Warning: This piece contains very slight spoilers about the type of content seen, not the plot itself.
I just got thrown, sprayed with water, hissed and hit my head twice while I'm trying to watch the new Avengers movie: Infinity War.
Not only that, I paid a lot of money to essentially try to watch a movie while on a roller coaster.
That's the effect you get with the new wave of 4DX cinemas moving slowly around the world, designed to be a more immersive and, therefore, alternative way of watching movies.
The cinema is equipped with smoke machines, strobe lights and mechanical chairs that move in all directions and provide haptic feedback, as well as water sources and bubbles, all synchronized perfectly with the film.
It's … uh … interesting. If you are the type of person who likes to curl up in the dark, ready to be transported to a new world, the modern version of "are you sitting comfortably …?" So this is not going to be the cinematic experience for you.
What really …
I go to the cinema in Leicester Square, London, a few minutes late, staying to stand in line to take ice cream (me and my colleague observer would soon know that said sandwich choice was a mistake).
I should have known what to expect when a couple coming in front of me was asked to come back and grab cups with lids. since his open choice of drinks would not last at the movies.
When I enter, the new Jurassic World trailer is playing and people literally bob in their seats. As someone who hates walks in the theme parks, this does not bode well.
I finally managed to jump into my seat (which is difficult when it's being thrown) and … I do not like it. Every word, sound, explosion or movement on the screen is accompanied by the chair that swings from side to side, with wind, flashing lights and parts of the backrest that attack me instantly.
It's pretty violent, and I wonder how bad it is I'm going to see if I have to sneak out of the cinema, whispering "No, no, it's too scary …".
Fortunately, once the Real movie, there is much less movement of the seats, the violence is mainly limited to the high action scenes. 19659004] Even out of these moments, there is still movement. Someone who is stabbed, grabbed or thrown will result in the same sensation in the back, the chair will wobble slightly or the back of the legs will produce vibrations.
There are even more subtle moments: floating in space or the camera turning upwards to look towards the sky sees that the chairs imitate the same slow action, and it is at these moments where the 4DX really stands out.
Where the movements or actions are subtle, the immersion is really enhanced. The characters flying through the sky and the wind that flows towards you really add to the overall effect, making you feel like you are more in the moment.
Apparently, the smell was pumped, but I did not notice it … I hope it was like that, as something that only blinks the senses and changes the perception is what I'm looking for.
Brave (ish) new world
However, in the most dramatic scenes you are no longer in the movies, you are in a theme park. Trying to follow what is happening on the screen is difficult when you are tossing and turning in your seat, making loud noises and sudden movements or you become very aware of the cinema you are in when the strobe lights illuminate it for a moment.
Actually, that is the experience. It is a thematic park. Cineworld, the operator of the new 4DX cinemas in the UK, calls it: "a revolutionary cinematic experience that stimulates the five senses, the 4DX includes high-tech motion seats and special effects such as wind, fog, lightning, bubbles, water , rain and smells. "
Actually, it feels like an amazing two-part alternative to a part of the main experience. 3D felt slippery, which is something I thought I had given up, but every time I was sprayed with water I felt that the 4DX producers were playing with a tool because they could.
I found myself feeling short of change. I did not want my normal cinematic experience to improve, I wanted a completely new way of watching a movie. Do it IMAX but bigger: wrap the screen around my head, fill the room with fog or water or lights when it's right.
Demons, let's go for all and we'll take everyone Teslasuits that completely enclose us in the virtual world around.
It feels like an intermediate house, a fusion of two experiences that are not really capable of satisfying. I definitely left the cinema feeling much more tense than normal, that I had had an adventure instead of escaping to another world.
The big question I have left is … why? Why do 4DX cinemas? As mentioned, some of the effects seemed to be there simply because they could be done, instead of actually improving a successful experience.
In observing the trend of cinemagoers in the United Kingdom, it could have been argued that in the mid-1980s going to the cinema was about to disappear, with the advent of home video that meant 54 million people per year compared to 1,500 million in the 1940s ( according to the UK Film Association ).
But the proliferation of blockbuster films, multi-screen cinemas and improved screen technology has seen a rebirth of this past time, with numbers well over 170 million per year in the United Kingdom.
You could argue that 4DX is the investment that keeps this going, which is an industry that is looking for new ways to streamline a format that has been the same for three quarters of a century.
One only has to look at 3D movies, although to see how difficult this can be The decline of its popularity is marked and has led to reconsidering how many movies, if any, should be released in 3d
Consumers are not fanatics of tricks, and that word is one that kept circling in my mind when, in turn, I rolled around my seat while someone was pushed through a glass roof.
That has not stopped the emanation of more crazy ideas about bat dung: if you're looking for a real trick, Fox is looking to make movies & choose your own adventure & # 39; where the audience uses their telephone to vote on the action.
An intriguing concept
For all the previous reviews, I enjoyed my 4DX experience. Maybe that was mitigated by the fact that I had already seen the film and d
igested the plot, and being able to compare the two was fun, but I realized on the way home that I was looking forward to trying again.
Maybe there is nuance, the format finds its power. While the popularity of 3D is decreasing, there is still an appetite for it: in films filmed specifically for the format, or depending largely on CGI, it is much easier for 3D to enhance the show.
The same is true for 4DX. It will probably only be used for great successes with a lot of action and sensory events, because the producers will want to give consumers a good value for money: at double the normal price of a 4DX, they must achieve it.
I should definitely go and try a 4DX movie experience for you; I'm already looking to see when Jurassic World will play. Make sure you're ready to take a walk, instead of relaxing … And definitely do not come with a bag full of popcorn.
Main image Credit: Cineworld Leicester Square 4DX