Sensory Overload?

Photo Credit: http://www.thestudiotour.com

It seems that good old-fashioned 3D is something of a dinosaur these days, except of course in home entertainment. There was a time when 3D was pretty impressive. In a lot of ways it still is, yet 3D is losing ground to a new concept – 4D. 4D references a touch factor in addition to the typical 3D. There have been several new 3D shows released in the last few years that all added some bonus features to a 3D short film.

The oldest show I can think of is the Terminator show at Universal Studios, Hollywood. Not only was there 3D, they drove a motorcycle onto the stage, fired off incredibly loud assault rifles, and bounced the viewers along with the action in the specialized seating. One had to remember to brace for the ending if they were to view it more than once. The final scene dropped the audience rather violently back into position, and most people leaving the theater could be seen holding their backs or other parts in some amount of pain. The show was pretty good, though, for all the loud racket.

Universal followed up the Terminator with Shrek 4D. This took advantage of an ogre’s likelihood to blow snot at an audience, and said audience was squirted with water at just the right time. The Shrek show was also pretty good. Disney began offering similar shows with A Bug’s Life and the Muppets. I was unfortunately sitting in just the wrong position for A Bug’s Life the first time I saw it though. I was unprepared for the small hard object to poke at the audience to make them think a bug was under their seat. Let’s just say I was a little young at the time for a prostate exam. Further viewings were achieved without this problem, so I still think it is a pretty decent show.

With the addition of 4D elements to Captain Eo, I am wondering more and more whether or not this is necessary. It seems that they could have spent a lot of their time developing decent 3D glasses rather than rigging seats to spray water or dangling huge black widow puppets above an audience. I would have much preferred the better viewing experience over the effects immersion.

What do you think? Is 4D superior to 3D? Would you agree that the glasses need more work than the touch effects? Let me know.

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