Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Glimpse into the Future

So yesteray I finally made it to Futuroscope, the theme park that promises to dazzle and amaze with its forward-thinking technological showcasing.

As we traverse the roundabout leading up to to the Parc, an overhead banner announces "La Porte du Futur" (the door to the future). And you see its seemingly gravity-defying architecture stalking up from the horizon like something from a Terry Gilliam film. We arrived at the main entrance to find no queues and I was in.

The leaning castle of Oz (actually a KINEMAX cinema)

My introduction to the future began by head-butting a T-Rex.

This was a cinema gone nuts - a silver 9,700 square foot hemispherical dome as the screen and two of the world's most powerful projectors combined with liquid crystal glasses to create a ridiculously immersive 3D experience. In a 'normal' 3D cinema you find yourself looking for the effect, asking yourself  'is this bit 3D? Oh yeah, so it is'. In the dome, the images really do fill every space between the screen and your eyeballs - things don't just pop out of the screen, they're all around you. The film included fantastic recreations of dinosaurs except that these beasts were actually there, in front of you, next to you, attempting to snap at your nose (luckily in this viewing we all escaped with our noses intact). I'm only sad that there's no photograph or image that I could possibly paste here to help demonstrate that sensation.

Moving on... I remembered as a child getting very excited about 'the wedge of cheese with a ball in it' so I dashed straight over there to see what I could see. It was closed. So that's that.

That elusive wedge of cheese

They had 'dynamic' and '4D' cinemas whereby you were strapped into a rollercoaster seat and hurled about in time to the film in front... the closest I've ever felt to being in Red Dwarf's Total Immersion Game. And an Augmented Reality ride allowed you to approach a seeminly empty backdrop, then peer through pair of goggles to see and interact with wild animals.

In another venue there were two full-sized cinema screens, on above the other, with the auditorium built between them. When the film began, the floor beneath your seat became a transparent window. I'm pretty sure the film they were playing hasn't changed in 19 years but it's still fun to feel like you're floating over the sea.

My feet, resting on a window to a second cinema screen
The future is filled with dinosaurs, sea monsters, outer space and films set in the 1930's. Apparently. Or they could just add some cowboys and Indians and rename it 'Cool-Stuff-o-Scope'.


  1. HI Emily you have not posted in a couple of days everything OK?

    1. Yes, all good thanks :-) The RAC came through and sent me via train to my parents' house near Carcassonne on Wednesday, so there really hasn't been much adventure to report! The good news though is that the supplier has found an ignition switch, so we're just waiting to hear that the garage has received it...