4DX - A Cinematic Revolution
4DX is unlike any other theater experience you could have. It’s like describing salt to someone without taste, it’s truly that unique. Lately, a lot of people are asking me, ‘What is 4DX?’ Well, my theater friends, welcome to the 4DX revolution.
What is 4DX?
Developed by CDJ 4DXPlex, the technology has come a long way since its inception. Many people will recognize similarities to short films at theme park rides, such as Honey I Shrunk the Audience. But the technology is carefully making its way into local theaters and surprising audiences with its strong level immersion.
What originally began as movie seats with simple motion and water spray has grown into a fuller list of features. Not only can your seat move in fun ways, the theater can fill with fog, and you can observe flashes of lightning during a movie. But the highest tier of 4DX includes ScreenX, which is amazing!
It’s difficult to discuss the features without showing them. So we’ll be going over a few core aspects:
- Features of 4DX
- The Different Tiers of 4DX offered
- Things to Know Before You Go
- Where to find a 4DX Theater
Features of 4DX
In 4DX theaters, audiences are grouped into four (4) connected seats. These seats will share their motion together as one unit. With the theater being filled into several groupings per row. A standard row will have 16 seats, or four groupings.
Motion – Heave, Roll, Pitch
For starters, your seat moves up and down, and can tilt in 4 directions (front, back, sides). When the movie shows a character spinning in circles, 4DX simulates this experience by mixing all of these elements together in a convincing manner.
When the ground shakes or a character bounces, you’ll feel your seat vibrate with each event. It’s great when there’s a car on a bumpy road in the jungle.
When that monster under the bed grabs someone’s ankles, we feel their fear. As our feet and legs are touched at the same time.
Back & Bottom Shaker
This one offers a clever trick. As it can simulate being hit in the back (or butt), making you feel each kick the character receives from a villain.
Back & Bottom Tickler
Similar to Shaker and Vibration, this one offers a unqiue sensation that is similar to the standard (Foot) Tickler. (Sorry, no video available)
In front of each seat are a pair of holes. One of them is devoted to air spray, which simulates various objects zooming past the camera. With a small blast of air.
The other whole in front of you is devoted to a spray of light water, which does a great job at simulating boat chases and underwater action.
Your head and body will feel light drops of water with this fun little feature. Water is even more fun when someone gets sneezed on during the film, and you suddenly feel wet. Highly effective!
Sway & Twist
This feature will have your entire seat slide from side to side, and even spin slightly. *Sway & Twist is limited to Prime 4DX theaters as of 2022.
Fans push air onto the audience, as you feel it on your face and exposed skin. When mixed with water, you get the Rainstorm feature. When mixed with fine bubbles, you get Snow.
When rainstorm begins, you’re lightly touched by small droplets of water along with a breeze of wind. You’ll never be soaked, but you’ll empathize with the characters onscreen as they shiver in cold rain.
When the screen hits snow, you’ll see an extra layer of it appear before you. As light amounts of makeshift snow fill the theater right before your eyes.
Although rarely used, bubbles add greatly to the immersion of an underwater sequence. As you’ll find the theater fill with bubbles as the underwater action plays out onscreen.
When lightning strikes, flashes of magic occur, or even an explosion happens, you’ll observe a bright flash of light in the theater. This is the strobe feature and is easily amongst my favorite to see during a movie.
One of the most compelling methods of immersion is filling of the theater with fog. Replicating fog, smoke, dust, or sandstorm, this feature never gets old.
It’s rarely used, but from time to time you may find yourself enjoying a lovely scent that suddenly fills the theater. When a character enters the scene and another character mentions the perfume, you’ll suddenly discover a light aroma.
When all of these features combine into a film, you’ll find that it enhances the experience in so many ways. For example, when we see the lighthouse in Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone, the environment is cold and damp. Rainstorm kicks in, and as each flash of lightning occurs Strobe lights up the theater. When Hagrid kicks down the door, your seat moves and vibrates. Combining several elements into a theme park worthy ride!
Tiers of 4DX
One of the more confusing aspects of 4DX is that each theater can offer a different tier audience. The higher the tier, the more features the theater offers. I’ll start from the lowest tier then work up to the highest one.
Offering the least features and the lowest cost, economy scales back on many features. With a focus that’s a lighter upgrade from your regular theater experience. As the seats lack any motion whatsoever, yet retain all environmental effects.
This is essentially the baseline of a decent 4DX experience. You have all the features of Economy, but now gain motion features in your seat. As the chair finally has the ability to provide you with the motions of a vehicle, among other sensations.
4DX isn’t complete without all the fun you can have from it. These features do a geat job of adding experience, particularly rain. As feeling that drop of water on your head will make you forget you’re watching a move.
Finally, the best version of 4DX in existence. With all the features of Pro, we also have Sway & Twist along with ScreenX. ScreenX has three (3) screens, with one in front and one to the left and right of it. To top it off, 4DX and ScreenX are working on technology to add a 4th screen to the ceiling! So not only can you experience the entire set of events, you can be fully immersed from all visibles with angles with the film onscreen.
Things to Know Before You Go
The biggest issue I’ve found with 4DX involves people with back pain. My wife has a back injury and I usually preview the film for her, so we can avoid her sustaining any injuries from the experience. If you have an injury, it’s best to avoid anything above 4DX Economy. It’s worth noting that these seats are less comfortable than a decent regular theater seat, which is made worse by the motions that throw you around at times. So remember to use good posture and keep both feet down!
Also, action films that are motion heavy are terrible for drinking and snacking. The first film I watched in 4DX made my soda flat by the middle of the film. And good luck holding onto popcorn! When the action kicks in hard, you’re forced to hold onto your seat. Folks with motion sickness (especially when there’s 3D included) should also avoid it.
If you still want to give it a go, please note that the two seats at end of each groupings feel more motion. So, if you want to give it a go, but wish to minimize the motion, sit in either of the two center seats. It doesn’t reduce a lot, but it may be enough to suit your liking.
Lastly, 4DX tickets are roughly 57% more expensive than a regular ticket. My local Regal with a 4DX theater sells regular tickets for $14. This reaches $22 for a new 4DX film. However, Regal does offer re-releases of past classic films. Which include films, such as: Harry Potter, Gremlins, and Indiana Jones! These re-releases come at a discount price, providing a great way to experience old films in new ways. And are some of the best audiences I’ve ever enjoyed a film with. Also, if you have Regal Unlimited, you’ll pay somewhere around $7 for a 4DX ticket. Which is even less on classic re-releases.
Find a 4DX Theatre Near You
4DX Lookup: https://www.cj4dx.com/movie4dx/movie4dx.php?find=find
Regal Theaters: https://www.regmovies.com/4dx
For those that are able to enjoy it, 4DX feels like a revolutionary step in theatrical experiences. When I watched Free Guy with 3D, I literally felt like I was in the game. During the opening sequence of Moonfall, I felt the epic disaster that was its opening sequence. And when Harry Potter uses his magic, I see and feel the flash of the effect from his wand.
I sure hope you’re able to at least give it a go. I’m curious to hear what others’ experiences are like. So please let me know about your personal experience and what film you watched! Until next time, enjoy the filmE
Would you like to know more?
- Are you interested in visiting the theatre more often to see movies in 4DX?
- Check out our Regal Unlimited Guide to see if it may be a fit for you!
- Check out our other Horror, Thriller, and Suspense reviews!
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