Sunday, July 31, 2011
Sometime you have the luck to be at the right time at the right place and so was I to experiment one of these new 4DX theatres. The first ones, if i'm not wrong, opened in South Korea and recently a new one opened at the magnificent Siam Paragon Cineflex theatres in Bangkok. The first one to open in the U.S will be in Los Angeles and is scheduled to open late August.
So, what are these 4DX theatres? Well, if you're not tired yet by 3D movies the 4DX theatres is the next step, full of in-theatre effects, and the goal of course is to take more bucks out of your pocket. 3D screenings are already more expensive than normal ones but at least in 4D theatres you will have plenty of special effects in addition to the 3D glasses...Basically, 4DX theatres are a mix of Star Tours simulation technology with Honey I Schrunk the Audience special effects. Said like this it sounds not that bad and even interesting, but wait for what's coming next.
The main reason why i was curious to experiment 4DX was not to "live" the effects - i did this several times in many theme parks - but to see how they succeeded to adapt this kind of technology/effects to a normal movie - i mean, a movie which has not been filmed specially thinking to the in-theatre effects. Because that's the main difference between 4DX theatres and theme parks attractions using the same technologies, here you will experience a screening of a normal movie, not "designed" for a specific ride.
In Bangkok Siam Paragon the movie who did the 4DX theatre opening was Transformers 3. There is enough action in it for the 4DX effects and that's probably the reason why they choose it. When you enter the theatre there is more or less 200 seats seats all by four together, and each four seats are based on a simulation platform. The special effects that you will experience during the screening are wind, smoke, water projection, and more.
What did I think about it? Well, when the film began i thought it was great. If you saw Transformers 3 you know that the opening sequence is on the moon, back in the 1960's. The camera is moving slowly up and down and the 4DX simulation system reproduce these movements, smoothly and gently, just like if your seat was on the same crane that was used for the camera. So, i thought that this was pretty cool and a real bonus in comparison to a normal screening. Then, wind effects arrived - depending of the movie sequence, of course - rain effect, too - don't worry, you won't be wet and there is no 10 minutes long water projection effect - and even smoke effects.
A little bit later Transformers 3 action sequences began, and so 4DX enjoyment problem too. Everything was working fine technically speaking but the only way they've found to reproduce the massive-explosive-speedy-action-scenes of Transformers 3 is to use the simulation platform to shake your seat, and sometime "in all directions". When there is an explosion scene skaking the seats is understandable - and God knows there is a lot of explosion scenes in Transformers 3 - but when it's another kind of action scene, a wild chase for instance, the simulation system find its limits and obviously they can't do anything else than shake the seats in a way that become quickly not fun at all.
I suppose that the guys behind these 4DX theatres think that modern audiences always want more sensations, but it's a pity they don't use the system in a more subtle way like they did at the beginning of the movie where everything was fine and enjoyable.
So, my advice is this one: if you live in a place where a 4DX theatre already exist or is going to open, go and try it. I'm not sure you will go back each time they will play a new movie, but it's interesting to try the system at least one time. Let's just hope that their future selections will be more subtle than Transformers 3 something which should not be very difficult to achieve!
Picture at the top: Ad for the Siam Paragon 4DX theatre.