂 And with Blu-Rays costing upwards of $30-50 each, they’re not cheap. You’re going to want to invest wisely.
I’ve been doing a lot of research myself. It’s hard to look at sites like Amazon.com because half the people are setting their star rating based on the quality of the movie, and the other half based on the quality of the Blu Ray and/or the 3D. I’ve scoured a bunch of review site and I’ve listed here what I believe are the best Blu-ray discs based on the combination of both–which titles are the most entertaining AND have the best Blu-ray AND 3D quality.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll be updating this list periodically as new titles come out.
Best Blu-ray Documentaries
Documentaries are among the best ways to show off your Blu-ray 3D setup. This is because as good as Hollywood special effects people are, it’s hard to compete against the utter beauty and awe you’ll find on God’s green earth. Most of the best documentaries are, of course, transfer from IMAX 3D movies which were originally broadcast in science museums and IMAX theaters nationwide. As a bonus, most Blu-ray 3D titles also come with a standard DVD of the title, meaning you can pass it along to a friend or a school or play it for the kids on an old laptop or in the car.
Based on my own experience, here are the very best Blu-ray 3D documentaries. I’ve put links to purchase them on Amazon, but where I’ve found a cheaper price at another retailer, I’ve put a link there as well.
1. By most accounts, IMAX: Hubble 3D is the current king of the hill as far as 3D Blu-ray documentaries go. It was released on 3/29/11. Note that the title is a little misleading: this is not so much a Blu-ray disc of deep-space images from Hubble, but more so a documentary about the 2009 Space Shuttle Atlantis to repair the Hubble telescope. The documentary is as educational as it is visually and audibly stunning. You’ll learn about the Hubble telescope, the design flaw that made it unusable, and the mission to essentially place a giant “contact lens” to correct its vision. There are stunningly beautiful images of the Shuttle’s launch, the spacewalks to repair the shuttle, and of course some images from Hubble itself.
Those who say this excellent movie in an IMAX theater have said that it’s the closest thing to being on the shuttle you can experience (and now that the space shuttle program has ended, it’s the only one). The cheapest place to find this Blu-ray is at Best Buy–just click here to go to their site and search for “Hubble 3D”.
2. IMAX: The Ultimate Wave – Tahiti is another very highly rated documentary. The good news is, this isn’t an hour of surfer dudes galavanting around the South Pacific looking for waves to surf on. The documentary covers Tahiti’s beautiful landscapes, stunning underwater scenes, local culture and customs, and even some the science behind surfing before concluding with some surfing action. Throughout the 45 minute film you’re treated to stunning visuals that maximize the use of your 3D set.
Reviewers have described this title as “spectacular”, “entertaining and beautiful” and “amazing”, particularly the underwater scenes which provide as good an experience than actually going yourself (some would say even better, since you stay dry :P).
3. There are a couple underwater-related IMAX movies out there. By most accounts, the best of these is IMAX: Deep Sea. It shows the variety and beauty of natural life on the sea floor in stunning clarity and depth. Color fidelity is excellent. The film is narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. At 40 minutes, it’s one of the shorter Blu-ray titles out there, but what it’s missing in length it makes up for in picture quality and 3D fidelity.
One reviewed marveled at how well images “popped” out of the screen, what you want good 3D to do. One reviewer did note that this title has “excessive parallax” in a few of the scenes, which may or may not affect you (parallax is when you see two objects “ghosting” each other rather than one solid image, which is different from person to person).
4, Diving back under the water, our fourth best documentary is IMAX: Under the Sea 3D. Rather than looking at deep-ocean waters, this documentary looks at the coral reefs of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Great Barrier Reef. One reviewer, a scuba diver, commented that the colors were among the most accurate he’s seen.
The documentary is narrated by Jim Carrey, but reviewers are quick to point out that he does the narration in a professional way, with an appropriate amount of humor. The documentary explores many different underwater creatures, and also brings attention to how pollution is harming the coral reefs, but ends with a hopeful note on ways that humans are trying to help.
5. IMAX: Legends of Flight rounds out our list of the top 5. From a content perspective, the documentary walks viewers through the history of aviation, culminating in the development of the Boeing Dreamliner 787 and Airbus A380. While this may sound a bit dry (in fact, most reviewers say that you’ll most appreciate the film most if you’re an aviation enthusiast already), having been on the Boeing Plant Tour recently, you’ll find some of the innovations enlightening if you’ve ever flown in an airplane.
As for the 3D, most reviewers state that it is stunning. There’s a combination of computer generated imagery and actual footage, all of which pop out of your screen.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, but there’s clear consensus that you can’t go wrong with these, both to show off your 3D TV setup, as well as to learn a thing or two. As more documentaries come out, I’ll be updating this list.