Monday, December 21, 2015

Match Up Monday: D-Box VS 4DX

On Saturday I learned that D-Box and 4DX are not the same thing. We'd seen Guardians in the Galaxy and Gravity in 4DX at L.A. Live Downtown and enjoyed the immersive/roller coaster ride experience. Howard Hughes Cinemark was offering Star Wars in D-Box so I grabbed tix for our second viewing. While buying it looked like there were only two rows of seats but strangely angled away from the screen. Lo and behold we walked into a regular sized movie theater but with two rows of D-Box seats in the front. I felt I had been had and immediately wondered if any 4DX shows would be available downtown...

But let's back up. What is this 4D crap anyway? 3D is a scam we all know, you lose color palette immediately when donning the glasses and there's really not much noticeable depth on most titles. Filmmakers claim old school staples like hurling objects towards you are gimmicks so it's supposed to make you feel like you're in the film. What a load of crap. When I can see the person in front of me, the edges of the screen, there's no way this can be immersive. So adding some blades of grass in the foreground or enhanced drops of rain does f*ck all for the film. Maybe if I had on some VR goggles then I could say yes, this is totally immersive as everywhere I look, I'm in the film. But you don't need to go to a theater for that.

With D-Box, the seats move, rumble and shake with the action synchronized with what's happening onscreen. Imagine sitting on Disneyland's Star Tours for two hours basically but with less range of motion. You can adjust the level of rumble and a night time showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will set you back $23.00 at the Howard Hughes Cinemark. Meanwhile, downtown houses America's first 4DX theater where you have I believe eight extra sensations to put you a little more into the flick. The seats move, rumble and shake, then tilt forward and backward while you get effects like wind, bubbles, fog, scent and flashing lights to really put you into the action. A movie like Guardians was perfect for the platform as you got splashed with water when Star Lord danced across puddles, the seat vibrated by your head when shots were being fired, you dipped left and right during space ship chases and bubbles floated from the ceiling during Groot's bio-luminescent scene vault/fall scene. An 8:30 PM screening of Star Wars at Regal's L.A. Live theater will set you back $27.50. It's a hefty price tag but enhances the film that much more, truly an experience designed for all of these big budget action spectacles in this age of comic books and otherworldly adventures.

Winner: 4DX via more immersive effects and not just being a glorified massage chair gone haywire.

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