Kermit: So it's going to be a swell demonstration, and at no time will we be stooping to any cheap 3D tricks.
Fozzie: Did someone say "cheap 3D tricks"? [Blows noisemaker at camera]A trope exclusive to 3D movies. When making a film specifically for a 3D release, many filmmakers like to play with the 3D effects by making people and objects appear to reach out from the screen at the audience. More often than not it's simply done for its own sake to show off the 3D effects, but this can also be used to invoke a sense of danger, such as throwing sharp objects or driving cars right at the camera. The effect is unfortunately lost, however, when the film is eventually released on DVD in 2D, leaving viewers wondering why these characters enjoy shoving stuff into the camera so much. Depending on one's personal preference toward 3D movies, it can be seen as either using the medium to its full potential, or just adding a gimmick onto another gimmick.
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Film - Animation
- Monsters vs. Aliens makes a shout-out to House of Wax in the opening sequence, with a man at a research station playing with a paddleball.
- DreamWorks Animation's Vanity Plate, debuting in their second movie to be in 3D, makes significantly more use of depth than the old one, featuring such gimmicks as the boy swinging his fishing rod around such that the hook swings past the camera, and the letters that spell "Dreamworks" flying in from the foreground.
- The Minions from Despicable Me deliberately do this in teasers for the film. The first one has them see who can reach out to the audience the farthest, and the second film's teaser involves a chorus of Minions singing a parody of "Barbara Ann" while blowing a noisemaker at the screen.
- Ice Age 4: Continental Drift has several instances, especially in the scenes involving the pirates, where their weapons constantly being swung, thrown or thrust towards the audience.
- Shrek 4-D has many, many shots of objects and characters sticking out of the screen - a statue with a sword, Shrek's finger, Pinocchio's nose, and even Donkey's entire body at one point.
- Matthew Callaghan's 3D Looney Tunes theatrical shortsnote invariably indulge in these quite frequently. The first three Road Runner shorts and "I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat" have loads of them while "Daffy's Rhapsody" and "Flash in the Pain" use them somewhat less frequently.
Film - Live-Action
- Trope Namer comes from the famous scene from House of Wax (1953) where a person playing with a paddleball turns toward the camera and bounces it right at the audience.
- This was inverted for the opening credits of the 2002 documentary Space Station 3D, which, with the aid of rear and side surround-sound channels, gave the impression of massive block-letters, not jumping towards you from the screen, but flying from behind you, going into the screen. Sadly, encoding for the 3D Blu-Ray release has a glitch that makes the image for both eyes identical for the first three and a half minutes, negating this effect.
- Used very blatantly in Spy Kids 3D, where things like frog tongues, cogs, fists, cars and all sorts of stuff get thrown straight at the viewer on every possible opportunity, which is VERY visible if you're watching the movie in 2D.
- TRON: Legacy has a memorable moment in which a grappling hook is fired directly into the camera at high speed, scaring the crap out of most audiences due to a lack of such shots prior to that.
- Creature from the Black Lagoon mostly goes for the "deep" style of 3-D where the environments appear to stretch far into the distance behind the screen, but there are a handful of moments that leap out towards the audience, such as the shot of the fossilized Gillman hand jutting out from the wall and the bat flying into the camera during the climax.
- The "flying fish" scene in Life of Pi in which the aspect ratio inexplicably shifts to display black bars along the top and bottom during a quiet scene, until flying fish leap toward the viewer, extending out of the frame into the black bars.
- Amusingly, there are some really blatant 3D gags left in finished cut of Them! despite the fact that, due to a 3D camera malfunction on the day filming began, they ended up filming in 2D. They apparently didn't alter the shots they had planned at all, which is why most of the climax revolves around long tunnels and flamethrowers being fired directly towards the camera.
- The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl is guilty of doing this several times, some of which were achieved via cheap Jump Scares, and a particularly memorable example during the brain storm where Linus takes a brain and throws it onto the camera, causing it to slowly slide down, leaving a trail of...something.
- Jaws 3D wasn't at all subtle about its use of this trope, even going so far as to have fragments of the shark's titular jaws come flying out towards the audience when it's blown up.
- Mad Max: Fury Road is a post-conversion job whose 3D effects are generally rather subtle, but the obligatory paddleball shot does show up during a particularly memorable car wreck when a skull-emblazoned steering wheel flies directly at the audience.
- Final Destination 4 uses this both in-universe and for the audience in a case of The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You. In the second premonition, Janet's death occurs at a movie theater showing a 3-D movie, in which a fire at a construction site behind the screen triggers an explosion that sends a fireball and all manner of sharp debris flying through the screen. The camera is positioned in the audience so that the (real-world) viewers watching the movie in 3-D get the full effect. For bonus points, it happens during an explosion in the movie that Janet's watching.
- Used to good dramatic effect in Dial M for Murder, when Grace Kelly thrusts a hand straight at the camera while being strangled by a hired killer.
- Parodied in a sketch on The Lenny Henry Show in which one of two doomed men in the opening scene of a spoof horror film keeps waving his fishing pole around. The other guy asks him what he's doing, and the first says he's making the most of the 3D effects (the sketch is not shot in 3D, although the pole behaves like a bad 3D effect).
- Parodied in the Monster Chiller Horror Theater segments on SCTV, which ocassionally show fake 3-D films that consist of nothing but this - minus the 3-D. ("Have some pancakes!")
- On the Home Improvement Three-Dimensional Episode, Tim and Al spend all of Tool Time shamelessly shoving things at the camera.
- Clarification: The episode in question isn't in 3D. In Universe, Tim and Al's show within a show is doing a 3D week. The gag for the audience watching it on TV is that the entire Tool Time sequence is pandering to the special 3D cameras, which look so ridiculous on 2D television.
- Parodied in "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Nature Trail To Hell" ("...See severed heads that almost fall right in your lap / See that bloody hatchet coming right at you....")
- The 1982 Disney theme park effort Magic Journeys has several such shots. The most famous is one of a kite in flight — anecdotes of viewers reaching out to touch it are the stuff of Disney legend — but there's also a carousel's brass ring, a montage of spooky imagery highlighted by a Wicked Witch shooting lightning from her hands, drifting balloons, etc.
- Captain EO, its replacement, has similar hijinks. Among them: a floating rock blown up by a laser in the opening shot, starship debris, the Supreme Leader's claws, and two extended bits in which Fuzzball floats out towards the audience.
- Muppet*Vision 3D makes good use of this, which is lampshaded right near the beginning. Jim Henson said in an interview that a goal of this film was to top the Magic Journeys kite. So other examples of paddleball shots include the flying remote controlled pie and Waldo the Computer Graphic seeming to point his nose right at the viewer (joking that everyone else in the theater thinks he's personally addressing them). Even Sweetums gets in on the fun with an actual paddleball!
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida features these throughout, to the point that Jimmy lampshades it.
Jimmy: What else is good in 3-D? Oh yeah, t-shirt cannons!
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg:
- Taken to its logical conclusion at the old Corkscrew Hill ride. A wicked witch reaches into the audience and pulls out one of its members.
- Curse of DarKastle, a darkride with 3D elements, uses this a number of times, with kitchen knives and ghostly heads flying at riders.
- Parodied by The Cinema Snob when reviewing Friday the 13th Part III, given the movie is equally guilty.
- Nostalgia Critic's review of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (above) prompted him to point out the (over)use of this trope in the film, and other such fare.
"...But then, every so often you get the YouTube Poop of 3-D. Where every so often they just go 'F**K YOU, WE'RE 3-D! F**K YOU, WE'RE 3-D!'"
- Parodied at the end of the Strong Bad Email "stunt double", where Strong Bad turns into an anaglypic 3D image ("Check out all my dimensions! I got height, width, and now, for a limited time only... depth!") and throws 3.5" diskettes at the camera.
- Used in the 3D Looney Tunes short "Lumber Jack-Rabbit", where the WB shield flies into the audience in the opening.
- Parodied in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. At one point, Professor Utonium takes the girls to see a 3-D movie adaption of the TV Puppet Pals, where, after hitting his partner Puppet Pal Clem over the head with a baseball bat, Puppet Pal Mitch thrusts the bat at the camera.