Encounter in the Third Dimension

The early use of an astonishing device signals that this Imax 3-D effects vehicle is going to deliver. As a scientist prepares to demonstrate a technological advance he's developed in 3-D filmmaking, we're positioned as guests in his laboratory and treated to a cleverly contextualized history of that technique. Then the professor's sidekick—a little flying robot that isn't too annoyingly cute—enters a simulation chamber furnished with old-fashioned theater seats. The virtual-reality adventure that follows—including psychedelic animation so imaginative you feel as if you're dreaming—is well worth the headache you may get from the heavy goggles you have to wear. This production is sexy (and not just because Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is present) and satisfying—its makers obviously understand what many people want from 3-D. Kurt Frey wrote the screenplay with director Ben Stassen; with Stuart Pankin. 45 min.

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