Two days ago,I returned from a weeklong stay in North Quincy,MA,where I was visiting an aunt.On one particular day,her neighbor across the street was having a yard sale;I checked it out,eventually coming away with a small stack of vintage postcards.One of these was of the Cinerama theater in Los Angeles.This got me to thinking about Disney's Circle-Vision 360 theaters,as well as their films.
For those of you unfamiliar,Circle-Vision 360 was a special film process that completely surrounds its audiences with imagery,literally allowing one to see scenery from all horizontal angles at once.For years,there were specially designed theaters that showed such films,located in the Tomorrowland section of both the California and Florida Magic Kingdoms (I'm uncertain if they ever had these in the parks outside America).The movies they showed were travelogues of the U.S.From what I understand,both theaters have been replaced with other attractions,although it's still possible to see such films in the Canada and China pavilions at Disney's Epcot Center.
Now,in my opinion,this was something that they gave up on far too soon,and that it still has the potential to entertain...not with another travelogue film.but with some kind of adventure story,possible of a time/space/reality-spanning variety.With the last such film showed at WDW,"The Timekeeper",they came close,but they didn't take it far enough.Consider the 3-D film process they opened Epcot with---the first film,"Magic Journeys",was little more than a free-form visual collection of fantastic images.Their second effort,"Captain EO",was definitely a kick up several notches,an all-star sci-fi fantasy/music video,complete with live-action effects synchronized to the action onscreen.
When filming with Circle-Vision in the past,a problem the filmmakers always ran into was finding scenery that looked good on all sides.Visual effects of today have progressed to the point where it is now possible to create realistic virtual scenery;using such a thing on a real-life travelogue would be seen by many as taboo.Using it to create an alien planet or some other type of fantastic backdrop,that's something else entirely.And unlike the quality 3-D first seen at Epcot in the early 80's...Circle-Vision 360 is still something you can't find at your neighborhood multiplex.
If they put their minds to it,they could really create something incredible!