By Edward Gambichler
These days, you cannot see a movie without the major theatre chains offering the alternate “3D Experience” ( albeit with the additional ticket price increase needed to justify the eye candy ). Not many media outlets, tho, offer the truly visionary innovation that is the “4D Experience” and at a reasonable price of forty dollars. The New York franchise of Madame Tussaud’s wax figure museum, however, has risen to the challenge. And not only that……..it showcases ( in both film and wax ) the Marvel Comic’s legendary lineup of superheroes. Unfortunately, in trying to rise to the challenge…………the good Madame misses the mark completely and plummets to the ground in flames.
After paying the admittance fee, I took the elevator to the beginning of the tour. When I stepped off the elevator on to the ninth floor, I immediately was thrust into a celebrity filled A-list Holywood industry party. However, I wasn’t there to rub elbows with the self absorbed wax glitterati ( no offense to Brad, Angelina, George, Julia, and Morgan ), but with thunder gods and super-soldiers. As I made my way down to the eighth floor and through the historical figure exhibit of the museum ( almost running over Dr. Martin Luther King in the process ), I finally made it to the seventh floor and the Marvel exhibit. I expected the same grandeur that met me when I started the tour. What I got was what I can only be describe as a less than impressive display, hastily cobbled together to take advantage of the media blitz surrounding the release of the new Marvel film, “The Avengers”.
First off, only four wax figures were on display, in the lobby of the theater wing of the museum. The wax figure lineup was comprised of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk. Unfortunately, with the exception of Iron Man, the wax figures embodied the previous Marvel film incarnations of the characters. Instead of the modern Avengers Captain America, I was greeted with the WW2 First Avenger Captain. And the Incredible Hulk was more in line with Ang Lee’s version of the green goliath than with the new Joss Whedon version. Iron Man and Thor, however, retain a uniform look in both movies so it was hard to pick out the flaws with their figures. And Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye could not be found anywhere. It was as if the museum director had just used wax figures that were laying around instead of requisitioning new ones made up. I was tempted to run back up to the ninth floor A-list party and make a grab for Sam Jackson to flesh out the display. The exhibit did not reflect the new movie’s lineup. That left the animated short film in the theater to salvage whatever hopes I had for a truly unique 4D experience.
The movie begins with Captain America and Spiderman walking up to Buckingham Palace to accept an award from the Queen. Unfortunately, Dr. Doom shows up to throw a wrench in the proceedings. Pretty soon, Iron Man, Wolverine, and the Incredible Hulk show up to lend a much needed hand against the evil tyrant. The CGI animation ( although not on par with Pixar’s standard of excellence ) is shot to take advantage of the 3D. The 4D, however, left much to be desired. Whenever a character is thrown into a fountain, for example, a mist of water is sprayed on the audience. And whenever Iron Man and Dr. Doom go at it with an array of power blasts, the side of the theater would pulsate with sequenced light fixtures. I think I’ll wait May 4th to get my fix of The Avengers…in regular ole Digital IMAX………3D and 4D be damned!
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