Last week resident Marquee’ologist Jay West gave us one of the first in-depth reviews in the country of the 4DX theater Experience, with it’s premiere showing of TRANSFORMERS: Age of Extinction. Now more reviews continue to keep rolling in on this unique and revolutionary cinematic craze, which recently made its debut in Downtown Los Angeles.
If you’ve maybe heard about 4DX, but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about, click ahead for some honest reviews contributed by frequent Beyond the Marquee readers like you. You’ll share in their experiences from the motion and elemental effects, learn whether 4DX is worthy of perfect date night outing, an examination of the 4DX Business Model and more.
4DX Recount #1:
Alex Orellana, a frequent BTM reader was so excited about this new cinematic experience as well for a different 4DX movie, that he dropped us a line. He was invited to a test screening for AEG employees and their families last week and was accompanied by his 5 year old daughter. He had this to say;
Last week I was invited to a test screening of the new 4DX movie theater, one of the first in the United States at the Regal Cinemas in Downtown, Los Angeles. The movie being shown to the test audience was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and it was the most immersive cinema experience we have ever experienced. WATCHING a movie is so yesterday when you can FEEL a movie today! Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a fitting movie to watch in 4D, since Cap’s a character from the past who is trying to keep up with the times. In this relation, the 4D movie experience, uses NEW technology to flesh out good OLD storytelling conventions.
The South Korean Company, CJ 4DPlex, is bringing 3D movies with 4D technology to the United States where people will be able to connect with a feature film using all five senses. Imagine watching a 3D movie with 4D effects like chair motion, flashing lights, smells, wind, water, bubbles, fog, and air blasts!
The test screening audience and I definitely had some fun! When bullets flew by us in 3D, we felt the air whizz by our head and even smelled the gun powder. Explosions were followed by flashes of light and smoke coming from the front of the theater. Car chases were bigger, though the motion simulated during one hand to hand combat sequence left me with a sore back. One highlight though definitely was experiencing Captain America jumping out of a plane, it was totally breezy.
Overall it was an amazing experience, like a Disneyland simulation ride, but instead of 5 minutes of stimulation, it lasted for almost 2 1/2 housr. Leaving the theater, the result of our bodies being tossed around left us somewhat fatigued, since the only rest we all had was during the brief dialogue scenes.
Would I recommend experiencing a 4D movie to our friends? OF COURSE! Would I do it all the time, probably not. Only for the major blockbuster summer movies like Transformers or a big Super Hero movie. Bringing small children under 6 years old to a 4D movie is not recommended. Why do I say this? Our chairs were moving so much, that my 5 year old child dropped our popcorn and the overall experience frightened her. I think it was too much for her to handle for the whole duration of the movie. This is a no-brainer, but I also would not recommend this movie if you are pregnant, or not able to handle the rigor of being jolted around for 2 hours or more.
The cost of going to a movie with 4D effects is $8 more than seeing one in 3D, which comes to around $25 per person. If you’re a family on a budget, this may not be the best bang for your buck. With that said, I do hope that 4Dx catches on and the prices eventually go down. It definitely heightens your movie going experience and could really add to the already fun atmosphere of the opening night of your favorite action movie.
Alex even made it into this CNN segment about the 4DX Experience, check it out…
4DX Recount #2:
BTM Writer; David Chase caught the SOLD OUT 6:40pm “Transformers: Age of Extinction” showing on Sunday with his wife and had this to share about his first 4DX Experience;
I was so excited when I heard that the 4DX Experience tickets went on sale. I immediately called my wife and told her to book a sitter for our kids, because next Sunday I was taking her to a brand new movie going experience for our date night!
Flash-forward to this past Sunday night, we were both excited to check out this new venture and see how it stood up to the hype. We both love the Disney theme parks and appreciate the 4D gags in such theater attractions as Captain, EO, MUPPETS 4D, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, It’s Tough to be a Bug and Shrek 4-D, so we knew what we were getting into. The lights dimmed and 2 hours and 45 mins later we were done (not including the 15 mins of trailers). Ok now for the His/Hers Review.
HERS: My wife thought the surprise and gimmick of the 4DX effect wore itself out after about the first hour. About 30 mins in she stopped holding my hand because she felt she needed to hold onto her seat it was moving around so much. She wasn’t a fan of the stabbing in the back of the seat effect that took place when some of the robots were pierced or shot thru the chest. She enjoyed some of the rain and air blast effects, in fact we both had some laughs at some unexpected moments when they got us. She also made a note that the seats would benefit from some sort of slightly elevated leg rest, as your feet now can either hang down otherwise they just sit at the base of the chair assembly, it wasn’t very comfortable for her. This movie was too long for this experience she said and she was quite vocal about her back hurting once the lights went up, her comment was “I felt like I was pregnant again”. Lets put it this way…her 4DX Experience…she wasn’t too impressed. It will be a very long time, if not ever, that I can get her back to see a movie there. In fact she was so put off by this, that she insisted our next date night she was making me go with her to see “The Fault in Our Stars”. Oh boy, I guess i’ll be going to see the next 4DX movie with Jay or Alex!!!
HIS: My thoughts on the 4DX Experience were a lot different than my wife’s. I’m truly sorry she had such a disappointing time, but I quite enjoyed myself. I loved the fact that the experience designers probably had to watch and study Transformers a good 1/2 dozen times or more to figure out and time what 4D effects went where in the film. I was impressed by some of the subtle motion and seat rumblings as much as I loved being pelted by rain-drops, seeing real smoke emerge around me and simulated light explosions go off within the theater, all in scenes that matched the similar effects on-screen. I quite enjoyed from the corner of my eye, watching my wife’s hair fly up as the tiny air compressors built into our headrests shot air out to simulate bullets flying by. As much as things at times were sync’d, I noticed inconsistencies where sometimes when vehicles would roar by the seats shook, yet other times in chase scenes they lay dormant. Certainly as expected, there were some moments during Transformers where things were much less rumbly and the elements few, but boy, towards the end, there was about an hour of giant robot ass-kicking that just felt like my 1996 airline trip from New York to California, (the scary turbulence on that flight I’ll never forget lasted for over an hour), this brought those memories back, and mostly on…my back. Though I felt I got a pretty good thrashing around in those seats, my butt certainly didn’t fall asleep as it has during some non 4DX films.
Eventually, I think I was honestly having so much fun with what was going on with the movie itself, that the 4DX effects almost took a backseat. I have to admit, the 12 yr old in me from 30 years ago was grinning from ear to ear watching Dinobots, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and other Transformers from my childhood, kicking some major butt on the big screen. I did feel this movie is certainly a fully immersive non-stop action film that is probably the one 4DX movie that will be tough to beat in years to come as far as those trademark effects. Maybe something a little simpler like the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes would be a shorter and simpler 4DX to ease into. Regardless, I enjoyed it, I’m thankful for the opportunity to have introduced my wife and I to something new and fun, and I know she’ll be holding this over my head and referencing this memorable date night for years to come.
Oh, a nice perk upon our exit from the theater, all the theater patrons were offered opening weekend 4DX t-shirts, commemorative Transformers 4DX glasses and a “Transformers: Age of Extinction” mini-poster. Nice gesture, I appreciated it. Now how do I get out of seeing “Fault in Our Stars” with my wife!?!?!
4DX Recount #3:
Pedro A. Gonzalez is a regular follower of Beyond the Marquee since our launch in 2011 and headed downtown to the LA LIVE complex this weekend to experience 4DX, he had this to report on his visit;
When a movie-fanatic friend sent me a text asking if I was going to check out Transformers in “4D”, I thought he’d sent me a typo. When I tried to make fun of his fourth dimension delusion, it was me who received the mocking for not knowing what was coming to the States by way of Los Angeles. “You won’t ever see movies the same way again!”, he exclaimed.
At the end of it all, he was partially right. I’ll cut to the chase and break the news to you; If you so choose, you’ll now have a cinema experience option that’s like no other. The flip side? It’s not for everyone.
Curious as to what 4DX was, I researched and discovered that Asia, parts of Europe and Latin America had already enjoyed what CJ 4Plex, the Korean based Co was offering. I found it a pretty powerful statement that they wanted to conquer known box office friendly countries and perfect the technology before introducing its brand to the US.
I arrived at the theater an hour an a half early, hoping to grab food and drinks at the entertainment complex surrounding the theater, but found a line waiting to get in to the unassigned seat house. With premier theaters offering assigned seating, this is sure to be a sour note to some, especially with the near $30 per ticket sticker shock. The staff was friendly and apparently had all been given the chance to experience 4DX at a private employee-only screening that morning. So with the line of expectant moviegoers abuzz and the staff adding to the frenzy, it was a fun start.
I won’t spoil too much, but I will say that I was grinning much more than I normally would have been. At the end of it all, I honestly had a great time, and I wasn’t alone. Most of those who I witnessed exiting the theater, came out with a similar electricity as to what I was feeling. It’s not perfect though. Along with the general seating, the screen seemed a bit small for what could’ve been sold as a larger than life adventure. Also, there was s strobe effect during action scenes that I just didn’t enjoy. Thankfully, these were used an incredibly few amount of times, but even the handful of times it was used, I was taken out of the moment and it just didn’t work for the intimate size of this space.
All in all though, this is something that I think everyone should try at least once. The best way I’d describe it: Remember when you were a child and experienced the thrill of an amusement park for the first time? This experience gave me the adult version of that. Hold on to your soda and popcorn, enjoy the movie, and more importantly, enjoy the 4DX ride.
4DX: Breaking down the Business Model of the 4DX Experience (contributed by BTM’s Senior Hispanic Marketing Analyst, Julia Miranda)
Within the marketing world, there’s a term that’s known as the Point of Difference or POD. In essence, it’s the goods or service that makes you stand out from your competition. If you sell burgers, then your POD might be your secret sauce, while your competition might lean on their unfrozen freshness. In one form or another, theater chains have searched for their own POD’s or unique niche that they might control, and within the last decade have seen that need for a POD seem greater than ever. They’ve found themselves accosted on two fronts, and are now fighting back.
The first battlefield:
As the digital age bloomed, high definition televisions reached new heights of visual quality almost as quickly as they dropped in price. Sound systems with their included surround and woofer speakers complimented blue ray players, all of which could be controlled through an app on your smartphone, transformed the modern living room into the greatest theater around; your own private cinema.
Theater chains have been slow to react, but are coming around and their plan is to give moviegoers a premier experience. AMC for example, launched AMC PRIME, complete with throne-like electronic couches, mind bending audio and assigned seating. Others are following the couch comfort route and adding gourmet food and liquor. The strategy is in place and the battle against the living room has begun.
The second battlefield:
The combatants of the second war that theater chains are waging are amongst themselves and here’s where that Point of Difference comes into play. It’s not enough for theaters to serve popcorn, soda and offer 3D. There needs to be something that sets one theater apart from the other. As technology advances, the days of interactive seating only enjoyable in amusement park rides such as Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Terminator 2: 3D, It’s Tough to Be a Bug and Shrek-4D are now over, and company CJ 4Dplex is giving theaters within the US a real chance at standing out.
with 4DX Experience already a huge hit for years in Asia, Europe and Latin America, it was only a matter of time before the US would finally be conquered with 4DX and what better place to lead the charge, than the movie capital of the world, Los Angeles!
Let us know what you thought of your 4DX Experience, drop us a line in the comments below!