The theater combines stereoscopic 3-D along with theater lighting, track lighting, mists, bubbles and other diddlywads to give you the experience of the world you’re in. And while it wasn’t the longest piece of cinema at 10 minutes long, I was able to get a good idea of what 4D meant and how it worked.
The basic concept of 4D is to take 3D and add an “extra dimension” of sensory details. That can include touch, smell, mood lighting – anything and everything. For our show, “Planet Earth,” the theater pumped in everything from snowflakes to bubbles.
If it seems like it’s a gimmick, it’s because it is.
Although, let’s not discount it. It was actually an enjoyable experience. The 3D was obviously post-converted, though done in the way I like it – with depth and without stuff flying out – although if there was any time for gimmicky 3D, the “immersion theater” might be it.
The show was a montage of different Planet Earth moments, a veritable best-of to highlight different moods and atmospheres to wow the audience. It was neat, I must say, to watch underwater 3D with bubbles floating around you. Or watch penguins huddle in a gust of wind while that same chilling breeze flies past your face. There’s even a moment where your seat pokes you in the back when a shark suddenly and surprisingly jumps from the ocean water.
Of course, the shortened running time certainly made the idea of 4D more bearable. I’m not sure if I would ever be able to sit through a feature length movie like this man in Korea hopes with Avatar. No, the 4D was a good gimmick and a good distraction at a place where attraction and showmanship pay off, but it would never have a serious place in cinema.
I guess with 3D taking a more serious role in movies and studios trying to divulge it of the theme park connotations the technology has relinquished it’s reigns of gimmick to more “4D” experiences like this. And while it was quite enjoyable, I wouldn’t say it’s groundbreaking. Just something fun and pleasant – in four dimensions.