3D-News Archive July 2003


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New 3D-Movie: 'Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over'
3D-News Posted: Monday, July 21, 2003 (14:51 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


The quaint subgenre of 3-D cinema gets a dazzling dust-off with the third installment of Robert Rodriguez's terrific "Spy Kids" films, a bracing plunge into virtual reality that will introduce a new generation to the wonders of those magically goofy red-and-blue anaglyph glasses.

Spykids 3-DAs with its two predecessors, "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" bears a wealth of imaginative riches and a signature mix of outre personalities and gadgets.

Still, fans of the first two films might find the human element somewhat lacking; though the gang's all back, most of the adult actors are onscreen only for cameos, including the toplined Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.

The film really belongs to 11-year-old Daryl Sabara as Juni, the youngest of the daring Cortez family, and mainly to the CG effects. That makes sense given that Rodriguez, who handles a multitude of technical and creative chores on his movies, conceived of the film less as a sequel than as a journey into three-dimensional filmmaking.

The first major U.S. theatrical release to use 3-D since 1991's "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare," "Game Over" utilizes the lightweight, high-resolution cameras James Cameron and Pace Technologies developed to shoot his documentary "Ghosts of the Abyss."

Like the first two "Spy Kids" adventures, this one will appeal to children and adults alike and should, after strong play at the boxoffice that likely will top the second film's take, have a long 2-D life on video.

Joining the regulars this time around are Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Elijah Wood and a quartet of talented youngsters, with the entire cast's spirited work especially impressive considering that everybody acted in front of a green screen.

Explaining the 3-D experience to initiates in the audience is Alan Cumming, reprising his role as kids show personality/inventor Floop, in an opening sequence that makes wonderful use of layered effects via a pop-up book.

The main action finds Juni working as a PI -- complete with droll, noirish voice-over -- having left behind his work as a secret agent. But soon enough the OSS summons him back for a mission of supreme importance: retrieving his older sister, hacker par excellence Carmen (Alexa Vega), who is trapped in the ultimate video game, "Game Over."

The agency had sent Carmen to destroy the game, which is a vehicle for its creator, the Toymaker (Stallone), to take over the minds of kids everywhere.

Stallone has fun with the role of the evil genius, who debates his plan for world domination with three disparate aspects of himself -- one of whom has a blatantly false bald pate, a comical touch in light of the film's super-slick visuals.

To join him on the expedition, Juni chooses his paraplegic grandpa (Ricardo Montalban) for his upper-body strength and mental agility -- a nice lesson in open-mindedness that is reinforced later in the film without being heavy-handed or cloying.

Back at agency HQ, the Giggles (Mike Judge and a pigtailed Hayek) monitor the duo's progress through the game's five levels, while four beta testers (Ryan James Pinkston, Robert Vito, Bobby Edner and Courtney Jines) guide them through the futuristic cityscapes and abstract tableaux.

Among the challenges our heroes encounter are pogo-ing toads, monstrous iron men and various floating and flying objects that will have youngsters reaching up to grab them. Two especially effective set pieces are a breathtaking road race and a lava-surfing episode.

It isn't until an hour into the film that Juni reaches Carmen, and just when the rest of the gang's all here, whetting the appetite for ensemble high jinks, it's game over.

There's a refreshing message about revenge, relating to Grandfather's history with the Toymaker, and a nicely nontraditional salute to the importance of family -- but the latter begs the question: Where was everyone in this extended family for the last hour and a half?

Although the film's concision stands as sharp rebuke to some of this summer's more unwieldy actioners, it's a letdown that most of the wacky, colorful characters don't get to do much.

In tribute to two of the most appealing kid actors around, there are post-credits snippets of Vega and Sabara's screen tests for the first "Spy Kids," way back in the 20th century.

Miramax/Dimension Films, produced by Troublemaker Studios

CAST

Gregorio Cortez: Antonio Banderas; Ingrid Cortez: Carla Gugino; Carmen Cortez: Alexa Vega; Juni Cortez: Daryl Sabara; Grandfather: Ricardo Montalban; Toymaker: Sylvester Stallone; Donnagon Giggles: Mike Judge; Cesca Giggles: Salma Hayek; Gary Giggles: Matt O'Leary; Gerti Giggles: Emily Osment; Arnold: Ryan James Pinkston; Rez: Robert Vito; Francis: Bobby Edner; Demetra: Courtney Jines.

CREDITS

Director/screenwriter/editor/director of photography/production designer: Robert Rodriguez; Producers: Elizabeth Avellan, Robert Rodriguez; Executive producers: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein; Music: Robert Rodriguez; Costume designer: Nina Proctor.

MLBP to publish 2003 All-Star Game program with full 3-D lenticular cover
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 (14:28 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


First-ever front and back lenticular cover sports program to be available in two collectable versions

MLB CoverMajor League Baseball Properties has published the 2003 All-Star Game Program -- the first-ever sports program featuring a 3-D lenticular front and back cover -- which is now available for sale in the Chicago metropolitan area and on MLB.com. The 2003 All-Star Game Program, which is produced by the Major League Baseball Properties Publishing Department, features two collectable covers -- one depicting Chicago White Sox pitcher Esteban Loaiza, the other featuring a duo of reigning league MVP's Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez.

The 2003 All-Star Game Program will be available for purchase at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the 74th Midsummer Classic, Chicago White Sox clubhouse shops and at John Hancock All-Star Fan Fest at McCormick Place. Fans also can place orders for the 2003 All-Star Game Program in the shop section of MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball.

Both versions of the 2003 All-Star Game Program will include a free poster, suitable for framing, by the internationally acclaimed artist Charles Fazzino. The poster is a whimsical view of U.S. Cellular Field, displaying All-Star Game festivities, as well as various sites and scenes from Chicago. The program also will include a 2003 All-Star Game collectible ticket holder, while supplies last. The lenticular back cover of the program will display an advertisement from Pepsi, an official sponsor of Major League Baseball.

The 2003 All-Star Game Program has more than 200 pages of exclusive photos and original editorial content, including an extensive local section on Chicago baseball, and a national baseball section with features on All-Stars, impact players and unforgettable moments in Major League Baseball history. Contributing writers include George Will (nationally syndicated columnist), Bob Nightengale (USA Today Sports Weekly), Alan Schwartz (Baseball America), Fred Mitchell (Chicago Tribune), Bob Klapisch (Bergen Record) and Bruce Fretts (Entertainment Weekly).

A special article in this year's program will be "The First Time," written by Nathan Maciborski, which will be a look back at the very first Midsummer Classic, which took place at Comiskey Park in 1933.

"The All-Star Game Program is an important publication because it represents the aura of the Midsummer Classic long after the last out of the game has been recorded," said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball. "The 2003 All-Star Game Program combines insightful editorial with the most advanced publishing techniques to suitably represent what is the most important All-Star Game in recent memory."

Along with the All-Star Game Program, the Major League Baseball Properties Publishing Department produces a variety of original Major League Baseball books and publications including the annual MLB Yearbook, Major League Baseball en espaqol, Little League Magazine, and the Official World Series Program.

Loreo Lite 3D Viewer
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 (14:03 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


The Lite 3D Viewer is a Parallel Format (side-by-side) Print Viewer made of card paper. It also works well as a Computer Monitor Viewer for medium sized images. Cheap, lightweight, foldable and mailable, it folds flat to the thickness of its lenses (7 mm) and fits into a 4R (4 x 6) photo album sleeve. It is suitable for viewing 3R and 4R (optimum) prints, and 5 - 7 inch wide images on a computer screen.

Loreo Lite 3D Viewer

Loreo hopes to enable 3D enthusiasts to send 3D prints and images to friends and family along with an economical viewer to view them with. This handheld viewer also makes it easier to view prints in photo albums, instead of having to pull them out and put them in the deluxe viewer. It is also suitable for viewing side-by-side images produced by other 3D devices, such as twinned cameras, Stereo Realist, Cha-Cha etc.

The Lite 3D Viewer has gone through many design stages and was tested by many people at each stage. In order to further improve its compatibility with 3D image formats and types of vision (e.g. long-sightedness, short-sightedness etc.), many 3D enthusiasts around the world were invited to help evaluate the prototype. A comprehensive prototype testing website was set up to allow participants to input feedback in a structured form.

Specifications

Viewing Print Size:Standard 3R (3.5 x 5 inches) prints or 4R (4 x 6 inches) prints
Screen Image Size:
Optimized for 5 - 7  inch wide screen images
Viewing Format:
Side-by-side (Parallel) format 3D
Viewing Distance:
12 - 20 cm from 3D photograph to front panel of viewer
Eyeglasses:
Can be worn or taken off while using the viewer.
Lens:
Clear plastic lenses with prisms
Viewer Size:138 x 76 x 7 mm  folded (L x W x D) - 7mm is the thickness of the lenses
Viewer Case Size:
142 x 81 mm (L x W)
Viewer Weight:20g (with case)
Material:
Plastic coated white card paper with the inside surface printed black to create the dark viewing chamber.
Colours
Black & White / Fun Colours

More information is available from Loreo, http://www.loreo.com

Newly Launched 'Opportunity' Follows Mars-Bound 'Spirit'
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 (3:31 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


NASA launched its second Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, late Monday night aboard a Delta II launch vehicle whose bright glare briefly illuminated Florida Space Coast beaches.

Opportunity's dash to Mars began with liftoff at 11:18:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (8:18:15 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The spacecraft separated successfully from the Delta's third stage 83 minutes later, after it had been boosted out of Earth orbit and onto a course toward Mars. Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., received a signal from Opportunity at 12:43 a.m. Tuesday EDT (9:43 p.m. Monday PDT) via the Goldstone, Calif., antenna complex of NASA's Deep Space Network.

All systems on the spacecraft are operating as expected, JPL's Richard Brace, Mars Exploration Rover deputy project manager, reported.

"We have a major step behind us now," said Pete Theisinger, project manager. "There are still high-risk parts of this mission ahead of us, but we have two spacecraft on the way to Mars, and that's wonderful."

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science Dr. Ed Weiler said, "Opportunity joins Spirit and other Mars-bound missions from the European Space Agency, Japan and the United Kingdom, which together mark the most extensive exploration of another planet in history. This ambitious undertaking is an amazing feat for Planet Earth and the human spirit of exploration."

As of early Tuesday, Opportunity's twin, Spirit, has traveled 77 million kilometers (48 million miles) since its launch on June 10 and is operating in good health.

Opportunity is scheduled to arrive at a site on Mars called Meridiani Planum on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time (evening of Jan. 24, Eastern and Pacific times), three weeks after Spirit lands in a giant crater about halfway around the planet.

NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter has identified deposits at Meridiani Planum of a type of mineral that usually forms in wet environments. Both rovers will function as robotic geologists, examining rocks and soil for clues about whether past environments at their landing sites may have been hospitable to life.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. It built the rovers and manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for the NASA Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

Information about the rovers and the scientific instruments they carry is available online from JPL at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu.

Both rovers have stereoscopic cameras on board.

Alien Museum Touches Down In Portland
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 (2:52 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


An alien museum is drawing crowds to Portland's Hollywood district. The Portland Alien Museum, which opened last week in a converted home, features a 3-D alien roller-coaster film and evidence from alleged extraterrestrial encounters.

Stephen Hanns, the property owner and co-founder of the museum, said he and museum director Lawrence Johns had been looking for a place to put the museum when his building came open.

"We've been meeting for coffee once a week and laughing about it for over a year," he said. "When Larry first proposed the alien thing to me, I thought, this is the last thing I want to do. It's so embarrassing to admit you're involved with it."

Though skeptical, Hanns, a dentist, has high hopes for the museum's potential as a business venture. The museum has drawn a couple hundred visitors in just over a week, he said.

Hanns said the Portland building is the only alien museum this side of Roswell, New Mexico, the alleged site of a 1947 UFO crash. "That's why a real bricks-and-mortar place has a chance," he said. "There isn't anything like this around, only in cyberspace."

Newspaper headlines reporting close encounters with alien beings adorn the museum's walls, while a TV monitor shows aerial footage of crop circles. There's a glass case displaying evidence from Roswell, as well as information on crop circles that appeared in Forest Grove last summer.

Since opening the museum, Hanns and Johns have heard from dozens of people from Oregon and beyond who want to share their stories and their research.

Johns, who has a doctorate in theology and a background in art, said his goals for the museum range from public service to entertainment. "My goal is to concentrate the information into one place so people can access it and to be a new attraction for visitors to Portland," he said.

The family friendly museum has a library and small lecture space as well as a hands-on room for children, Johns said.

So far, he said, visitors have spanned the spectrum, "from people that want to learn more about aliens, to those who want to sit down and tell you about their trips to Jupiter.

"You think that because it's fringe, that people are unified, but it's just like anything else," Johns said. "The museum is a place for people to come and share their stories."

As the museum's director, Johns said he tries to keep a neutral stance on the existence of extraterrestrial life, but it's hard to miss the far-off look in his eyes and the subtle shift in his countenance when he starts talking about the possibility.

"There's a tremendous interest in making contact," he said. "I think that interest will produce contact if it hasn't already."

'Shrek 4D' Ride Debuts At Universal Orlando
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 (2:44 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


The ride is shown at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida and includes an 18-minute 3D movie where tourists wear "OgreVision" glasses. The movie uses four digital projectors, two for each eye, to produce sharp detail on a 50-foot screen.

Thousands of Universal Orlando guests, donning Shrek ears and green painted faces, were on hand to celebrate the ogre-sized grand opening of the new "Shrek 4-D" attraction at Universal Studios Florida in mid-June. Guests toasted the new attraction and the newlyweds with green "champagne" while Shrek and Fiona cut into the World's Largest Wedding Cake.

An amazing, first-of-its-kind partnership between the creative powerhouses DreamWorks and Universal, "Shrek 4-D" is a multi-sensory, multi-media continuation of DreamWorks Pictures' Academy Award(R)-winning blockbuster "Shrek." Picking up where the movie left off, the attraction combines original 3-D animation, state-of-the-art digital cinema projection and audio systems, with unique in-theatre effects that audiences can see, hear and feel. "Shrek 4-D" reunites the comic talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow who return to give voice to the swamp-dwelling ogre, Shrek; his faithful chatterbox companion, Donkey; his bride, Princess Fiona; and the vengeful ghost of Lord Farquaad.

The tale begins as Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey, set off on their honeymoon. But the ghost of Lord Farquaad, intent on taking his fearsome revenge, interrupts the honeymooners' bliss. Soon, our fairy-tale heroes are face to face with ghostly foes, and the audience is transported into the center of a thrilling adventure packed with such fast-paced sequences as an aerial dogfight between fire-breathing dragons and a steep plunge down a 1,000-foot deadly waterfall.

With 12 minutes of all-new 3-D animation, "Shrek 4-D" bridges the narrative between "Shrek," "the greatest fairy-tale never told," and the upcoming sequel from DreamWorks Pictures. Guests use OgreVision glasses that make the screen and theater come alive. Surprising sensory elements and spectacular visuals yet to be seen, heard and felt in a "4-D" attraction complete the thrill.

Pneumatic seats are reportedly enhanced by older standards such as water-squirting nozzles and probes that tickle the neck and legs.

The ride will also be featured at Universal parks in California and Japan.

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Editor-in-Chief: Alexander Klein.

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