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9:27pm on Wednesday, 24th August, 2005:

3D Movies


There are lots of 3D "attractions" out here in the theme parks; you wear a pair of oppositely-polarised glasses and there you go. These attractions usually involve a show in a cinema, during which things are thrown out of the screen (intensely irritating) and you get sprayed or blown by puffs of air.

This is a waste of 3D.

What I'd like to see is an attraction like Epcot's Soarin' involving 3D glasses. Soarin' involves your sitting in a chair which is suspended from a gantry and hoist into the air just a few feet from a huge circular screen that fills your entire field of vision. As the camera swoops like a hang glider over trees, rivers, cities and seascapes, the chair is moved to match. Thus, you'll be leaning back as the camera flies up a mountain side, and you get a real feeling of lift when you glide over the top. It's really very effective.

It' not the best feeling of swooping I've had out here, though. That came in a 3D show, Mickey's PhilharMagic. There was a magic carpet ride over Agrabah that was just beautiful, even though you didn't feel you were there. If this were coupled to Soarin' technology, the result would be gobsmacking.

It turns out there is a ride that combines 3D glasses with actual motion, Spiderman at Universal. This hasn't got out of the generic 3D mindset, though, so you get things pointed out of the screen at you and you get sprayed with water. Only for one short segment do you actually do the flying thing, but it really is short — a few seconds at most. Then you're back to being shot at and sprayed.

If there were a 3D ride which made me feel as if I were flying, which didn't throw things at me or blow air or water at me, I'd go on it again and again.

Someone's going to make one eventually.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).