Some of you -- mostly, the ones who clearly have nothing else of importance to remember in your lives -- may recall that a couple of months ago in this very space I reviewed the exciting new young-adult film "The Hunger Games."
It was the first time in years that I'd darkened the doorstep of a movieplex, and frankly, I was blown away by the recent technological advances in the film industry.
Primarily, I was referring to today's snack-bar food choices. The last time I'd been to a movie, the most exotic thing you could buy at the snack bar was a Diet Cherry Coke. But now, one can purchase -- and take into the theater -- such modern marvels as pizza, pasta, chicken strips, fish and chips, gelato and ice cream, pulled pork, sandwich wraps, quesadillas, and warm cookies.
This is definitely not your father's movie snack bar.
But as impressive as film fare has become, there's something even more exciting making its way into the theaters of tomorrow. Something called "D-Box."
We know this because when my wife and I went to see "The Hunger Games," there in the lobby of the new Gigantiplex in Centerville was a "D-Box" demonstration. It consisted of two seats in front of a large screen, showing the trailer for "The Hunger Games."
Although it sounds more like a bad rapper name, D-Box is a system that utilizes something called MFX, or motion effects. In a D-Box-equipped theater, movie seats are capable of subtle pitch, roll and heave motions -- which cause the seats to move forward and backward, side to side, and up and down, as well as vibrate.
"The resulting motion is perfectly synchronized with all onscreen action, creating an unmatched realistic immersive experience," according to the company's website, www.d-box.com.
So whenever our heroine Katniss Everdeen would schlunk! another arrow into an unsuspecting Hunger Games contestant's chest, our chairs would shudder oh-so-slightly.
Personally, I found the motion somewhat annoying. It reminded me very much of those long car trips when our children were younger -- back before iPods and onboard movies and portable video gaming systems -- where they would sit in the back seat and, for want of something better to do, kick the back of the driver's seat for hundreds upon hundreds of miles until I'd finally end up hissing: Please stop kicking the back of my seat. PLEASE stop kicking the back of my seat! STOP KICKING THE BACK OF MY SEAT!
And we're supposed to put up with that for an entire 142-minute "Hunger Games" screening?
Explains the company's website: "D-Box Simulators are the next dimension of your cinematic experience. Taking you literally inside the movie."
OK, so these people might know motion effects, but they don't know squat about the English language. Because I'm almost positive that this D-Box thing can't take you "literally inside" a movie. 'Cause that would mean -- well, I don't know exactly what that would mean. But I do know I wouldn't want to be the one to have to clean out the projector.
Perhaps by saying they can put you literally in a movie, the D-Box folks mean they could cast you as a digital extra or something.
Now, that's something for which I'd pay a premium. For a fee, your image -- or the image of your choice -- is computer-generated and digitally inserted into your favorite movie:
* Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in the hilarious diner scene from "When Harry Met Sally"? That's you in the background, eating meatloaf at the table in the corner.
* The Battle for Endor in "Star Wars: Episode VI -- Return of the Jedi"? The Ewok on the runaway Imperial speeder bike looks just like your family's pet Shih Tzu.
* Tom Hanks landing on the beaches of Normandy in "Saving Private Ryan"? Say, isn't that your boss floating facedown in the French surf?
Now that's what I call literally being in a movie. In a virtual sort of way.
Sadly, this is not what the D-Box people are talking about. Rather, they've made the same mistake many of you non-professional writers do -- that is, when they say that D-Box motion effects literally put you in a movie, they literally mean to say that you're figuratively placed in the movie.
The good news is that the number of D-Box titles is growing rapidly, with plenty of old and new action films -- from "Terminator" to "Battleship" -- to choose from.
Of course, there are also films you wouldn't think would lend themselves to the D-Box experience, like the hamster-spy flick "G-Force," or the golly-I'll-never-look-at-Easter-the-same-way-again Russell Brand movie "Hop."
Yes, "Hop." The movie that features a rabbit defecating jelly beans. I can certainly see how you'd want your seat synchronized to vibrate each time Mr. Bunny performed that little Easter morn miracle. I mean, talk about putting you right there in the middle of the "action."
It's enough to make you crazy.
How's your Memorial Day weekend going so far? Tell Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or email@example.com.