Wonderdome: leave reality behind

Wonderdome is a totally immersive cinema experience. Image: suppled

No goggles, no special glasses, no extra wearables needed at all. With fulldome cinema, you just lie back in a comfy bean-chair while video is projected onto the inside of a hemisphere above you. If Michaelangelo had had this available in his day the Sistine Chapel would have looked very different – every few seconds. 

Wonderdome is a pop-up fulldome in the Entertainment Quarter which is screening a rotating programme of 22 short films until January 30. The films vary in length, style and subject matter. The longer films – around 45 minutes or so – screen on their own, while shorter films screen in groups. All the films have very high production values and are optimised for this specific environment. And all the films are utterly mesmerising and awesome. 

If you’ve ever used the visualizer effect in iTunes you’ll start to get an idea of the swirling, geometrically stunning patterns in some of these films. But that is just the start. The images in the Wonderdome films are intricate, meticulously detailed, and vastly diverse. They are inspired by art, science, nature, and mysticism. 

Video is projected all over an inside dome in brilliant colour and definition. Image: supplied

Among the nature highlights is Coral: Rekindling Venus, from Emmy-award winning Australian film maker and multi-disciplinary artist, Lynette Wallworth. It features stunning videography of sea life and underwater landscapes around coral reefs. 

Flying Monsters, produced by National Geographic and narrated by the inimitable David Attenborough, is a fantasy-style documentary featuring CGI flying dinosaurs. Dynamic Earth is a NASA film narrated by Liam Neeson with spectacular computer simulated vision that brings you up front and personal with sharks, whales, the full force of a hurricane and the hot red pit of a volcano in a stirring investigation into climate change.

Carriberrie is a beautiful homage to Australian indigenous dance and song, narrated by the eminent, David Gulpilil and showcasing breathtaking traditional and contemporary performances. 

You lie back on a bean chair and let the colours wash over you. Image: supplied

Many of the art inspired films pay tribute to famous artists and play around with what is normally a static medium. Art Universe is a journey through a solar system where the planets represent different artists or styles. You land on several and explore different representations including graffiti;  psychedelic ‘60s graphics; images that resemble 1900s children’s book illustrations animated to modern groove; a nod to Andy Warhol, among others. Luminokaya is a dazzling, mystical sojourn into the magnificent, ancient temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Labyrinth uses a more restricted mostly grey-scale palette of colours and architectural lines to depict shapes, structures, light and shadows in a surreal city environment of mazes. 

There’s a great selection for kids as well. Bold animations like The Meadow Racers and Magic Globe  will have littlies wide-eyed. Dino Planet will take them on an adventure through a pre-historic playground. During December the family can enjoy the playful Christmas-themed, Snowflake Adventure. There are lots of fantastic space related films too. 

The sheer wonder of Wonderdome. Video: YouTube/wonderdome

The Wonderdome hemisphere has a 21 metre diameter. Multiple coordinated projectors provide an unbroken image filling the entire dome. The added depth of field and full circle imagery give a 3D effect and the high quality surround sound system helps complete the totally immersive experience. 

Come to Wonderdome and leave the planet for a while. 

Wonderdome is on at The Showring, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Sydney until January 30, 2022. 

For tickets and further information, visit: www.wonderdome.com.au

Rita Bratovich is the arts and entertainment editor of the Sydney Sentinel