A couple of days ago, I went to see Ghost in the Shell in 4DX. I’m sure everyone has been to or heard of 3D but what about 4D?
As I made my way to Regal Cinemas LA Live, passing under skyscrapers and through lines of people at the box office (I had the sense to get the tickets online), I wondered what 4D would be like.
And whether or not I’d regret paying $28 for a ticket.
So I walked in, let the security dude scan the QR Code on the phone, got refreshments, and headed to the 4DX theater at the end of the glass hall. Beauty and the Beast was playing in 3D next door. There was a sign with a long list of warnings for young children and pregnant ladies, that I didn’t read and went in. The theater was empty and my family and I (you didn’t really think I went to the movies alone, did you?) frolicked around for a little bit, excited at the prospect of watching a 4D movie in a “private” theater reserved just for us. Ha, that didn’t last long because as the lights dimmed, people arrived.
Then the trailers rolled in, the ads to turn off cellphones flashed in between, a cool demonstration of a car chase without and with 4DX (arguably one of the best parts of the entire day) was shown, and then the movie started.
The seats moved up and down and forward and sideways to mimic the flight through a futuristic city fraught with hologram ads and grey skyscrapers. There were also gusts of wind as we neared a rooftop where Scarlett Johansson was perched, all bad-ass in a black coat (I think, I can’t remember, I was paying too much attention to the wind in my face).
It’s a great start, I thought to myself.
During gun fights, fog rolled in, the chair kicked my back, the wind whooshed in my ears, and sometimes even a single strobe light flashed to my right. Never before had I looked forward to fight scenes as much as I had sitting in that theater. It felt so exciting and new. I wondered if this was how people felt watching movies with sound for the first time. A little distracted but infinitely more fascinated.
Disappointingly though, neither the water, scent, rain, nor snow features worked (even though there were plenty of scenes where water splashed out and rain poured and snow fell). I have a suspicion they were out of water, because I could hear the soft hiss of the tubes or whatever it was that was supposed to imitate rain but did not feel any drops on my skin. Call me weird, but I was looking forward to rain and snow in my face.
And what I thought was a pleasant scent of cologne being dispensed from the scent dispenser at what seemed like random moments in the movie, turned out to be one of the audience member’s colognes being wafted over by “wind”.
So much for that.
The 3D, I liked enough, though I had to keep readjusting my eyes so it wouldn’t get out of focus. One of other movie I’ve seen in 3D was Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels and that wasn’t much of an experience. This was different and at some point, I even flinched at a piece of debris flying my way after an explosion.
As for the movie, well, it was unmemorable. It was beautifully executed, sure, but I was very much underwhelmed, though, not as underwhelmed as I would have been, had I watched Lucy in the Shell, oops I meant Ghost in the Shell, on a normal screen or Netflix. I don’t know how similar it was to the anime, since I had never seen it, but the casting choice had me raising my eyebrows.
If you want a more detailed review of the movie, check out The Movie Babble’s post. They summed up my thoughts quite well.
Aaaaand, since this is a Monday Tip post, here’s my tip of the day: If you’re going to see a movie in 4DX, make sure it’s a movie you won’t enjoy otherwise, because the experiencing experience detracts from the story line and the acting (since all you’re doing is waiting for the next action or flying over the city scene to begin).
So my final verdict is this, I think paying $28 was worth the entertainment derived from the event. If you live in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York or a country that has a 4DX theater, I suggest you go there and find out whether the water and scent functions work for you.
I post stuff every week, mostly on Mondays, Wednesdays, so you’re welcome to join the club.