If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re part of a movie in the theater, then 4DX is for you. More than IMAX or just simple 3D, 4DX fully immerses you in the world you’re watching on the screen so that you’ll find yourself going extended periods of time without realizing you’re actually just watching the movie, not living it.
I had the chance to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 4DX. Wow was that an amazing decision. The gorgeous colors, incredible effects, and fantastic action were only enhanced by 4DX.
(minor spoilers to follow)
At first glance, you might see 4DX, which has been around since 2009, as another motion simulation seat. This technology has been around for a while and I’ve even experienced other versions of it but nothing like this. Your seat moves up and down, left and right, and tilts forwards and back. But 4DX doesn’t stop at moving you in time with the action on the screen, what they term as “direct effects.” There are also “indirect effects,” such as feeling the wind or mist on your face and watching snow fall or smoke rise. These are accomplished by either remote units near the ceiling or units that are part of your seat.
With 4DX you feel every bump, turn, lurch, landing, and thump. When the Guardians are flying through a field of asteroids, you really do feel like you’re riding right along with them. When Gamora and Nebula are fighting, you might think you’re also scrabbling over rocks trying to escape your slightly crazy sister. And when the Guardians go into a planet’s core, smoke floats in around you, the air changes, there’s a rumble beneath your feet, and you’re suddenly standing alongside Peter Quill.
When I say you feel everything, I mean that. It’s not all flying and jumping and fun. It also means during a fight your seat vibrates in accordance with hits and kicks, which isn’t a fun sensation. In fact, it’s kind of unsettling, especially when the character getting beat up is one you like. But as 4DX is all about immersing you in the film’s universe, it heightens your emotions and responses to every scene and those fights are no exception. I got unexpectedly worked up during the Ravagers mutiny and again during the climactic face-off. Don’t even get me started on how I bawled during the last ten minutes.
It should go without saying that if you’re sensitive to motion or tend to get motion sickness, 4DX might not be for you. That said, as one of the latter people, I didn’t have any problem enjoying myself. You get so wrapped up in the film and the feeling as though you’re a part of it, you’re too distracted to get sick.
I found myself holding my breath from time to time. Even though I knew I wasn’t actually falling through the air or running from someone who wanted to kill me or flying in a spaceship, my brain wasn’t always so sure. It was exhilarating.
As of March 2017, 4DX reaches over 45,000 seats in operation at 370 auditoriums in 47 countries. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as one of the latest movies to receive the 4DX treatment, it might be time to treat yourself to the experience. If you won’t take my word for it, here’s the film’s director, James Gunn:
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