Quick Hit — 4D Plexes

Movie poster from the Korean realease of Avatar, showing a white man on the left and his blue faced Avatar on the right, with fantasy creatures imposed in the bottom foreground. Bottom has Korean writing for title "Avatar".Our local theater in South Korea has one of the first and only 4D Plexes in the world (and it is currently showing Avatar, so I could possibly be entertained and annoyed and over-stimulated all at once! Whee!).

“The way the company finally cornered that elusive fourth dimension is by engaging all five senses: moving seats, wind, water sprinkling, lasers, and synthetic smells are all used in time with the movie.”

What are your thoughts/feelings on this so-called break through in the movie going experience? Does the thought of a moving seat and being accosted with sprinkling water and scent sound like an enhanced movie experience for you? Does it seem like it would just provide another barrier to your enjoyment?

Personally I picture myself using my popcorn bucket for something other than its intended purpose…

Have at it in comments.

31 Comments

  1. I’ve been to Disneyland where they have/had a little of this at the Honey I Blew Up the Baby showing. They blow air on your ankles when mice run across the screen. And there is some type of water droplets that come from somewhere. And a few other things I don’t remember. I thought it was enjoyable, at least in a comedic sense. I have often wished that I could smell what was cooking in a movie or feel the breeze the characters felt. But if it’s not done well (subjective), it could detract from the experience and even leave a negative impression of the film. I think I’d probably try a 4D plex (I have no sensory issues that I’m aware of) at least once, but it doesn’t sound appropriate for most movies.

  2. Heck, forget 4D, I’d just like to have a theater with captioning that was actually located in the city limits!

  3. No. Just. No. I have no disability that would cause problems with 3-D (to my knowledge, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 3-D movie unless IMAX documentaries count.). But no.

    While watching a movie in 2-D, I got a bit of vertigo on a scene where the protagonists were driving through gorgeous mountain scenery.

    I do not need that experience expanded in any way.

    (I’ll probably end up seeing Alice in Wonderland in 3D with my sister.)

  4. I have chronic vertigo, and rarely go to the cinema because slightly wobbly camera work on the big screen is much more likely to set off serious dizziness and nausea than the same on my TV. Handheld camera work (not just the extreme “Cloverfield” type, but the kind that everyone uses for “panic vision” these days) is right out. I haven’t tried 3D or IMAX, let alone 4D, but I can’t see that it would be a good thing. I think I’ve seen three movies in the cinema in the last two years (with anti-nausea medication), and only because I take my girlfriend who helps me out of the cinema if I’m going to be sick. We used to see movies a lot more frequently. I blame the Dogme people for the vast increase in wobbly camera.

    Also, I live two hours away from a cinema, so I’m very wary of getting trapped by vertigo so far away from home. I get mildly car sick driving and severely car sick as a passenger, even with medication, and that would not be a fun trip home.

  5. lilacsigil: totes.

    that shaky-cam thing that they do makes me very nauseous. I remember seeing Transformers on an IMAX in…where the hell was I? Not important… but I thought I was going to be sick. I think if my seat started moving to add to that effect…Oy!

    I enjoy 3-D for the most part (I can take the glasses off and be OK mostly), but I think I will be skipping the 4D!

  6. It sounds like amusement park stuff. Disneyland has that Star Wars thing (Star Tours?) where the seats tilt and it feels like you’re accelerating and stuff. I also went on a similar one at King’s Dominion in Virginia. I think it was some sort of magical cave or something, but the mechanism was pretty much the same as Star Tours. It’s…okay for a ride, but I certainly wouldn’t want to watch a movie like that. Even as a ride, I only go on them when I’m trying to go on everything in the park regardless of whether I actually like the ride or not.

    I have yet to see a movie in 3-D and really have no desire to do that, either. I don’t think it would actively harm me (though it might make me dizzy; I have been dizzy in 2-D movies just from sitting too close to the screen), but I just do not see the appeal at all and I am annoyed that so many movies are making this their priority.

  7. I don’t know how common 3D is…we saw the latest Harry Potter in 3D on IMAX (the local off-post theater here has mostly IMAX screens), and the whole film isn’t in 3D. It is mostly a few previews and about 20 minutes of the beginning (which was kind of cool, apparating and some other magic effects). Personally, I felt like there were other parts that would have benefited more from the 3D effect…but who am I to judge? But HP didn’t really have a lot of things that made me sick in 2D… so I am not the expert here. Obviously. Most of the movies we see are NOT 3D.

    The 3D effect also messes with the ability to read the subtitles, which I can imagine is annoying for the Koreans trying to watch an English-subbed movie. I wouldn’t like it if I was trying to read along.

  8. fwiw, i think it sound pretty neat! i sometimes have trouble staying focused and engaged during a feature length movie, especially in a theatre where i can’t move around or do something else. if this made it a more engrossing experience and keep my mind from wandering. not that i would want it to be the only option available by any means – just potentially interesting. that said, i haven’t been to a 3D movie in ages so am just speculating.

  9. Amusement park rides? Yes.
    Movies? No.

    I get very sick from being rocked around…some times, even just someone next to me tapping their foot can make me nauseated. Smells can set off migraines. Ugh. Plus…rides are generally only a few minutes, making them semi-tolerable. Movies tend to go on for hours.

  10. Hmm, this reminds me a lot of Disney World’s Philharmagic. It’s got the water, puffs of air, and smells. I really like that, but the seats moving (maybe like in Disney’s ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug’ when the bees come under your seats? I hope they don’t mean like in Star Tours when you get thrown around) and lasers and such doesn’t appeal to me.

    I personally like the idea of having 2D and 3D showings. Where I’m from (FL), we have a few theaters that show in 3D, but the majority are still 2D. This way you can enjoy 3D if you enjoy it (and I do! the new 3D is so much less nausea-inducing than the older stuff) and 2D if you don’t.

  11. I think this, like 3D, is the theatres desperately trying to compete with DVD and increasingly good home theatre set-ups. I think it sounds vile–for an amusement part ride, okay, but not a movie–but I also think most 3D is a waste of money that does not enhance the movie experience. (I have no physical problems with 3D or IMax.)

  12. This reminds me of being sprayed with tepid water on this one haunted house ride at an amusement park… And being rocked around would definitely nauseate me. The problem I have with 3-D (and 4-D) movies is that if I see the film in 2-D, then lots of people accost me with, “Oh! You didn’t really experience it! You NEED to see it in 3-D! It’s the only way to see it!” and I’m thinking, “Hmm… so the only proper way for me to experience this movie is to be nauseated and disoriented.” I think if people want to see movies in 3- or 4-D, they should be able to, but I also wish that having that option didn’t mean that people who can’t enjoy such showings get told that they’re missing out on something amazing.

  13. i’m getting afraid i won’t be able to go to any blockbuster movies in the future. i’m legally blind in my right eye. binocular vision is needed to see 3d. all i get is a fuzzy blur and a headache. fortunately, for now, there are still a few theatres that show 2d blockbusters on a limited schedule. i just hope that when they issue dvds, they keep a 2d version available.

  14. Like hsofia and Travis, I’ve experienced this at Disney World…

    Well it’s okay for the short 10-20 minute video rides… The 3-d effects are irrelevant to me, as I lack 3-d vision. This lack of 3-d vision has never been a problem for me before except for recently when all these 3-d movies have started coming out.
    Still, for the short rides & stuff it’s … a cute little addition. Smells & water sprays & crap. I go into those rides expecting it to be there.

    But for 80+minute films?
    I don’t think I could enjoy that. Some of the smells they hit you with at this Bug’s Life ride in Disney Animal Kingdom are strong. And after awhile I think I would get annoyed by all the little tactile sensations.

  15. Exactly what K said is how I feel.

  16. “I also wish that having that option didn’t mean that people who can’t enjoy such showings get told that they’re missing out on something amazing”

    I went to see Avatar in 3D, and while it certainly looked amazing, I didn’t find it really added anything substantial to the experience. If anything, it tended to yank me out of the movie. It was actually kind of distracting. Maybe it would have worked better at an IMAX than a regular theatre, but overall I’m glad I went for the eye candy and not the plot, because it tended to break my concentration.

    The 4D thing sounds like Rocky Horror in reverse.

  17. While I don’t think the water/air/movement would bother me, there’s a good chance that the scents would be an instant migraine trigger for myself and my husband. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with perfume and cologne from the rest of the audience (which, thankfully, is so much less in the Seattle area than back in Boston, where it seemed like everyone, male or female, bathed in the stuff… I learned there that I could not see a movie within the first week of release after the killer migraine I got from the Transformers audience) — I don’t want to have to deal with the almost certainly artificial scents from the movie. I could see scenes in Avatar where they would use either chemical or floral scents, both of which are the absolute worst for triggering my migraines. No, thank you!

  18. It’s a cute concept, but personally heck of no. Shaky cam is already prone to giving me motion sickness 🙁

    And like a few people have said already, I find that sort of thing throws me out of the story rather than being more immersive. Working on ways to make movies more immersive is nice, I suppose, and I know it works for a lot of people. It sounds gimmicky to me, but then again so does the Wii, and it’s now the most widely owned of the current generation consoles.

  19. Sweet mother of fuck, 4D would be insta-puke for my poor sister. She suffers from horrific migraines and the mere THOUGHT of all that stimulation would probably send her running for the toilet. Eeesh.

  20. Jayn: yes! Revenge of the movie!

  21. Luckily, I don’t think this will be widespread. I really don’t want the hassle of trying to train Figaro to lie still for hours while having random stuff happen to him? Could I, yes and he’s well on his way there, but? Yes, but I’m not putting him through something like that just to watch a movie. I’m not going to annoy him for my sake.

  22. I just keep hoping this latest fascination with the 3D thing will stop soon. Headache and nausea do not significantly enhance my movie-viewing experience. A vibrating massage seat, though, that has definite possibilities.
    .-= kaninchenzero´s last blog ..Re: Trust Me =-.

  23. k0 – ooh, a massage chair in the theater, lovely. Unless it’s “massage” in that the characters are going down a bumpy road so you get to feel it too.

    I want to go to a luxury theater with reclining seats. I like going when it’s mostly empty and reclining as best as I can, violating etiquette rules by putting my feet up.

  24. Yeah I’m not understanding why 3-D is such a big deal now. Didn’t Hollywood try this back in the 50s & 60s with 3-D glasses? Like… if it’s so popular now, then why did it fall out of favor in the first place?

    Is the technology really just THAT much better now?

  25. @K

    IMO, the technology is leaps and bounds ahead of the blue and red glasses. I could never wear those, even as a kid (before I developed all the health issues I have now). They always made me dizzy, and the 3D imagery didn’t even work for me.

    The newer 3D technology, I can actually see, and it doesn’t make me dizzy. It hurts my eyes after a long enough period of time (see, Avatar at 3hrs) but it didn’t bother me at Alice in Wonderland.

    I know multiple other people who couldn’t see the old-style 3D but can with the newer technology, or who had bad effects from the older stuff and don’t with the newer. It was really pretty surprising the sheer number. Obviously it’s not going to be everyone, and I hope they continue to have 2D options in theatres rather than 3D only (my local theatre normally does both for movies). As much as I enjoy the new 3D, I wouldn’t want to try it when I had a headache, for instance.

  26. @ Nonny and K:

    I haven’t seen a 3D that didn’t use the glasses. I didn’t realize that they did anything different. The theatre here in Seoul still uses them, and the movies aren’t entirely in 3D, just portions of them (like I said upthread). So, I have no frame of reference for judging 3D then, I guess.

  27. I went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D over the weekend, just to give 3D another shot after a very unpleasant experience several years ago. It ruined it’s second chance- as predicted, it still makes me queasy and gives me vertigo whenever any type of heights/flying scenes come on. Alice itself wasn’t too bad because there were few heights scenes, but the previews were hell and I spent most of them with my glasses off, staring into my drink to avoid tossing my cookies. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is a big HELL NO!! to 4D. I can’t even imagine what sort of punishment I might receive from my body if I were to subject myself to that…

  28. @Ouyang Dan:

    They still use glasses, but they aren’t red and blue tinted. They’re more of a grayish tint, like sunglasses. As for movies being only in 3D, it’s only been Avatar until recently. The other movies I saw just had “select scenes” too, like Harry Potter.

  29. Ugh. Hellooooo, migraine. Almost all artificial scents cause instant nausea/migraines, and that experience sounds like hell to me. Plus, with the nerve damage, it’s hard enough sitting in a seat that doesn’t move – if I’m bumping my arms on the armrests every 30 seconds, I’m going to leave long before the movie is over.

  30. Yea, I do not go to 3D movies because of chronic dizziness. I can’t even imagine the horrors of 4D. I’ll stick with my 2D, thanks!