AVATAR 2D vs. AVATAR 3D: Which One Is Better?

Ves awards Which AVATAR did you watch? 3D, 2D or both? And which one was better? People who watched either 3D or 2D have something to say about their AVATAR experience and both sides enjoyed the movie. But those who have watched both AVATAR 3D and 2D have lots of opinions about which format is better and how the two compare.

Guest post by Kristina Daguia

AVATAR has become the top grossing film of all time. The movie made a killing in the box-office as it was released in 3D, with many movie lovers branding it a visual feast, and earning it numerous Oscar nominations along the way. However, there have been a lot of discussions on whether the movie is better seen in in 3D or 2D formats and the benefits and tradeoffs of each.

Bad Moments in AVATAR 3D

Watching the movie in 3D, AVATAR registered several flaws that might lower the interest even of the most diehard 3D fan. Some viewers, for example, found AVATAR 3D particularly straining to the eyes during the first 10-15 minutes. Not everyone's eyes adjust well to 3D and some moviegoers reported eye strain during the first few parts of AVATAR 3D as the images registered in double vision, something which fortunately those who watched AVATAR 2D didn’t experience.

Some viewers who saw both 2D and 3D also thought the space scenes were not as impressive in AVATAR 3D as expected. The scene where the movie’s lead protagonist, paraplegic marine Jake Sully, travels through space and into the fictional universe of Pandora, lacked any depth that would make it stand out compared to AVATAR 2D. Detractors say it looked the same as the AVATAR 2D version.

Obvious 3D Errors

The errors in the movie’s CGI (computer graphics) effects were also a lot more obvious in AVATAR 3D compared to watching it in AVATAR 2D. For example, some purists claim the plants often look limited in movement and unrealistic in AVATAR 3D. There are also scenes in 3D where the tree leaves are blown by the breeze while other ferns near the area are as still as a rock.

Those who have a watchful eye and mind will also notice inconsistencies regarding the sizes of the characters. For instance, the Na’vi characters are giants compared to humans, but there is a scene where Netiriyi holds Sully’s human body and puts it near her face. The sizes of their hands are very much the same in AVATAR 3D, something which is not noticeable in AVATAR 2D.

Battle Scenes

Some of the AVATAR fans who saw both versions also report that the battle scenes aren't much more impressive in AVATAR 3D over 2D. You can experience the same visual feast of the helicopters and warplanes engaging in a 15-minute confrontation in AVATAR 2D.

That said, there are a few more realistic images you can spot in AVATAR 3D, such as the rain drops and the ash generated by the fires during the battle scenes. These are very impressive images one may not even notice in AVATAR 2D. But it's easy to miss these moments, and for some they didn't compensate for the obvious 3D errors.

2D or 3D? Jury's Out

All in all, plenty of fans report that AVATAR 3D doesn't necessarily deliver a more immersive or exciting experience over 2D. They're both great. And many of the bugs and errors are obvious in the 3D version of the movie are definitely not as noticeable in AVATAR 2D. In fact, many fans argue that watching AVATAR 2D is almost the same as watching the 3D version of the epic sci-fi film. That said, plenty of fans also love the 3D effects and would happily pay to see if that way again in 3D theaters or in 3D IMAX.

If you missed watching AVATAR in theaters, the movie is now available in 2D on DVD and will be available in 3D later on in the year so you can decide for yourself. The AVATAR 2D DVD displays in the same large format, has great surround sound, and crisp and sharp video quality (especially in Blue-ray).

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Did you see both 3D and 2D versions of Avatar? Did you notice any differences or inconsistencies?



Each has their high points. But overall i prefer 3D, complete immersion. I like the reg RealD 3D best though over IMAX, colors are brighter and much more vivid. That was my favorite all around experience.


I have never watched Avatar in 2D before because I was so addicted to the IMAX 3D version. I never noticed any of the flaws(maybe the part where Jake puts his hand on Neytiri's face) because I just enjoyed watching the movie and besides I am not a nitpicker.

Call me Joe

No matter 2D or 3D, Avatar the movie itself is great in all extends. though I felt lil difficulties of some focus issues in IMAX 3D but then again those high tech monitors, ashes, water drops, tentacles of the soul tree can not be seen this realistic in 2D, you'll miss those things if not seen it in 3D. apart from that the movie is so epic that you can't get time for judging its 2D/3D difference. I'm eagerly waiting for the sequel.

Dale Shaw

I know most of you won't get this but ... I don't get the choice. I have only one (functional) eye and so I get 2D.

So watching Avatar on the small screen (no 3D, no iMax) was kinda ... ordinary. Nice graphics but it was not a hugely moving story, not .. captivating to me.

Brilliant production values, great imagery. , basic story line.

Kudos to James Cameron, Peter Jackson and everyone involved but....

I have seen Die Hard 3 maybe 20 times. I will see Avatar ... once.

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