Why no 4-D movies?

In regards to the "Why do you need special glasses for 3-D movies? " classic I was wondering…
why hasn’t hollywood offered a 4-D movie yet?


Seems like the movie Memento was crying out to be done in 4-D.

Well, by the 4th “D” you’d need to define what the “D” was symbolizing.

From m-w.com

Since you’re watching the movie going forward in time, I’d assume that the film was actually already in the dimension, thusly making all “3-D” movies you’re watching a “4-D” movie were you to include the distinctive time variable as a dimension.

What 4 dimensions (4-D) are you referring to? Most movies are in 2-D (height and width, if you will). 3-D movies trick your brain into thinking that a third dimension (depth) has been added. The physical dimension of an object can be defined in 3 dimension (3-D).

Some people refer to time as a fourth dimension. In that case, height, width, depth and time describe an object. What other option are we missing?

Sea World (San Diego) has what they call a 4D movie experience in an attraction based on an R.L. Stine story about a haunted lighthouse. They have a special theatre built for the show which features “Back To The Future” alumni such as Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson. It’s a basic 3D movie, and they hand out the special glasses as you go in, wondering what they 4D part is all about. The 3D part, of course is ghosts and pirate swords flying out of the screen and above your head and is very competently done. The fourth demension effect is provided through

strategically placed nozzles that squirt or dribble you with, um, liquid at appropriate splashy/stormy moments. They set the audience up for a pretty good parctical joke - hence the spoiler box

Based on that, a 3d + Odorama movie could qualify as 4D.

Disney World has TWO shows like the one B. Under_Duck described – a Muppets one and one based on A Bug’s Life. The Muppets one even has

penguins! With a cannon!

It’s pretty much a given that anytime you sit down in a theater at a Disney park,

you’re going to get sprinkled with water.

If you want a “TRUE” 4D movie, just go to a play, or did we all forget about these?

Besides the obvious reasons, there are plays that play on the fact that there is indeed an Audiance. I’m sure we all know the special segment with “Our Town” can atest to a variant of this.

pulls tongue out of cheek

Thanks everyone. Interesting answers.

Has there ever been a commercially available movie with multiple story lines allowing the audiance to “vote” on the way the story unfolds? My ten year old son enjoys books written that way, and he asked why there are no movies that use the technique.

Meeko…I recently saw Showboat again. Great play.

A) It involves shooting lots of extra footage.

B) It cannot be practically done with standard film projection equipment. It could, in theory, be managed with digital video.

C) In general, the plots of such stories are satisfactory only to children. The “choices” are generally contrived either so that the “wrong” choices lead to sudden death (not satisfactory for a medium where people pay to get in) or to be only meaningless temporary diversions, where the “alternates” quickly reunite.

D) In the early 70’s, I saw a TV pilot called “Decisions, Decisions”, a comedy thriller starring Bob Newhart, which used punchcard ballots and a studio audience. “Lame” does not begin to describe it. I can’t even find any place on the Internet that acknowledges its existence.

Yup, kind of. The 1985 movie Clue (starring, among others, Tim Curry, Martin Mull, and Christopher Lloyd) had three different endings. IMDb’s entry says that the endings were shown in random theaters, but I could have sworn an audience somewhere got the chance to vote on the ending they wanted to see. Maybe it was for a test audience only.

Legoland Billund has what they call a “4-D” movie. It’s a 3-D movie with some special effects; for example, when the action on screen includes a snowstorm, “snow” falls in the theater, too. The “snow” is made of soap bubbles. It’s rather convincing as long as you keep the goofy glasses on, though. Can’t see that this would be practical outside of an amusement-park style setting, though - they can keep the same movie running for years, a normal movie theater would have to change the effects every time the feature changed.

The old arcade game Dragon’s Lair was kind of like that. The hero (Dirk?) was an animated character, and he fought through different animated vignettes depending on the choices of his player.

The arcade version of Dragon’s Lair used the sudden death method mentioned by John W. Kennedy. There were basically two movies loaded inside the machine, one of Dirk the Daring succesfully navigating all the hazards, and another of him dying in all the myriad ways. It just switched from one movie to the other, when the player made a wrong move. I’m not sure that there was even a computer involved at all.

There was also (briefly) a Dragon’s Lair cartoon on TV (in the early 80s, I think), where viewers could vote somehow at each commercial break on what they wanted Dirk to do. Here, I presume that they used the method of quickly re-merging the story lines.

I recall a comedian on the Tonight Show commenting on the failure of this film at the time… “Americans won’t pay to see a movie with four endings. They want to see things like the ‘Rocky’ series… four movies with one ending.”

This, I think, answers the OP’s question.

To add to the confusion, Universial Studios in Hollywood has a Shrek 4-D attraction; like others mentioned in this thread, the fourth “dimension” involved such things as vibrating seats, mist on the audience’s necks, and so forth.

When I was a kid, I saw a play that worked that way. The action took place in a courtroom, and various audience members (selected by a random draw of ticket numbers) were selected to sit in the jury box. The play was a murder mystery, with the wife accused and on trial. At the end of the play, the jury (members of the audience) voted on whether she was guilty or not guilty – I’m sure they just went with majority rather than requiring unanimity – and the play continued briefly after that based on the jury’s verdict. i have no idea what the play was, or whether it was any good, or what; I was a pre-teen.

I’m sure that there must be plenty of improvisational theatre that allows audience participation to shape the story.

The one most people might of heard of is the Geoffrey Archer play, in which the audience take on the role of the jury to decide if he’s innocent or not.

In real life, he was of course convicted.

And I can’t remember the name :smack:

On a related note there is a Mexican playwright working on something called HyperTheatre (I Googled it but can’t find his name, and I don’t have my notes with me).

Let’s say the play is set in a house, and is presented in an actual house. The audience begin in the same room, but as actors enter and exit the scene they can choose to follow an actor into the next room. There can be several scenes running at the same time, the actors never stop acting. As a result to see the entire production you would have to attend a number of times, each time seeing a different perspective of the action. The texts are written so that a single viewing makes sense though, no matte which route you take.

I once attended a presentation that was billed as 4D. It was pretty unique. It went through the history of Pier 21 in Halifax (Guess where it’s shown?).

Anyways, there’s a very, very long stage in front of you, with a scene set up like a train station. However, instead of actors, there were 3D projections on stage. They’d sit on chairs, enter the train, etc. Of course, any objects they actually interacted with were projections as well, and sometimes there would be a sort of movie playing in the background as a character told their story. The ‘action’, such as it was, would take part in one of the three ares of the stage, but there were almost always extras in the other parts, entering the train station, or boarding the train, or even just sitting on the benches. And no special glasses were required.

Because part of the enjoyment of a movie or other story is not knowing the ending. If you want a medium where you have control or influence over the outcome of a story, I suggest buying a Playstation. Of course, even then you still generally move through a single or several story line(s).

I recall seeing something about this at a World’s Fair somewhere, many years ago (in Europe, I think). It was exactly as you describe – the film had breaks every now and then, and the audience voted on which path to take.
There was a swindle, of course – actually writing and filming such a thing would eventually produce a huge number of possible links, blossoming outwards from the initial storyline. So they cheated. After each branchpoint, both narrative lines coalesced at the same next branch point. So no matter what coices you made, you hit exactly the same branch points, in exactly the same order. You can still argue that there’s a lot of story there – assuming N branch points, that’s 2 to the N different possible story lines.

CalMeacham, I think that could work with an improv group and the plot itself was fairly simple. Notice on Whose Line Is It, Anyway that the performers routinely take direction from the studio audience. So you could do a basica boy-meets-girl play and have the actors improv their way through the scenes based on what the audience wants, saving the ending for themselves.