Sometimes I worry that I’m too easily amused. Anything at all that ventures from the norm usually grabs my attention. After my last trip to the cinema to see Deadpool 2, I spotted Cineworld were bigging up a new experience, namely 4DX. But what the bloody hell is it? I went along to see the latest Jurassic World movie and also to bring you this 4DX cinema review.
What is 4DX Cinema?
You’ve been hearing a lot about augmented reality these days but did you know it reaches far beyond your smartphone screen. Augmented reality became a permanent feature in Cineworld Dublin, adding an extra layer of experience for movie lovers.
Trying to add a little zest to the cinema experience is nothing new and even dates back to 1960. In more recent years, we’ve seen 3D come and, surprisingly, stay. IMAX has been around for years with cinemagoers being dwarfed by the gargantuan screen. Now, Cineworld in Dublin has taken what might be the next step through 4DX.
When you check out a film in 4DX you’ll be sprayed with water, jolted back and forth along with side to side with a moving seat. Shots of air whizz past your head simulating bullets while a pipe whips you in the legs from time to time too – don’t worry it doesn’t hurt. All the while this is taking place, the cinema itself lights up with flashes of lightning, fog comes from two machines in front of the screen, fans send stormy breezes through the audience and the back of the seat in front of you even sprays odours at the right moment in the movie.
Where Can I Try 4DX Cinema?
Ireland has but one I’m afraid and that’s in Cineworld on Parnell Street in Dublin. That screen is, by comparison to most screens, quite small and fills up quick. Will more spring up? While possible, it’s unlikely given the cost of setting up a screen combined with the loss of a traditional screen too. Sure, one may be set up in the coming years, but the experience is a little niche at the moment.
4DX Review: Worth Your Bobs?
Right. Brass tacks. I went along to check out Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 4DX to see what the fuss is about.
(Fitting) the Elephant in the Room
My first reaction was the size of the screen we were in. Like, I mean the room. It was exceptionally small. I have a great track record of getting the seats I like but for this, I was over to the side. The interesting thing is the fact this didn’t at all impact the experience. The view was great and the 3D viewing wasn’t ruined at all. All a very positive start.
It’s not the cheapest with tickets weighing in just shy of €20 (€18 for Cineworld members). But that number got me thinking. I was singing the praises of the Stella not too long ago and to put your arse in a seat there costs €19.
If the experience is good enough, it could be great value. So what’s it like?
The 4DX Experience
I was so apprehensive about how worthwhile 4DX would be, especially after the price I paid for tickets. I thought this would be another massive gimmick to squeeze money out of me; like €6 popcorn.
As I sat down, I convinced myself it would take something special to convince me and that convincing started with a button on my seat:
Anyone know if we should be worried about the button on our seat at #JurassicWorldFallenKingdom in @cineworld Dublin? pic.twitter.com/umWwurvRa4
— goosed.ie (@goosed_ie) June 7, 2018
“Maybe this is going to be cool”, I thought to myself. Sure enough, it is!
4DX: Worth the Hype
Well, that might be misleading because I’m not even sure there has been much hype around 4DX and that surprises me. Cineworld’s 4DX experience is brilliant and you can tell a lot of effort has gone into it from building the screen to programming the augmented reality that you’ll be put through.
As helicopters fly over trees, your seat pitches to match the choppers flight and the smell of trees is spread from the back of the seat in front of you.
During the actions scenes, your seat really comes to life. There’s one scene where two dinos go head to head and I was being viciously thrown around my seat. Another scene caught me off guard too. I was getting used to the spray of water simulating rain, but when one character had dino blood splashed on his face, that also prompted a squirt in mine. Gross reality and maybe a little questionable for a movie rated suitable for twelve-year-olds; but again, I loved it.
4DX Limitations: Pick Your Movie Carefully
The 4DX experience isn’t tailored to every single movie. By that I mean, there are a limited number of additions the system can make to your cinema experience. For example, 4DX can apparently combine various odours to make over one thousand different smells, but I didn’t pick up on any really except the attempt to get a smell of trees.
I guess, if you’re paying extra for the experience, they want to give you your money’s worth, but another problem comes when there are quiet parts in the movie. Some uses of the effects are forced and don’t really align with what’s going on with the screen.
Then there’s the 3D element too. Not all 4DX movies will be shown in 3D, but that does add to the experience too; but never as much as you think. I often think the best 3D thing in the cinema is the 3D logo at the start; movies themselves tend to disappoint on that front.
Finally, with both of these in mind, 4DX will only improve certain movies. Deadpool 2 was previously shown in 4DX and while I watched it in 2D I really can’t imagine how augmented reality would have improved the movie at all.
Pick your movie carefully. Actually, if I’m honest, just go to Jurassic Park. The movie itself isn’t great but you’ll get an ok movie even if most of it is completely predictable. Regardless, it feels like the movie was created for 4DX. You get to experience most of what the system can offer and it does genuinely add a layer of excitement to what is otherwise a ‘meh’ movie.
The 4DX Review: Verdict
It’ll cost you an extra few bob, but going to the cinema is expensive anyway. Adding a new layer to your cinema-going experience can genuinely make it feel like money well spent. Will I be going to every movie I can in 4DX? No, not at all. It just doesn’t make sense.
However, if there’s another great action movie that comes out that’s probably just a little bit too shit to justify going to see on its own, this could get my arse into a cinema seat. If you’re on the fence and wondering if it’s worth it, Jurassic World is likely the best movie to showcase what 4DX has to offer and will be for some time.