Star Wars finally debuted in glorious 3D a couple of years ago, and it was pretty spectacular. Each scene in The Phantom Menace is so rich. The 3D really helped to bring out the details in the background and the extras who were doing more than merely standing around.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about 3D is, "That's all there was to it? How disappointing?" The experience is lacking, especially after you've been to a Disney World style 3D experience. 3D isn't the next big thing in movies, because it doesn't go far enough. While I really enjoyed Star Wars in 3D, do you know what would have been even better? Star Wars as an immersive experience.
"What is an immersive experience?" you may be asking yourself. It's where all senses are used and not just sight and sound. If you've ever been to Disneyland, Universal Studios, or a similar fun land, you've probably experienced immersive movies, although they just call them 3D. These are the rides where you put on 3D glasses; you hear sound coming from all 720 degrees; you feel your seat rumble beneath you; you feel jets of air shoot across your legs, feet and face; you feel mists of water squirt in your face; and you may smell some sweet or not-so-sweet smell. Each of these movies is usually in a dedicated theater and the best ones have a mix of film, live actors, and animatronics to enhance the experience.
For a standard, commercial theater, you wouldn’t need to add all that much, just rumble seats, air jets, water jets, and maybe a few scents. These few things in addition to 3D glasses and surround sound would help the moviegoer feel like he was in the movie. And this would be a boon to movie theaters, because you’d be hard pressed to duplicate all of this in a home theater.
Now if only Hollywood can figure that out.