There’s nothing quite like going to the movies. With state-of-the-art visuals, surround sound, stadium seating and more food options than basic popcorn and soda, the movie-going experience is better than ever (Just stay off those damn distracting phones!). With 3D becoming more effective and widespread since its groundbreaking use in James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster, Avatar, you can feel more a part of the movie too. But what if you want an even more immersive theater-going experience that surrounds you and stimulates every one of your senses? Welcome to the world of cinema 4D!
Developed and owned by the South Korean company, CJ 4DPLEX, 4DX all but puts you right in the movie, by adding to the 3D experience with a variety of theatrical effects, from seats that shake and roll, to blasts of cold air, water and fog, to flashes of light, all working in perfect conjunction with the events happening on the screen. While 4D has been utilized in the past at theme parks like Six Flags, Disney and, most notably, Universal Studios with their Terminator 2 3D: Battle Across Time and Shrek 4-D, those were short films made specifically for the park and its patrons. 4DX is bringing their magic to full-length theatrical features, often working directly with the studios themselves, to synchronize their effects over the course of often two-plus hours.
4DX first saw the darkness of a theater in Seoul, South Korea in 2009 with the remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Brendan Fraser. It’s success, followed by that the following year of the 4D presentation of Avatar, allowed expansion throughout South Korea and beyond, including Mexico City in 2011, with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (the first release in North America and the Western Hemisphere), and in 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with Prometheus and Ice Age: Continental Drift, and China with Titanic 3D. After further expansion throughout Asia, Europe and South America, 4DX finally came to the United States in 2014, via theater chain Regal Entertainment Group, on June 26, at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 with the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction. Following Chicago in 2015, 4DX made its debut in New York City, on March 25th of this year, at the Regal Union Square Stadium, with Batman v Superman, followed by the Regal E-Walk in Times Square on April 28th. It was at these theaters where the Gore 4 got to experience 4DX first-hand in all it’s visual, tactile and odoriffic splendor.
With Batman v Superman, you were able to feel every punch, with slight pokes in the back of the seat, and the rain with mists of water dropping from above. When we went underwater, where Aquaman makes his first appearance, you smelled the ocean with scents that emanated from, somewhere. As battles and explosions brought destruction and rubble, smoke wafted from the front of the theater. Perhaps most effective was the movement of the seats during vehicular chases, as you felt every turn, drop and crash. In X-Men: Apocalypse, during the opening credits as we travel through the ages, it felt as if you were floating along with the images on the screen. When Wolverine sliced and diced his way through the bad guys, you suffered every excruciating cut – no, wait, that didn’t happen – whewww. In Independence Day: Resurgence, effects ran the gamut from lights flashing in the theater as the press flashed their cameras to seats moving during the intense aerial battles to getting splashed with a little H2O where appropriate. And it’s all done in complete synchronicity with the events on the screen.
With well over 200 theaters in 37 countries so far, and several hundred more theaters planned by the end of next year, 4DX looks like it’s here to stay. It should be noted that it will run you a few extra bucks, although it might even out as you may want to forgo the theater snacks as it can be tough to eat and drink (and text – yay!) at times while your seats are shaking. In fact, for those with queasy food receptacles, you may want to skip eating beforehand, and wait till after you stumble out of the theater. So, get off your couch, find a 4DX near you, and hold onto your seats, and your popcorn and soda if you just can’t resist, and enjoy the ambience and atmosphere of the latest in movie-going theatrics.