Watching movies on the big screen is probably the best way to see a movie and with intense competition between cinemas it is difficult for one to stand out. One way of taking that movie experience a step higher is through “4D” which is “3D” with an extra “1D.” So what is this additional “D” and how does it improve from 3D?
That’s exactly what I was off to find out during my first 4DX experience at the recently opened Bonifacio High Street Central Square. What exactly is 4DX?
Advancing the movie theater experience from watching the movie to almost living it, 4DX is the ultimate in state of the art technology delivering a fully immersive cinematic experience. Inside every dedicated 4DX auditorium, motion chairs and environmental effects such as wind, bubbles, and scent work in perfect synchronicity with the action on screen. (Source)
In other words, you don’t just see and hear the movie, you kind of “feel” it.
I think the perfect movie to watch in 4DX is one with a lot of fast action, explosions, and a bit lengthy. Fortunately, one perfectly fits that criteria: Transformers: Age of Extinction. It has a pretty lengthy 165 minute run time with lots of action scenes.
Any 3D/4D movie experience begins with the 3D glasses. I could say that I’m a bit picky when it comes to watching movies in 3D because there are some cinemas that don’t offer comfortable 3D glasses. Instead of being focused on what you’re watching you get distracted by the fit and comfort, so it’s no fun. And now that I’m wearing eyeglasses, I was curious how this experience would be.
Fortunately, Bonifacio High Street Central Square’s 4DX cinema offer those huge 3D glasses (similar to those of IMAX 3D) that can go well over your eyeglasses. It felt a bit awkward at first as it was my first time to wear something over my eyeglasses, but the 3D glasses fit well that I wasn’t conscious that they’d fall off easily. Not before long I wasn’t even conscious I was wearing one.
Seats are just as important as the screen as you’d be sitting on it for basically the entire duration of the movie, perhaps even longer, so they have to be comfortable and arranged in such a way to minimize distractions from those seated in front of you. Most cinemas already have this covered, but 4DX seats are anything but ordinary. It’s not that obvious when you look at it and until the movie actually started, but you will definitely notice the footrest which I haven’t seen before in any cinemas.
When the movie starts, that’s also when your seat starts moving. The seats can move vertically, tilt sideways, and rock back and forth. All these combined with the 3D scenes really immerses you in the movie and can sometimes actually feel like you’re flying into the scene! And in “rough” scenes it can really shake well that occasionally I thought if these things needed seatbelts! Be wary of things on your lap and cup holders that may spill!
Aside from the seat movements there are other environmental effects that a 4DX cinema feature. Most likely you’d notice first the wind, air shot, and lightning, especially during explosive scenes, and much to my surprise there’s also scent. Throughout the movie I keep smelling something close to the smell of coffee every time something explodes. There are some effects that a 4DX cinema offer that I haven’t noticed though like the bubbles, fog, and water shot. And I’m not sure what that startling effect on our feet was!
Overall, I did find my first 4DX experience very, very pleasant. Transformers: Age of Extinction was a perfect movie to watch in this cinema because we practically maxed out what those seats can do and experienced most of environmental effects the cinema had to offer. I love the way the seat felt when it rocks and it felt like flying, and I was absolutely amused when it rocked violently like it’s trying to shake me off! It does feel a bit tiring though since the movie was a tad too long (especially that I had to hold my bladder for the entire duration!), for me at least, and I wasn’t too fond of the “coffee” scent and cold air shot when the scene was fiery explosive.
Tickets costs ₱450 each for this movie so it’s not exactly cheap (by Philippine standards), but if it’s a movie you absolutely must “experience” then 4DX is very much worth every penny. I would definitely recommend it and will definitely be back!