It’s been a while since my last 4DX experience. I watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Nu Metro Hyde Park in December 2017, so I anticipated seeing what changes had taken place in the interim. At the same time, I was a little concerned.
Considering I’d seen Avengers: Endgame before, I feared two things: the length of the movie and the lack of sustainable action in the first two hours. It’s only the last third of the movie that contains all the high-intensity action sequences, so would 4DX be worth it?
Even though 4DX has been an option in South Africa since 2015, most people don’t know what it is apart from the rollercoaster experience. It’s possible that due to the high point of entry (R190 a ticket), it’s put off a lot of the audience.
Still, it’s something that you need to experience at least once in your life. A 4DX film enhances a 3D movie with motion seats and environmental effects like wind, fog, light flashes, and scents. How it’s done is, a movie receives an additional 4DX track that’s programmed with effects and in sync with the action on screen.
How’s Endgame in 4DX?
Unfortunately, my initial fears were confirmed. There are sustained stretches of inactivity throughout the film, with only the wind element keeping you company. At one point, I actually wondered if the effects track had failed. This isn’t necessarily 4DX’s fault; it’s just that Endgame wasn’t built for 4D. It’s a terrific film—don’t get me wrong—but it isn’t action at every corner like a Fast and the Furious as an example.
The final act, though, is packed to the brim with motion and effects. From every blast and superhuman punch, you feel the thud and power of it all. It actually feels like you’re in the middle of the battle between the Avengers and Thanos’ army. That said, the programmer went into overkill mode here, since it’s effectively an hour of nonstop mayhem. By the time you stumble out of the cinema after this merry-go-round experience, you want to find the first bucket to hurl into.
On the plus side, it’s good to see that the lighting and smell effects have improved. When I watched The Last Jedi, I mentioned how the constant bright lights caused a headache and the only thing I sniffed were the farts of the guy in front of me. This time around, the lights were toned down and utilised sparingly to better effect, i.e. the less-is-more approach worked beautifully. Moreover, there were different smells to experience in this movie. While I still believe it’s a rather pointless effect since smell is more sensory than 4DX gives it credit for, there’s been a noticeable improvement.
Not really. Effectively, it’s Avengers: Endgame in 3D, except for the last hour. There’s really not enough happening throughout to justify it in 4D. While the 4DX experience has evolved and matured, not every blockbuster is tailormade for it. At R190 a ticket, people will want more than their money’s worth.