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Without question, 3-D technology has come a long way since the days of red and green cardboard glasses, andThe Ultimate 3-D Collectionis ample proof. Included in the set are three roughly 30-minute animated features (Alien Adventure,Encounter in the Third Dimension, andHaunted Castle) and the H3D "i-glasses" hardware you need to enjoy them: a small processing box to insert between your DVD player and your TV, two sets of viewing goggles, and all the cabling you need to put it together. By and large, the sense of real depth conveyed by each feature is astoundingly convincing, especially during the many point-of-view fantasy sequences; crags and dinosaur limbs seem to jut halfway between the screen and your viewing position. Be warned, though, that the discs' image and color resolutions vary from poor (Alien Adventure) to mediocre (Encounter in the Third Dimension) to quite good (Haunted Castle).

Encounter, originally produced to showcase "large-format" 3-D (i.e., a towering IMAX screen), features fun snippets of old films and even a few stereographic still photos. None of these fills the screen or lasts very long, however, and the process reverts to standard 2-D imaging in pause mode. While more live-action footage would have been great, Haunted Castle is a real treat. The only disc with an actual story line (a rock & roll reworking of the Faust tale, with credible music to boot), Haunted Castle creates the most convincing sense of depth through real-life elements like trees and torches. The sound on all discs is excellent, enhancing the sense of depth with seamless DTS surround mixes that work well even in headphones. This is an impressive set, and with 3-D technology this good, there's a strong chance the included goggles and processor will see more 3-D action going forward. --Michael Mikesell

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CastStuart Pankin, Cassandra Peterson, Jasper Steverlinck, Kyoko Baertsoen, John Boyle
DirectorSean MacLeod Phillips, Ben Stassen
Screen WriterKurt Frey, Ben Stassen
DVD Release Date:  October 30, 2001
Runtime:  274 minutes
Studio:  Sling Shot
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