The National WWII Museum in New Orleans is usually a major bullet point on the itineraries of travelers coming to the city for more than just the party. The vast space - filled with artifacts, exhibits and informative staff - can keep visitors busy for nearly a full day. That was, until, they started screening the Tom Hanks-produced "Beyond All Boundaries" in 2009.
When Hanks lent his voice and checkbook to this production, few figured that it would persist as a source of major drawing power for the museum. Yet the 4D spectacle has now been showing daily for over four years, and there are no plans in site to alter its schedule.
Inside a screening of "Beyond All Boundaries" — Photo courtesy of The National WWII Museum
When guests arrive for a showing, many question this fourth dimension, as most are used to two when viewing movies, and some have additional experience with the third. The fourth dimension is the experience: the seats vibrate when action occurs on screen and props/scenery adjust to help match what is showing on screen. The production as a whole is riveting and worth visiting the museum again for if you've missed "Beyond All Boundaries" in the past.
The movie is such a big hit that it was recently honored for "Outstanding Achievement," a tribute to the amount of work and preparation that went into the hit exhibit. The multi-layered, CGI-animated film features not only Tom Hanks, but bit cameos from Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire and Gary Sinise. First-person accounts from the trenches add a personal touch to this saga about the war that altered the landscape of the world.
The movie shows in the Solomon Victory Theater, with hourly showings beginning at 10 a.m. These shows fill up quick, so it is highly advised to purchase tickets in advance. The more people in your group, the earlier you'll want to show up in order to sit together.
Besides this experience, the National WWII Museum has many other interesting exhibits to check out. The Boeing Center highlights the "warbirds" used in World War II, with replicas and actual fighters hanging from the ceiling. In the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, the emphasis is on D-Day. New Orleans was particularly important to this segment of the war, as it was here that the beach storming boats were designed and built.
All in all, the success of the "Beyond All Boundaries" experience has been wonderful for the museum and its guests. If you haven't had a chance to visit the WWII Museum, make a point to - even if just to see this great film.