My First Experience Of A 4DX Film

July 27, 2022

Once, when my daughter was a small baby, I found myself on a 4D ride and I had absolutely no understanding of what that meant. It was the entrance attraction into Cadbury World in Birmingham and I was there with 3 very excited little boys who’d heard that this was indeed the land of milk and chocolate and that they would be given free chocolate bars every 5 minutes or so. The excitement was palpable and I was just busy herding all 4 into, what I thought was, an ordinary cinema.

When the seat started to shake violently and the baby started to scream I, of course, found out I was wrong.

The boys turned to me and said, very aggressively I might add, ‘BOOB HER,’ which in our family was code for, ‘Can you feed my sister so she stops screaming?’ which was a usual thing because she often voiced her opinion and ‘Boobing her’ did make her stop.

So there I was breastfeeding a fractious baby on the front row of, what turned out, a 4D cinema-type ride. It wasn’t fun and I have always expected to appear on some silly camera program with a ‘Look at what this strange mother decided to do on a 4D ride? Let’s all laugh at her!!’ caption.

Back to yesterday and you can imagine my ‘excitement’ at finding out that my eldest son did not want to go to the cinema with his dad, brothers and brothers’ friends after a long shift at work. This meant there was a spare ticket going to waste and that is how I found myself sat in a 4DX cinema wondering just what on earth I’d agreed to.

Luckily my daughter was now 8, no longer breast fed and was at home.

The film we saw was Thor Love and Thunder which wasn’t a gentle film by any stretch of the imagination and the chair bouncing around at certain points reflected this. The 4D chairs move so much more than you think possible and at random times and it does random things. I understood the wind blowing when there was a windy desert scene and I get the water spray kind of but the chair moved so violently at some points that you just end up laughing, well, my friend and I did. Looking at what was happening to other people and the absurdity of all made us giggle uncontrollably at one point so much so we really weren’t watching the film. Not a great thing to happen when you’d like the audience to follow what’s happening.

I was punched in the back, lightening flashed with the lights on the side of the cinema but it was mainly about tipping you and shaking you in a chair. There was no way we could have drunk our drink during the film so I was kind of glad that I’d finished it all in the very long trailers and adverts at the beginning of the film.

I did find that one of the side effects of being shaken so much is that I really needed the toilet halfway through as did many other people. My friend warned me of this and I thought that I would be fine but I really wasn’t.

I have Irlen’s Syndrome (a colour/movement processing sight disorder) and this is meant that 3D films and anything 3D has either given me a migraine or it’s just so blurry even with the glasses. I had been prepared to leave if my eyes had started to hurt but this film and these glasses seemed so much better. The 3D was more gentle so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, the characters weren’t leaping out at you more just having a more rounded feel to them. I did find movement still problematic but not the extent that I have done before. I found the backgrounds still quite blurry. I stayed for the whole film and didn’t develop a migraine let along a headache which is very unusual. I think the technology has moved on and the synching of the 2 ‘things that they do’ that usually hurt my eyes (that’s why I can’t stand flickering lights and will notice a flicker even when you don’t) has improved a great deal.

After the film had ended and we met back up with the dads and boys (there were 11 of us in total) we discussed what we’d all thought of the experience. I was surprised to hear that the boys (5 of them) really didn’t like the 4D cinema. They said: ‘It didn’t add anything to the film,’ and ‘It was just a annoying,’ along with, ‘I just wished I could turn it off,’ which really wasn’t what I thought they’d say. One of them even said that they’d love to go and see it again but in a normal cinema so it really had put them off.

For this was an experience but not one I think I’ll be doing again. Having said that I thought my first experience with my daughter, 8 years ago would have been my last so it just goes to show you never know what will happen in the future. For us it’s a one-off thing that we won’t be paying extra for again which isn’t what the filmmakers are hoping for I’m sure.

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