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CYBERWORLD 3D

SYNOPSIS:
A female cyborg named Phig (voice of Jenna Elfman) takes us on a tour of the futuristic CyberWorld Galleria, opening a number of portals that enable us to enter different 3D animated worlds. Things start to go wrong when a number of bugs enter the CyberWorld system and threaten to destroy the Galleria by chewing away at its programming code.

Hold on to your popcorn boys and girls, here is a cinematic experience that blows Pearl Harbour out of the water, and you don’t have to worry about a soggy narrative. Like most Imax productions it doesn’t have one. Never mind that the premise linking the unrelated cyber-clips is flimsier than Salome’s veils; it one-ups her by serially revealing eight state-of-the-art 3D animations that stir the senses and stimulate the synopses; not intellectually—except in a ‘how in damn-animation do they do it?’ way—but nevertheless as brain-boggling as sticking a Catherine Wheel in your ear, and undoubtedly more pleasant. Unlike the up-coming Final Fantasy, photorealism is not the ultimate desideratum here (notwithstanding some trompe l’oeil-like backdrops) so in that regard it isn’t really comparable with live-action blockbusters. And however zestfully Jenna Elfman voices our sassy cyber-host, the impact on a young geek’s libido is unlikely to match that of Angelina Jolie’s Lara Crotch-exciter. But aquatic jabberwocky, futuristic simians (advanced Apes are apparently all the rage this year) and a surreal Jules Verne-esque opera house (my fav.) imbue the individual sequences with character to match technology. Meanwhile pre-existing scenes from Antz, The Simpsons and a Pet Shop Boys video-clip are each given an extra dimension; literally and figuratively. The pan-dimensional wit of Homer-cubed is also a reminder that it is solid writing (pun intended) that will endure beyond gimmickry; and the imaginative surrealism and free-form associations of the visual extravaganzas give hope that these productions will not go the way of the music video—a genre that (notwithstanding superior examples such as the Liberation clip featured here) promised so much and has delivered such drivel. In any event, the novelty value is in its infancy. If you’re partial to a truly eye-popping spectacle don’t miss it. And if you find a couple of contact lenses stuck to the inside of your visor would you return them to me please?
Brad Green

Some of the novelty may have gone by now, but there’s still a thrill in returning to the IMAX theatre for the first time in a while, finding the best seat (dead centre, six rows back), strapping on the 3D goggles, and preparing to be engulfed. What I’d forgotten since my last visit is how much hard work viewing an IMAX 3D film entails. It’s not just a smooth conveyor-belt ride through a digital Disneyworld – your eyes have to keep adjusting for depth, scanning the monumental backdrops, staying alert for movement in every nook and cranny of the abyss that is the screen. It’s the far-from-passive sensation of having the image all around you, not knowing which way to turn, that makes the 3D IMAX viewing experience unique. Factor in the six-track digital sound and you might almost believe this to be the overpowering total art-form the rest of cinema continues to dream about. Certainly a hard-sell ‘spectacular spectacular’ like Moulin Rouge would be a lot more bearable as an IMAX feature (especially if edited down to the standard length of less than an hour). However Cyberworld 3D, like most IMAX productions, is aimed at schoolchildren and is more a show reel than an actual movie. It's a compilation of trippy shorts made by different groups in several countries, often in a kind of fantasy art vein (there's also a Pet Shop Boys video clip, plus extracts from Antz and the 3D episode of The Simpsons). It's undeniably exciting as spectacle, and the non-Hollywood input adds diversity, but most of the concepts are boilerplate kitsch – the wraparound scenes featuring a Lara-Croft-like cyberchick are especially woefully conceived and scripted. While physically we may be lost in the depths of the screen, mentally we remain trapped in the cramped hell of Z-grade Saturday-morning cartoons. There’s something so depressing about a medium that claims to transform cinema as we know it but still can’t provide half-decent jokes.
Jake Wilson

These days it seems everyone is connected to something cyber, from checking your email to playing Quake online*. Even by going to the supermarket with those barcode scanners, computers have become as much a part of our lives as the clothes on our backs (which were most likely designed on a computer). So watching a movie created entirely by computers is no big deal anymore. Or is it? Presented on the massive Imax screen, Cyberworld 3D is a visual feast of creativity. The premise is combining art and science to make magic, which the film does with fun and ease presenting a series of short clips, some of which you may recognise. In a tour through a virtual gallery that explores various 3D artworks as if it was a traditional gallery, the clips are absolutely stunning, opening your eyes to the mysteries of the imagination. My favourite sequence is one which features a group of insects: there is a dung beetle with a basketball, a blowfly and a very evil looking, impressive Praying Mantis. It’s not only fun, but cute, quirky and very cool. Clever concept and execution. I wanted to see more! Don’t let the title fool you; this is not a film about computers or the Internet. Computers have simply been used as canvas for the artwork. The storyline is fun and brings the clips together nicely with some clever editing. Cyberworld 3D is a good dose of escapism and brilliant imagery which will impress you with its humour as well as its beauty. * For the unaware, Quake is a multiplayer shoot ‘em up.
Sebastian Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

CYBERWORLD 3D (G)
(US)

VOICES OF: Jenna Elfman, Matt Frewer, Robert Smith, Dave Foley

PRODUCERS: Steve Hoban, Hugh Murray

DIRECTOR: Colin Davies, Elaine Despins

SCRIPT: Steve Hoban, Hugh Murray, Charlie Rubin

MUSIC: Hummie Mann

RUNNING TIME: 45 mins

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 21, 2001







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