December 12th, 2006

krazy koati

And Margaritas at the midnight buffet

As it happens, I'd been to Sentosa Island over the weekend and among other amusements took in the ``4D Magix'', one of those three-dimensional movies spruced up with moving chair effects. The publicity stuff out front warns that this is ``Southeast Asia's largest 4D Experience'', and for all I know it is. I'm not a connoisseur of ``4D'' theaters, which I'd always thought were just three-dimensional movies with seats that shake. It turns out Southeast Asia's largest 4D theater is not really all that huge; I've taught in larger lecture halls.

Waiting in line ahead of the experience I did a little playing with the polarized lens, watching how by closing one eye and then the other I could make the polarized lenses in other people's glasses turn opaque or transparent, which may not sound like great fun but is better than just waiting in line. On a high-definition TV screen a video with clips of various ``4D'' movies played, interspersed with comments like ``Do Not Distribute'' on the screen. At the top of the loop the title card played ``Simex! Iworks 3D'', followed by ``Really'', which makes it sound defensive. But it continues to ``Pops!!!'' The guide introducing the theater experience was wearing a red stocking cap.

This particular movie was called ``Pirates!'', the comical tale of Captain Lucky (played by Leslie Nielsen with reasonably little mugging), who buried his treasure and his old crew and a little kid, Davey, on an island. It seems to me killing off your crew is a generally bad policy, but if pirates were really good at business plans they'd probably be in a more reliable career. Anyway, Davey survived, and with monkey Chester set up booby traps to catch the next crew when Lucky returned. With the various bits of slapstick -- Nielsen banging his head into his crew's faces, crews taking hits in the rear end or in the crotch, or so on, the seats jolt so you feel something.

The filming was done pretty well, although apparently my eyes are separated the wrong distance for their cameras, as the pictures were out of focus if I just watched normally. It was best when they didn't have things moving in or out too quickly. I was a bit tired by most of the slapstick, though -- America's Funniest Videos doesn't have so many crotch hits -- though when it got to a sequence where Nielsen is dragged through the water, and the seat ahead of people sprays water to match, the effect was a lot more convincing and more fun. It all turned out reasonably fun, although I think I'd have liked it better if Davey had more motivation to attack Lucky's new crew, since the new crew was logically his best potential ally. I think it was the focus problem with the glasses keeping me from getting swept up in the flow.

Trivia: The Central Pacific constructed 362 miles of road in 1868. Source: Nothing Like It In The World, Stephen E Ambrose.

Currently Reading: The Perfect Machine: Building the Palomar Telescope, Ronald Florence.