In Search of the Fourth Dimension

An Active3D Movie Review:
Spy Kids “4-D” : All the Time in the World

Rating (out of 5 stars): **

The story – in three sentences
Jessica Alba – she of the original Spy Kids – is back, and looking as gorgeous as ever. She’s now married to a guy with a little boy and girl. Said girlie (whose mum had died) hates and resents her new stepmom, although anyone with the vaguest understanding of commercial movies can predict that, as soon as stepmum’s secret vocation (she’s still a spy) is revealed, stepdaughter will suddenly be overawed by the coolness of it all, and unreservedly embrace the new parent in her life…

Preggies and dangerous

A scene early on in the movie is worth at least half the admission price, although it isn’t the easiest scene to witness, and I’d imagine that mothers will watch it gape-jawed. It shows Marissa (the Alba character) downing the bad guys with a startling array of martial arts flips, kicks and swipes – in a pregnant state. And not only is she pregnant, but she’s mere moments away from giving birth. So, while the film may be mired in cliché, these few moments are truly and utterly original. At least, as far as I know… The rest is all paint-by-numbers stuff, but it’s clearly aimed at a very young audience – and only at them – so there’s little point in seriously reviewing this fluff.

But here’s the beef:
In movie circles, the term “4-D” is generally reserved for theatres which offer 3-D imagery, seat movement, smell, and even tactile elements such as light sprays of water. This film trumpets, as its “fourth dimension”, smell – which is delivered to its audience via rub-and-sniff ‘Aroma-Scope’ cards (in a fashion akin to John Waters’ scratch-and sniff ‘Odorama’ cards that he used in his trash classic, Polyester).

So, to call this film “4-D” is a stretch, but I was prepared to overlook that conceit for a couple of hours of juvenile fun, fully aware that Aroma-Scope was not about to revolutionise our cinemagoing habits.

But the damn card didn’t work! I desperately rubbed it and scratched it… and all but grated it and snorted it – but to no avail. All the numbers – in fact, the entire card – smelt like one flavour of bubble-gum – or was it scented loo spray? Oh yeah; there was one exception, which gave off a vague smell of onions, though I can’t remember whether it was even the appropriate odour.

I learnt to live with the disappointment, being the vaguely mature adult that I am, but what if I’d been a parent with child in tow, who’d hyped up the fact that said young ‘un was about to smell the movie? I would’ve probably been a lot less forgiving. Unless the local distributor, Ster-Kinekor, has  functioning Aroma-Scope cards up its sleeve, it had better install security gates at its cinema manager’s doors, to shield the poor devils from the wrath of disgruntled mums and sprogs.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: