Cyberworld

on October 06, 2000 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   Billed as the first completely animated 3-D movie, "Cyberworld" is an ambitious production that is desperately in need of a strong story. There is one of sorts, with cyberchick Phig (voiced by Jenna Elfman) attempting to prevent the destruction of the futuristic Cyberworld 3-D gallery by nasty computer bugs named Buzzed, Wired and Frazzled. But that's really an excuse for "Cyberworld" to flit from one segment to another, periodically returning to the uninteresting Phig, as the gallery approaches collapse.

   "Cyberworld" is well-animated and boasts a fascinating pedigree: The nine segments come from studios in Germany, France, England, Japan and the U.S. The quality of the episodes, most of which were made prior to the inception of "Cyberworld" and then incorporated into the IMAX film and turned into 3-D, varies, however. Best of all is Germany's "Joe Fly & Sanchez--Mostly Sports." Peter Span's opus is a delightfully wry depiction of insects playing basketball in a dilapidated old house. The background details are beautifully rendered and the film is very witty. Also successful is the bar scene from the DreamWorks animated feature, "Antz," which works well in 3-D. Too many others, though, such as "Flipbook/Waterfall City," "Monkey Brain Sushi" and even "The Simpsons'" "Homer in 3-D" segment, end almost before they've begun; they're underdeveloped and incomplete.

   The makers of "Cyberworld" really seem more enamoured of Phig and company, who inhabit the portion of the movie that is the most derivative of Disney and the least imaginative. Like other 3-D IMAX movies, such as "Encounter in the Third Dimension" featuring Elvira, "Cyberworld" indicates that the technology remains ahead of the content.    Voiced by Jenna Elfman, Dave Foley and Matt Frewer. Directed by Colin Davies, Elaine Despins, Brummbaer, Jerzy Kular, Satoshi Kitahara, Howard Greenhalgh, Paul Sidlo, Peter Spans, Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson and Bob Anderson. Written by Charlie Rubin, Steve Hoban and Hugh Murray. Produced by Steve Hoban and Hugh Murray. Animated. An IMAX release. Unrated. Running time: 46 min.

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