Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Smell of Desperation?

Do you smell what I smell? Just how desperate is the movie industry to draw audiences back to the theaters? Since the new millennium, 3-D glasses (once again) attempted a comeback, but (once again) failed. Now comes word that, during showings of Terrance Mallick's The New World, theaters in Japan will implement a process similar to the Smell-o-Vision process (which was initially developed in the 1950s). The service -- from telecommunications company NTT Communications, Corp. -- will, reportedly, synchronize seven smells to different parts of film. For example, a floral scent would accompany a love scene, while a peppermint/rosemary mix might be detected in the air during a scene designed to make you weep. The smells will come from designated machines under the seats in the back rows of the movie theaters. The New World tanked in the United States. Will this gimmick fill seats overseas? Is Aroma-therapy the answer to a slumping worldwide boxoffice? I don't think so. Plus, keep in mind -- despite a brief (and kitschy) revival in 1981, when director John Waters used scratch-and-sniff "Odorama" cards for his film Polyester -- the Smell-o-Vision process wasn't very popular the first time around. It was introduced in 1960, for the film Scent of Mystery. At the time, critics dismissed Smell-o-Vision as a fad, and the idea quickly disappeared. (Incidentally, Scent of Mystery was released years later as Holiday in Spain, minus the scents.) So what makes theater owners and studios believe that reviving an unpopular idea will work now?

Smell-o-vision is the dumbest thing I have heard in a while.
What about people with allergies? Will there have to be allergy warnings for movies now? Rated PG13 for violence, mature themes, watery eyes and sneezing.
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