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ALIEN ADVENTURE

SYNOPSIS:
A small tribe of aliens, the Glagoliths, have been roaming the earth for millions of years in search of a planet to call home. Stumbling at last upon the planet Earth, they send a small advance party down to explore the terrain. Upon arrival, the aliens find themselves in an about-to-open amusement park, Adventure Planet, which they mistake for an Earth city. To find out more about Earth, the Glagoliths embark on four of the park's terrifying rides: Arctic Adventure, Magic Carpet Ride, Kid Coaster and Acquadventure.


Review by Jake Wilson:
Like many 3D IMAX films, Alien Adventure could be described as more a theme park ride than a traditional example of narrative cinema. Then again, theme park rides often rely on tried and new narrative structures - complete with tense lulls, dramatic climaxes and surprise twists. So perhaps we should say that Statten uses (some of) the techniques of narrative cinema in the aid of a theme-park kind of experience.

In any case, the dull and nonsensical narrative framing device (featuring Belgian aliens!) serves as a mere pretext for the kinetic first-person sequences placing the viewer in the catbird seat for a number of wild roller-coaster rides. Since the rollercoasters in question are entirely computer-generated, naturally they're higher, faster and more elaborately constructed than their real life equivalents could ever be. The eerily weightless rocketing across impossible landscapes (such as the ridiculously high ice mountains in the Arctic Adventure sequence) can induce a state of pleasurably dreamlike vertigo. Statten is not exactly trying to copy or simulate the experience of riding an actual rollercoaster; rather, he asks us to think of 3D IMAX cinema as a 'ride' in its own right, a machine for transforming our normal perceptual categories of space, movement and perspective.

It's an interesting project, yet on a technical level (as in 3D movies in general) the illusion never works quite as well as you hope it might. Throughout all the thrills and spills, my eyes remained softly aware of being tricked - struggling to hold the breadth of the screen within a single visual field, and blinking irritably at the fuzzy textures of the floating translucent imagery.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

ALIEN ADVENTURE (G)
(Belg/US)

VOICES: John Boyle narrator; Bouli Lanners, Pierre Lebecque

DIRECTOR: Ben Stassen

PRODUCER: Charlotte Clay Huggins, Caroline Van Iseghem

SCRIPT: Ben Stassen

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Stassen

EDITOR: Ed Escalante, James Manke, Todd Portugal

MUSIC: The Puzzlers, Louis Vyncke, Lele

PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT: Ken Cosci

RUNNING TIME: 35 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 14, 2002 (Melbourne)







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