Friday, February 10, 2012

Movies need to go immersive, not just 3D

Star Wars finally debuted in glorious 3D, and it was pretty spectacular. The 3D really helped to bring out the details in the background and the extras that really are doing more than standing around. Each scene in The Phantom Menace is really rich. 

While I really enjoyed Star Wars in 3D, do you know what would have been even better? Star Wars as an immersive experience.

"What is an immersive experience?" you may be asking yourself. It's where all senses are used and not just sight and sound. If you've ever been to Disneyland, Universal Studios, or a similar fun land, you've probably experienced immersive movies, although they just call them 3D. These are the rides where you put on 3D glasses, you hear sound coming from all 360 degrees of the room, you feel your seat rumble beneath you, you feel jets of air shoot across your legs and feet as well as your face, you feel mists of water squirt in your face, you may smell some sweet or not-so-sweet smell, etc. Each of these movies is usually in a dedicated theater and the best ones have some animatronics to go with it.

For a standard, commercial theater, all you would need to add would be rumble seats, jets shooting air at face and feet, jets spraying a mist of water, and maybe a few scents. These few things in addition to 3D glasses and surround sound would actually make the movie goer feel like he was in the movie.

One of the biggest complaints I hear about 3D is, "That's all there was to it? How disappointing?" The experience is lacking, especially after you've been to a Disney World style 3D experience. 3D isn't the next big thing in movies, because it doesn't go far enough. Full immersion is. Now if only Hollywood can figure that out.

Note: The image at the upper right is a panel from the upcoming Wandering Koala uncovers the Sixth Figure comic book, set to be released in March 2012. Wandering Koala certainly looks like he's being immersed in something, doesn't he?

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