As the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get a drastic reboot as only Michael Bay could devise, so might theaters everywhere near you. As human beings, it’s in our nature to be drawn to fantasy. It’s been like this since the first myth around the first camp fire. We want to be a part of the epic action. We want to feel the adrenaline rush of battle, conquer space, and help the good guys win (or bad guys, depending on your preference). Since the Lumière brothers wowed the first small audiences with the magic of the moving picture, we have been trying to make films as much of an experience as we can. When silent turned to “talkies” and Technicolor struck, our cinescape was forever changed. Audiences felt closer than ever to their favorite stories. Will the big blue world’s favorite medium permanently adopt this devotion to 3-D technology? Or is it just another piece of Dodo Bird technology- like the 8-track player or the laser disc?
Is 3D A Passing Phase?
Hollywood power players like James Cameron seem to think 3-D technology is here to stay, or at least they’re pushing hard for it to be that way- verbally and financially. While others predict this trend is on the decline, as evidenced by decreasing ticket sales, falling stocks, and waning home-theater would dictate. If you ever had the pleasure of flying through the mountains of Pandora in Cameron’s “Avatar,” or sliced through buildings beside the Decepticons in Michael Bay’s “Transformers,” it’s difficult to see how such a thrill could die down anytime soon. Alas, numbers don’t lie, and this year’s 3-D sales dropped $400 million, despite an increase in 3-D film releases. A different study revealed that only three-in-ten movie goers believe 3-D films actually improve their viewing experience. This could be attributed to the fact that many films have been remastered in 3-D post-production, with little of the aesthetic wow factor of a Cameron or Bay 3-D film.
Other reasons might be that one-out-of-four people experience sickening side effects from 3-D technology, or that ticket prices are noticeably higher. With Samsung opting not to produce 3-D computer technology and waning stock and ticket sales, even masterfully implemented 3-D films could shrink by the wayside. Although current 3-D titans need not hang up their hats quite yet, something more realistic could be just around the bend.
Art Imitates Life With 4D
Despite some reports indicating that Americans are moving away from interactive movie going experiences all together, those backing 4-D technology strongly disagree. Unlike watching TV or a computer screen, developing the 4-D technology offers people an experience they can’t simulate at home. 3-D offers a unique visual treat, but 4-D enlists all of our senses, allowing us to see, hear, smell, feel and taste every bit of the action. Theater seats are being fitted with the ability to rumble and shake, with strong fan blowers that let you feel the thrill of a chase, strobe lights to simulate lightning, gunfire and explosions, bubbles, mist and over 1,000 scents that can invade your nose with anything from gunpowder to Angelina Jolie’s perfume or Michael Bay‘s net worth.
Picture a jaunt to your local theater to catch the controversial new “Ninja Turtles” movie, sitting down and feeling your seat rumble as you descend into the sewer. Maybe the scent that accompanies the sewer descent isn’t optimal, but at least it’s authentic. As the party dude embarks on a pizza run, you’re inundated with the scent of freshly baked pizza, and when they’re flying through the air swinging katanas and defeating evil, so are you. This emerging technology could be the next step in movie evolution, or a giant, stinky waste of money. Like any potential trend, only time will tell whether 4-D will catch on, but one thing is for certain, there’s not an app for that!