Okay, I will admit it. I've been obsessed with movies all of my life. I desperately enjoy the big screen, the sound effects and the feeling that for a short while, I can lose myself in the fantasy flickering in front of me. Little did I know that on a lazy Saturday morning, I would be pulled in a new direction.
It was August 26, 1995 and I sat watching some geeky technical show. The commentator spoke about a place in Ledyard, Connecticut, which is the home of the Foxwoods Casino. Within this structure was constructed an amusement center called Cinetroplis. He explained that inside was a theater with a 360-degree screen, which could totally immerse you in the movie. But what interested me the most was the movie seats that would move and bump with the action on the screen. By the time the television spot for the attraction had ended, I was hooked.
I mapped out this area and found that it was only 2 1/2 hours away from the Bronx. The wife thought I was nuts because of the sudden need I had to visit Connecticut but I stressed on how much fun the kids would have in a place like this (I was kind of referring to myself also when I said "kids" but I think she knew that). I figured the best way to enjoy this extravaganza was to drive up there and stay at a hotel for a few days. Yes, I felt like it would be that much fun. Sort of like a mini-Disney World.
As we drove up to the casino entrance, I was certain that we would soon begin days of an innovative movie-going experience. It was difficult for me not to jump out of the car but I calmed myself long enough for us to park. Once inside the casino, there seemed to be an awful lot of gambling machines and a lot of people spending money unnecessarily. Didn't they know where the "real" fun was? Obviously not.
As we got to the section called Cinetropolis, I was a little disappointed that the "amusement park" was not bigger.
As we got to the section called Cinetropolis, I was a little disappointed that the "amusement park" was not bigger. We moved directly to the enclosed theater and climbed into the specially made seats. Through a series of hydraulically controlled programmed maneuvers, the chair bobbed and weaved with the actions on the screen. Yes, the motion seats were exciting but the entire movie feature could not have been more than ten minutes long. After the show, we found the one or two other attractions in the immediate area. Some interactive virtual reality games (games that use computer imagery to create artificial environments) but nothing to write home about. What I discovered was that after about one hour, we had gone through all of the attractions in the place. Dizzy Dad had to agree with the rest of the family. I too was bored. We returned to the hotel, refunded our money for the other two days and found our way back home.
Don't get me wrong. I really liked the motion chairs but the most exciting part of the experience wound up being the anticipation I felt about what I might find in Cinetropolis. Seems that the IWERKS company had invested mega bucks in putting the center together but then found it was a great deal of trouble to keep up with the dream that they had envisioned with only the 1990's electronics. This place was ahead of its time and could not draw the interests of the public. The Foxwoods Cinetropolis IWERKS Theater closed down by 2002, as did it's sister complex in Japan.
This now brings me to my new obsession. It seems that the experience of Cinetropolis has finally come of age.
To be continued....
The greatest happiness you can feel is when you share with someone you love.