Cyberworld in 3D IMAX
Review by Ross Anthony

Organized in the traditional fashion of quirky-host-introduces-unrelated-sequences, "Cyberworld" has a circus feel.

Crashing onto the screen with big graphics, color and a commanding score; the production just can't maintain that initial promise. While there are a few segments that continue to wow audiences, the rest is comprised of rather kaleidoscope amusement - cute, but not-quite deserving of the IMAX format.

Jenna Elfman narrates and is recreated in the form of a lovely computer-animated cyber-host who is the only "human-like" figure in the massive hall created to introduce the segments. Unfortunately, her presence feels contrived and un-inspired (similar to the feel of that introductory hokiness provided by "rides" at an amusement park). I'd have rather seen the real Jenna. As with the Jenna-host, though supposedly 3-D, a large chunk of this production has only a surface fullness, a simulated depth.

However, a cool concept is introduced as the film progresses. Bugs riddle this particular version of the host program (i.e.: Jenna and the massive hall). Jenna defends the palace Cyberworld in 3D IMAXas the bugs "eat" bits and pieces behind the scenes causing the program to crash. I love the idea, but the bugs are too cartoony to take seriously. (Isn't it the virus that eats data - not bugs?) Anyway, in addition to super-imposing the real Jenna Elfman into Cyberworld, more realistic, ugly, menacing looking bugs would have given this good notion some meat to chew on.

Interestingly enough, beautifully rendered and smashingly animated insects bounce around one of the few notable segments. These fine bugs are more interested in sports than code; unfortunately, their interval and story are rather small. I could easily have watched them romp around for three times their allotted duration.

Worthwhile also, is the segment from "The Simpsons" where Homer stumbles into ... the Cyberworld in 3D IMAX"Third Dimension." Though this "3-D" isn't quite as tight (i.e.: hindered by some double-imageness), the story is compelling, humorous and delightful. As Homer puts it, "This place looks expensive, I feel like I'm wasting a fortune just standing here."

The third most interesting bit, "Monkey Brain Sushi" doesn't make any sense, but it's pretty cool. In a primitive cave, a dozen or more monkeys stationed at their respective PC CRT's each pound a yard long candy cane, while the "mastermind" (large brain) dismembers into dancers.

Also of note, a very brief floating ballerina sequence that is interrupted by the crashing program. I liked how it was interrupted, but I think it was interrupted way too soon. I was enjoying the dance.

Included as well is a 3-D clip from the film "Antz." Interesting while on screen, but not very memorable.

To wrap, the production starts out with a bang (I loved the opening credits racing trough an electronic maze), shows off eye-candy-type segments with very tight 3-D; but the glue isn't very sticky or filling or quenching. Still, if you missed it on TV the "Simpsons" sequence is great fun on the big screen and the basketball dribbling bugs are simply fantastic.

Grades by segments (not in order):
Bar scene from feature film ANTZ (PDI/DreeamWorks, USA '98)... B+
The "Homer3" segment from THE SIMPSONS (20th Century Fox/PDI, USA '95)...A
MONKEY BRAIN SUSHI (Sony Pictures Imageworks, USA '95)... A-
FLIPBOOK/WATERFALL CITY (Satoshi Kitahara, JAPAN & Inertia Pics, USA '97/8)... B
PET SHOP BOYS "Liberation" (Pet Shop Boys Partnership/Eye Animation, Eng '94)...B
JOE FLY & SANCHEZ - MOSTLY SPORTS (Spans & Partner, Germany '95)... A
KraKKen (ExMachina, France '96)... B-

  • Cyberworld in 3D IMAX. Copyright © 2000.
  • Starring the voices of: Jenna Elfman, Matt Frewer, Robert Smith, Dave Foley.
  • Directed by Colin Davies, Elaine Despins,
  • Written by Steve Hoban, Hugh Murray, Charlie Rubin.
  • Score by Humie Mann.
  • Produced by Steve Hoban, Hugh Murray, at Imax Corporation. Presented by Intel(C)2000.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:17:11 PDT