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3D Blu-ray Films: What’s Out And What’s Yet To Come.

2010 has been the year of 3D cinema and it is now possible to enjoy the latest big-screen 3D releases in the comfort of your own living room with the launch of Blu-ray 3D.

If you’re lucky enough to have a 3D TV, there’s a good chance you’ve been enjoying television from Sky TV’s new 3D channel, or Virgin Media’s new 3D offerings. But for those with Blu-ray 3D players, there’s sadly still only a relatively small number of Blu-ray 3D films available to buy - though you can expect plenty more in the run up to Christmas and in the New Year.

That might have some of you confused - after all, search the internet and you’ll find an array of so-called ‘3D’ movies available to buy on DVD. But many of these are published on standard Blu-ray, and are the old-fashioned stereoscopic type of 3D titles that require ‘passive’ red-and-green specs, or polarising glasses like the ones you get in the cinema.

What we’re talking about is the new generation of hyper-realistic 3D movies designed especially for the latest Blu-ray 3D player technology.

These require active shutter glasses, which rapidly ‘open’ and ‘shut’ the left and right liquid crystal lenses alternately, in sync with the 3D TV, to send separate images to the left and right eye in sequence. You’ll find a helpful demonstration of how it all works from funny man and self-confessed geek Stephen Fry here.

For those who want to find out what Blu-ray 3D has to offer, here’s a round-up of the titles currently available - or soon to hit - Blu-ray 3D:

Avatar (12)

The seminal 3D movie, Avatar is the Blu-ray 3D film that should be at the top of everyone’s wish list. The Blu-ray 3D version is available now - but only as part of a Blu-ray 3D starter pack bundled with Panasonic Viera 3D TV and Blu-ray 3D player packages. So if you really must get your hands on this movie before Christmas, it’s the only way!

Blu-ray 3D disc, 170 mins, filmed in 3D. Extras TBA.

A Christmas Carol (PG)

Another made-for-3D spectacular. A Christmas Carol re-tells the well known Charles Dickens tale. Featuring the motion-captured performance of Jim Carrey, A Christmas Carol is a rollercoaster ride re-imagining of the much-loved Christmas epic, allowing you to make the most of its 3D effects. The Blu-ray 3D disc is out now.

Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D discs, 96 mins, filmed in 3D. Extras: documentary and Disney Blu-ray 3D preview.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (PG)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs follows the story of crazy inventor Flint Lockwood, inventor of a wacky machine for turning water into food that becomes stuck in the stratosphere above his hometown, causing strange weather to occur. CGI animation and 3D seem almost a match made in heaven, and this film is eye-poppingly colourful and great fun to watch. Just the sort of thing for anyone thinking of jumping on the Blu-ray 3D bandwagon, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is available to buy on Blu-ray 3D now.

Blu-ray 3D disc, 81 mins, converted from 2D. Extras: two Documentaries, extended scenes, music video and concept images.

Monster House (PG)

One of the few films to be released on Blu-ray 3D, Monster House is another succesful CGI motion-capture titles that’s been given the 3D treatment. It’s a film that might on the surface appear to be no more than a ‘kiddy’ flick - but there’s more than enough going on here to justify buying Monster House for its 3D credentials.

Blu-ray 3D disc, 91 mins, converted from 2D. Extras: audio commentary, storyboard sketches, two documentaries.

The Polar Express (U)

Alice In Wonderland (PG)

From the twisted mind of Tim Burton comes an updated version of the Lewis Carroll favourite. Coming from the mind of Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland is characteristically bizarre and imaginative, making this an interesting title for newcomers to Blu-ray 3D. It’s available now on Blu-ray 3D, but only as part of a Sony 3D starter kit bundle. This includes the disc, an HDMI cable, a 3D sync transmitter and two sets of active shutter glasses, and sells at about £250. The standalone Blu-ray 3D disc goes on general release from 7 December.

Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray discs, 109 mins, converted from 2D. Extras: 15 documentaries.

Ice Age 3D (U)

This CGI sequel follows the Ice Age heroes on a journey into a lost land of dinosaurs. It’s currently only available as part of the Panasonic 3D starter kit, which comes with two sets of active shutter glasses and a copy of Coraline 3D for around £120 - and as part of Panasonic’s 3D TV/Blu-ray 3D player bundle, along with Avatar. A standalone Blu-ray 3D disc release date is yet to be announced.

Blu-ray 3D disc, 87 mins, converted from 2D. Extras: none.

Coraline 3D (PG)

Coraline tells the story of a young girl who finds a mysterious door in her home that leads to an alternate dimension. This film is beautifully captured using 3D models, which makes this an ideal starter title for anyone looking to get into Blu-ray 3D. Coraline 3D is bundled with Ice Age 3D in Panasonic’s 3D starter kit and at present is the only way to own the Blu-ray 3D copy. Coraline 3D will be released as a standalone Blu-ray 3D disc in January.

Blu-ray 3D disc, 100 mins, filmed in 3D. Extras: none.

Want to know more about Bluray 3D? Amazon has a great guide to 3D technology here, and you can find a good round-up of the latest Blu-ray 3D players at CNET.