Cinema surveillance images are loading at the bottom of the page

Alien adventure

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Fun was an alien concept until these space travellers landed in a theme park.

For hundreds of years, the Glagoliths, a small tribe of wayward space gypsies, have roamed the universe in search of a new home, their previous planet having been obliterated through operator error.

In time, they came upon a Planet tucked away in a rather uninteresting part of the galaxy. At long last, the travel-weary aliens believed they had found a suitable new home. And so a brief, but inconsequential chapter in Glagolith history began...

Before establishing a permanent base on the new-found planet, Cyrillus, the supreme leader of the Glagoliths, deemed it wise to launch manned probes to evaluate the world below. A good idea, except they landed not in the centre of a modern metropolis as anticipated but instead in the middle of Adventure Planet, a new high-tech amusement park not yet open to the public...

High above the planet's surface, Cyrillus and the crew of the Glagolith mothership monitor the adventures of their brave comrades on the surface as they explore the unique areas of Adventure Planet.

Despite a few minor incidents (resulting in aliens being frozen and the after-effects of Glagolith motion sickness - not pretty), it quickly becomes obvious that the Glagolith explorers on the planet surface have not had this much fun in a Long, long time.

Fearing that too much fun could destroy the fabric of the Glagolith civilisation, Cyrillus orders all the space probes back to the mothership before things get too far out of hand.

Thus it came to pass, the aliens' visit to Adventure Planet became a mere speed bump in Glagolith history. Their high Commander and spiritual leader declared this "civilised" planet incompatible to intelligent life.

The search for a new home continues...

Theatrical propaganda posters

Alien adventure poster image
Alien adventure poster image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film animation alien adventure 3d Imax

Persons of interest

  • John Boyle .... Narrator
  • Bouli Lanners .... Alien
  • Pierre Lebecque .... Alien
  • Ben Stassen .... Screenwriter
  • Ben Stassen .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Duke Pukem.

I am the kind of person who feels nauseous just bending over to tie my shoelaces, so watching a 3d flick about amusement park rides was not the wisest course, yet there I was and the film was running and the nasty Director of Intelligence was waiting, so sit through the whole thing poor me did, but not without the occasional in depth examination of the fascinating seat next to him or the lovely acoustic tiles on the ceiling.

*Shudders*

If you like making yourself sick at the Easter Show then you'll like Alien adventure, otherwise, run like hell!

Security censorship classification

G

Surveillance time

45 minutes (0:45 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 16 November 2000

Cinema surveillance images

Alien adventure film still image

[ Return to top ]

Where did the idea for Alien adventure come from?
Large format 3-d cinema, is a powerful new entertainment technology. While making 3-d mania! - encounter in the third dimension, our first giant screen 3-d film I got a better understanding of how audiences relate to this kind of experience. A viewer will respond to a feature film emotionally and intellectually. When watching a large format 3-d film, there is also a very physical response to what is happening on the screen, and I don't mean simply that the viewer will dodge objects flying off the screen or try grab things hanging over the audience. There are a lot of visceral responses to this kind of film experience that you would never get watching a feature film.

For instance, in 3-d mania! when the professor wants to test his new invention and asks rhetorically: "I need a volunteer," time and again I have seen kids raising their hands to be the chosen one. I was determined to explore this physical aspect of the large format immersive 3-d viewing experience in our next production.

Contrary to 3-d mania! where I wanted to audience to be aware at all times that they were watching a 3-d film (after all encounter is a film about 3-d cinema), in the next film the use of the 3-d space had to be very powerful and seamless at the same time.

With that in mind, I did not want to create a typical large format film, a film that tries to teach and educate at the same time, which makes it very difficult to keep the viewer in a state of total immersion for 40 minutes. Once we had made the decision to lay the emphasis entirely on the entertainment value of the film experience, everything starting to flow.

For logistical reasons (the lack of adequate live action production tools among other things), I decided to make a film that could be created entirely in the computer and since I wanted to have characters in the film, the obvious choice was to create a film with aliens, eliminating the need to use real actors.

At nWave pictures we have extensive experience in creating film based theme park attractions, the decision to use a new high-tech theme park not yet open to the public as the back-drop for our story was an easy one to make. The Alien adventure concept was born.

How did you select the attractions the aliens are visiting?

The most popular attractions at major theme parks around the world today are either roller coaster rides, dark rides, 3-d film experiences or ride films. I wanted to package all of this in Alien adventure. The film itself is a 3-d film experience. Even though the seats are not moving in the theatres all the attractions are in fact ride films. I set up two of the attractions as dark rides and two as roller coasters. Magic carpet is a dark ride adventure in the bowels of an underground Arabian palace with dungeons and dragons and, of course, a genie to help us out of the most difficult situations.

Aquadventure, also a dark ride, immersing the viewer in underwater themed environment where we swim with dolphins, come face to face with mechanical monsters and an all too real virtual shark.

Kid coaster and Arctic adventure on the other end are fast paced roller coaster rides.

What was the most challenging aspect of this production?

Producing a large format 3-d film is a nightmarish experience. It is very difficult technically. Since so few giant screen 3-d films have been made to date, it is hard to know what works and what does not work. Every aspect of the production is so very expensive and because of the relatively small production budgets of large format films we cannot afford to fix mistakes. In other words we have to constantly take creative and technical risks, while under great pressure not to make any errors.

Having said that, the most challenging aspect of Alien adventure was the character animation. films like Toy story, Antz and A bug's life have shown that computer graphic workstations can be wonderful tools to create great character animation. But how do you do it when you have a fraction of the budget of these digital masterpieces and the size of your canvas is 8 times bigger than your average multiplex screen?

You basically improvise as you go along. Alien adventure is not only the first fully digital large format film created to date, it is also the first full length 3-d large format film using character animation. Since we do not have an R&D team to develop whatever piece of software we might need, the production required a lot of creative solutions to very technical problems.

We ended up using two different programs to animate the aliens (Lightwave and Maya). All the sets and environments were created in either Maya or Explore. The different layers were composited using the composer from wavefront. The aliens were rendered on Intergraphs workstations while Silicon Graphics workstations were used to render the sets and to do the compositing. It's the digital equivalent of having 10 building contractors working on a 10 story building, one for each floor...

There must also be great advantages in using digital tools to create a 3-d film...

Absolutely! It is true that large format 3-d filmmaking can be a very difficult and frustrating endeavour but the tools of the digital revolutions are opening up the door to a totally new way of making 3-d films. The potential is so great that I dare say that the digital tools and the size of the screen enabling us to immerse the audience completely within the filmic space are turning 3-d films into a new language of cinema.

Take for instance a crucial issue like depth of field. In a 3-d film the entire frame should be completely in focus in order for the 3-d effect to function well - achieving this is one of the major challenges of shooting a 3-d film. When using traditional filming techniques in shooting 3-d, limited depth of field becomes a major issue since there are always certain areas within the frame in focus and other areas out of focus. In a 2-d feature film this would be seen as a graphic element, it's part of the language of cinema. in 3-d films, it is simply bad, it looks awful.

By creating the entire film in the computer, we are able to have 100% of the elements in the frame in focus. It is a turning point in the evolution of 3-d cinema - the audience is completely immersed in the experience. The advantage of large format films is that you do not feel like you are watching a film, the environment you are seeing seems so real. But in a large format 3-d film, this effect is partially or totally destroyed if some areas in the frame are out of focus. All of a sudden the viewer becomes aware again that he or she is watching a film.

We have not even scratched the surface of the true potential of this new form of audio-visual expression.

What do you want the audience to get out of this film?

Since the introduction of giant screen theatres over 25 years ago, filmmakers have been under pressure to make films that have to be all things to all people. Films appealing to school children during the daytime, to more mature audiences in the afternoon and early evening and to teenagers on the weekend. Films that can play in institutional theatres, stand alone commercial venues and giant screen theatres within multiplexes. Films with a G rating that do not exceed 40 minutes. Films that entertain and educate at the same time.

After making Thrill ride: the science of fun and 3-d mania! - encounter in the third dimension, two films that certainly tried to meet the expectations of giant screen market place. I wanted to make a film that would explore the immersive quality of the giant screen film experience in an entertaining way without trying to teach anything along the way.

Alien adventure is certainly not a conventional film with a strong dramatic story or structure but I hope that the audiences will be coming out the theatre entertained and feeling they just went through a new type of film experience like they never had before in a large screen theatre or in any theatre for that matter.

Large format 3-d cinema is an exiting new entertainment platform. But it is an infant medium and we have not even started to explore its potential. Because of financial and technical considerations, there are numerous limitations on what filmmakers can and cannot do with the format at this point in time. But as the network of theatres grows (making it possible to spend a little more money on our films) and as the production tools become more manageable, a greater diversity of films will get made and more conventional stories will be told, transcending the rather gimmicky nature of the large format 3-d films released to date.

There is as much difference between a giant screen 3-d film experience and a feature film experience, as there is between a feature film and a stage play or a musical. I believe that the audiences are starting to understand that and have different expectations whether they watch a large format 3-d film or a feature film.

However, the novelty of the medium alone will not insure the long term viability of giant screen 3-d cinema, but if with every new film we make we break new boundaries in 3-d filmmaking, introducing audiences to a new type of film experiences, I am convinced that they will come back for more and 3-d cinema will be here to stay.

[ Back ]

Glagoliths
The aliens are of unknown origin. they are referred to as Glagoliths due to the striking resemblance of their alphabet with the Glagolith alphabet, one of the few alphabets in the history of mankind to be credited to the genius of one individual, Constantine, a 9th century Byzantine philosopher of Macedonian origin. On his deathbed in Rome, Constantine became a monk and took the name Cyril. The alphabet he created evolved throughout the centuries to what is known today as the Cyrillic alphabet.

[ Back ]

Planet
As the aliens are unable to identify the planet as Earth, it can be assumed that they originated from a distant galaxy.

[ Back ]

Long, long time
The alien scouts experienced four attractions before the Commander ordered them back to the mothership: Arctic adventure (a hot ride in a cool place), Magic carpet ride (a cool ride in a hot place), Kid Coaster and Aquadventure (a wet ride in a dry place).

[ Back ]