Thor in 4D on ‘Thorsday’
On Thursday, we went to watch the premier of Thor “The Dark World”. But this was no ordinary 2D/3D experience. This was 4D!
What is 4D?
4D is a marketing gimmick with some cinemas using the term 5D, 6D etc, but it is basically a 3D movie experience, with added sensory effects such as moving seats, wind, water spray, vibrations, and even smell!
Fiona was the most excited to go see Thor because she says it’s the perfect blend of all the things she likes including fantasy Lord of the Rings type stuff, Sci-Fi and Marvel comic super heroes, and it also has Thor in it!
We met at ‘The Diner’ opposite the movie theatre in Xinyi, the only one in town to offer 4D and payed around $500NTD for the tickets, which was not overly pricey considering the cost of 3D tickets in the UK these days.
During our meal, Taiwan was hit by a 6.3 earthquake, which shook the building that we were in for around 10 seconds. I’m always terrified when these happen which is not too often luckily, and am often looking to find support beams to hide underneath, but the Taiwanese are used to these events and don’t get freaked out so much.
When it first starts, you feel like you’re coming down with an illness because things go a bit dizzy, then you realised everyone in the room is experiencing this. Then the glasses of water start moving rapidly à la Jurassic Park, and it continues at quite an intense level for several seconds. Luckily, the buildings are built for this type of thing, but my primate brain doesn’t like the fact that I’m currently sitting on the second floor of a tower building, and could be crushed my twelve floors of rubble at any moment.
Anyway, off to the movie theatre we went, which was not as large as an IMAX, with the screen only being about as big as an “art house” cinema. The seats were on raised, pneumatic platforms, but other than that it was pretty regular.
We weren’t expecting too much from the experience, and thought maybe the stewards would come in to rock the chairs to and fro, and for the janitor to flick some of his dirty mop juice on us at timed intervals.
However, when the first advert came on demonstrating 4D, we were all surprised by how violently the chair movements were, and had you been holding onto a large cup of cola at the time, it would have certainly splashed all over you.
Thor was a very good movie to watch in 4D because it contained every benefit that 4D could offer. There were shots of a car driving around London, with the seats swinging left and right, and then vibrating and pummelling you in the back when they slammed the door. There was a scene of an airship skimming the lake, and a mist of water spat in your face from the seat in front. There were laser gun ship battles where puffs of air shot into the backs of your ears from each side in time with the sounds of the lasers. Then there was a release of “fresh lake” smell when they stood talking by the lake side. There was also smoke released during explosions, and the best use of the seat motion was for long, panning shots in and out of new worlds, or when things like ships rose slowly from the ground, your seat slowly moved forward or backwards.
If you have a 4D in your city, try it out, but make sure it’s for a movie that you think would benefit from it. It’s no use watching Downtown Abby in 4D.
I think with the advent of huge 4K TV’s in peoples living rooms with surround sound being relatively cheap, the cinema needs to start offering more ways to entice the customer, and while it’s a bit gimmicky, for movies that are meant to be enjoyed for their use of effects, it’s definitely a gimmick I’m willing to pay for.
I think the Hobbit 2 could be the next movie worth watching in 4D.