On August 21st 2013, Indonesia moviegoers can experience the first 4DX Cinema at Blitzmegaplex Grand Indonesia. 4DX is a motion picture technology developed by South Korean Multiplex Cinema chain CJ CGV (owned by CJ Group). What is 4DX? well it allow you to enjoy cinema with an extensive sensory experience outside of the standard auditory and visual realm, which includes environmental effects such as motion, scents, mist, and wind.
But does that mean you will get a different cinematic experience?
For me the answer is a loud and empathic yes! But does that means you it enhance the cinematic experience itself? The answer is no.
TECHNOLOGY AND MOVIE EXPERIENCE
Technology are constantly evolving and revolutionize everything around us. Now, i started going to the theater where they show movies in 35mm format and to obtain tickets i have to wait in line an hour before the movie started. Now i can choose whether i wanted to watch a movie in multiple formats (2D, 3D, 4D, IMAX), i can buy tickets several days in advance through online booking to avoid queue or running out of tickets for screening that i want. Now not only movie can be enjoyed through screening at a movie theater chains, you can watch it at home through various means of home media (DVD, BluRay, iTunes or Amazon Download), you can view it in various gadgets (your tablet, your smartphone, your laptop, etc), as well enjoying it everywhere (on your flights, at the gym, any where at all). For me, watching new movies, would always be synonymous to sitting in front of huge ass screen, with ass kicking sound system, with a bunch of strangers. (the fact that those strangers will or will not annoy you is a whole other matter).
Ebert express his distaste for 3D and think that it won’t work in the long run. James McAvoy slagged off 3D films saying that they are just a sneaky way to add a couple of bucks to the ticket price. But if you see nowadays a lot of films are being released in that very format, especially the blockbuster ones from the action, fantasy, sci-fi, comic superhero genre. There are more than 40 films to be released in 3D formats in 2013, and there are already 20 films scheduled to be released in 3D formats in 2014. For me personally i tend to not choose 3D for films that are not filmed in 3D, this means post-production conversion aka faux 3D, because frankly they add very little to the experience. Besides, 3D films tends to be darker and can be quite exhausting for your eyes. On the other hand there are films like Avatar and Hugo, that can be credited as the resurgence of 3D and revolutionize the filming technique. Hugo, for example use 3D to enhance the mise en scene experience for viewer.
Just like 3D or IMAX, 4DX promise an enhanced immersive movie experience. My first encounter with the technology was at a theme park attraction and found it was fun for 10 minutes. But how would it compared to a 90+ minutes film? For me it is fun, it does not make the film better quality-wise, if anything it becomes a gimmick, yes just like 3D. Although you get the extra sensory experience not only visual. How much does this extra perks and elevated experience can cost you? IDR 125.000-150.000 (US$12.5-15) depending on the movie form, significantly more expensive than IMAX (IDR 60.000-IDR100.000) and 3D (IDR 30.000-75.000). Now the capacity of the current 4DX theater are definitely small, with only 124 seats. The seats are grouped in rows of 4s but it was quite tightly spaced together, but the perks of watching in 4DX cinema is that people are so entranced by the effects they did not have time to talk during the film! (i personally think this is a plus!). I suggest buying drinks in bottles instead of capped glasses as well as avoid eating popcorn to avoid the spills and general mess afterwards.
So 4DX cinema for me is a gimmick, a technological evolution that give you yet another option of fun way to enjoy films. It does not add a lot to the cinematic experience per se. For me added cinematic experience comes from something like watching Life of Pi on a raft (originally posted by Inspired-Ground) or watching Shutter along with 300 participating youths when our ship was about to berth in Thailand or a free-screening at movie festival or even enjoying Les Amours Imaginaires in bed on a sick day.
Now, watching 4DX for every films released probably are unnecessary and can be quite costly. For once in a blue moon it would be a fun and different experience indeed. For now you can experience Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and probably we can re-experience Pacific Rim again soon (according to the theatre usher that greeted me and N when we watched Percy Jackson).
So, why don’t you give it a try and see for yourself :)