Couldn't help Perry Como relax even if he tried.
Whoa! Dude! I just finished watching Pure Pleasure 3-D, and, like, my endorphins are doing somersaults throughout my entire chi. I'm floatin' dude, floatin' on a natural high! Wheeeeeeee!!! It reminds me of that one time I went to this totally awesome rave with my bro, Subatomic, and I took, like, too much horse tranquilizer and I ended up in a k-hole for about a week. But I mean dude! This sh…stuff is intense, like drinking an entire protein smoothie with extra ginseng, like, in one sitting. I can still feel the rush, dude. I can still taste the buzz on the tip of my frontal lobes. Whoa! Sooooo trippy. See, there's this dude, dude, and he thinks people are too uptight, right? You know, like that guy over at the coffee shop who calls us "dirty hippies" all the time? No, not the DVD guy, dumbass, the people who are too uptight. No, wait. Yeah, right, he thinks mean people suck, right? So he makes this awesome DVD with like all this nature footage and junk and then he puts really plexed out tunes to it. Nothing totally bent like Incubus or The Space Cossacks, but what the f…anyway, this Windham Hill kinda jive, right? And so you can put on this disc and then like totally zone out, you know? Get in touch with your inner bro. Got it? Only rip, dude, is like half the crap ain't even in 3-D. It's like the time we went down to the Planetarium to see the Laserium show and they only played, like, two tunes from Suspekt Aspekt ? Damn! That sucked!
Do you want this to happen to you? Do you want your wits jellified and your intelligence liquefied at the hands of new-age healers who want to help you "relax"? Are you afraid of turning off your mind and floating downstream knowing full well you haven't got a psychic paddle to…piss…on? Anyway, if you are afraid of expanding your cosmic consciousness or poking out your inner eye, then you may want to avoid Pure Pleasure 3-D in all its forms. Actually, the only form there is currently belongs to the 25 sequences on this Look and Listen Productions DVD. Eight are presented in 3-D; the rest of the segments are divided between ones with musical underscoring and those going aural au natural. All of this spiritual spunk is the brainchild of Thomas Blakeslee, an advocate of happiness and relaxation as a key to longer life. Obviously a man of intense intellect (makes you wonder why he also doesn't champion avoiding gunshots and not eating meals made completely out of lard in his regimen of living right), he has all these Heidelbergian ideals about using multiple-choice tests and advanced chipmunk politics to create a kind of cult of the calm. He believes in the stress-relieving powers of listening to great music in conjunction with viewing magnificent vistas. Oddly enough, he got the idea watching a sunset while wearing his walkman (and that's why he's an expert). His purpose behind the Pure Pleasure 3-D title is to create a kind of visual good vibrations CD, a means of experiencing both some hackneyed music and some even more rote images to force you into unwinding. And if you fail to get his point all by yourself, or by reading the back of the DVD case or looking over the pamphlet enclosed within, he has a special five-minute motivational speech at the end of this "odyssey" to get you in the tranquil groove.
In reality, Pure Pleasure 3-D is a decent enough ride through the notion of altered perception and optical effects. The 3-D is actually pretty good in a couple of sequences. Both "Snow Flight" and "Train to Geneva" feature enough variation between the foreground and the back to really elucidate the difference in perspective. The DVD utilizes the dimensional system that combines a polarized, darkened lens with rapid moving imagery to create the illusion of depth. It is not real 3-D, but a close proximity thereof. But there are times in the eight sequences offered where the images undo the ocular antics. "Jellyfish Ballet" looks terrible, with no real depth at all, and, while gorgeous in general, "River Reflections" never achieves that extra-added element of presence. The rest of the disc is made up of waterfalls, rapids, sunsets, fires, and shots of the Tivoli fountain and one of the most pointless portions entitled "Pompeii Saturday Night" (which is nothing more than small European cars in the process of jamming). The "Natural Environments" section is probably the best way to view the scenic nonsense here since you don't have to bear witness to the aural awfulness being flung at you like poo from a monkey cage. The sounds offered do nothing to forward the premise that we are seeing "great visuals WITH GREAT MUSIC." About the only thing these meandering, mindless keyboard drones will instill in you is the urge to drink paint thinner. Still, for those without cultured musical taste, the presentation of sight and sound is exceedingly average and sometimes interesting. Just don't expect to get "lost in a world of pure imagination." It's more like a planet of product placement.
You see, Blakeslee has a book he's pushing, and this DVD is part of the overall merchandising effect (along with a website that offers a "free" personality test). By the way he speaks in the final sequence, you'd swear he's filled the darn thing with subliminal messages and brainwashing systems.
As for its visual elements, Pure Pleasure 3-D leaves a lot of digital versatility to be desired or even used within the new format. The majority of the full-frame video images are decent, with a couple being quite nice. The colors are sharp and the images clear and full of detail. But then there are times when a telltale edit will appear and break the mesmerizing mood. Indeed, watch for disappearing tourists at Tivoli, a repeating scooter in Pompeii, and a couple of gap-mouthed fish in the carousel of carp. But perhaps the worst cutting comes courtesy of Mr. Blakeslee's own personal message. The man edits his five-minute speech at least 40 times. And each snip is more obvious than the next.
Sonically, the packaging promises some amazing surround sound, but the speakers barely breathe here. There is some attempt in the nature sequences to make you feel "enveloped" by the aural aspects, but don't think this is home-theater-quality sound. And, as for extras, be thankful you get a "second" pair of cardboard glasses. This means you can share the middling misery with a loved one. Pure Pleasure 3-D is not a horrible visual experience, and there is worse musical mung to be found out there. But it's really nothing more than a background screen for your television, awash in panoramas especially personalized to be as mindless as possible. But hey, all this criticism is making me edgy. I need to find some way to loosen up. I need to relax. Wonder what I can use…
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Synergy Distribution
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