4DX: Why Just Watch a 3D Movie, When You Can Also Feel, Ride and Smell It?


Why watch a movie in 3D, when you can watch it in 4DX?

A couple days ago, the first 4DX movie theatre in the Philippines opened at Bonifacio High Street Cinemas.

With your typical 3D movie, you pay extra (P300) to see objects pop out from the screen.

4DX Screen

With 4DX, you pay even more (P450) to be thrown around in your seat, have wind blown thrown your hair, different scents sniffed through your nose, and water sprayed or bubbles blown at your face.

Sounds very similar to motion simulator theme park rides like “TRANSFORMERS The Ride” at Universal Studios Singapore, “StormRider” at Tokyo DisneySea, or “Star Tours: The Adventures Continue” in Tokyo Disneyland.

But is it?

First used in 2009 for the movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth in Seoul, the cinema technology is owned and developed by CJ 4DPLEX, a South Korean company.

And according to their website, 4DX is better:

“4DX theaters are equipped with high-technology motion seats that move in perfect sync with on-screen action. The realistic sophisticated motion is designed by fully trained CJ 4DPlex motion programmers which sets 4DX apart from the unrefined and turbulent motions you may experience elsewhere.”

From Bruce Greenberg, the senior VP of CJ 4DPlex, in a Film Journal International interview:

2D allows audiences to watch the movie, 3D allows them to really see the movie, but 4D now allows them to be immersed with the movie. But “4D” alone did not give enough merit to our name. The “X” signifies an extreme and, with our advanced technologies and unprecedented ability to create an immersive experience, “4DX” was born.

4DX has taken the cinematic encounter to the next step by allowing audiences to “live the experience.” Now, each visit to the theatre can bring a new level of excitement, transforming the movie into a multisensory interaction. We are going beyond the screen and creating a unique moviegoing experience only available in 4DX theatres.

4DX cinemas are currently active in 22 countries, with Philippines being the most recent. Surprisingly, the new technology hasn’t hit the U.S. yet, although a 4DX theatre in downtown Los Angeles, California is scheduled to open later next month.

4DX Locations Map

From Wikipedia: 4DX locations (as of April 2014). Green = Active. Blue = Upcoming.

4DX’s main selling points seem to be two things.

Motion Seats

4DX Seats Shaking

Each seat is equipped with motion simulators and programmed to mimic the action on the screen. The seat basically moves in three ways:

Heave. The chair jumps up and down.

Roll. The chair tilts side to side.

Pitch. The chair rocks backward and forward.

With all this movement, I wonder how challenging it’ll be to hold your drink and eat your popcorn.

Environmental Effects

4DX Environmental Effects
It’s not just about a chair that moves around though. The theater is equipped with what 4DX calls “environmental effects” that further enhances the viewing experience.

Here are some of the effects:

  • Wind
  • Bubbles
  • Strobe lights
  • Scents
  • Fog
  • Mist
  • Short bursts of sharp air

4DX is capable of producing over 1,000 different scents which for me, instantly prompted the question that I’m sure everyone else also wants to know, “Can it do farts?”

Recent looloo reviews have been positive…

From Joanne E.

“My 4DX experience at BHS was one hell of a ride! You guys should definitely try it!”

From Pam L.

“Overall, I think it was a great experience and worth the price tag….It’s definitely a novel idea that everyone should try.”

From Monica B.

“Watched Spiderman in 4DX. It was okay pero may kulang. (It was okay but something was missing.)”

From Jacy L.

“Overall, my experience inside this cinema was good. Aside from the lighting effect that definitely triggered a migraine.”

Given that 4DX has been out here for less than a week and only shown for one movie so far, it’s too early to tell whether it’s just a gimmick or really worth the extra ticket cost.

No better way to find out than to give it a try and experience it for yourself.

Bonifacio High Street Cinemas

Photo from: https://www.facebook.com/BoniHighStreet

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About Author

Odell Ramirez

A self-educated Ebonics linguist who aspires to teach Honors Ebonics classes one day. Until then, he works as the clown-in-residence at looloo. He has a B.S. in B.S. and was working on a master's degree in playa hatin, but discovered he can just get a Ph.D.