Last night I was fortunate enough to see the new Star Wars: Rogue One at the equally new Cineworld 4DX cinema in Wandsworth in suburban London. 4DX expands on the regular cinema experience by adding wind, water together with moving and vibrating seat effects to immerse cinema goers in the action of the film in a way that simply isn’t possible for home viewers. Cineworld have a number of 4DX cinemas around the UK but this is the first one in the capital so if you live in London it’s the only real place to try it.
As we settled into our firm yet comfortable seats with popcorn in hand and settled our feet onto the comfortable footrests (see picture) we did debate whether 4DX was going to be an addition to the experience or if it risked being a distraction but with a quick 4DX trailer to introduce the movement and the other elements we were into the film proper.
You can find our spoiler-free review of the Star Wars: Rogue One here and I’ll likewise keep this as free from spoilers as I can but I will say that the flying sequences were certainly a wild ride at points and some of the fight sequences resulted in a flurry of blows to the back, though not hard enough to be painful.
As the film progressed we went through some storms bringing the wind and rain effects into play though for those for whom the water effects might be too much it’s easy to turn them off by pressing a button on the armrest. Blasts of laser fire were similarly accompanied by puffs of air around our heads which was an unsettling feeling but entirely in keeping with the action. Despite all of the dramatic effects my favourite moments were those when I realised that we were floating or gently gliding in a very subtle but lovely way and it was probably that which did the most to win me over.
I have to say that I liked the whole 4DX experience and though there was a risk that it could veer into the gimmicky it managed to keep itself from becoming the focus of the film as the noisier effects were dropped out during dialogue so that we didn’t risk missing anything important.
I’m not sure some of the effects seemed to be entirely in sync with the film and perhaps I’d like to see the rain on screen for a second or two before it hits me in the face rather than at exactly the same time but that does feel a little bit like nit-picking.
In conclusion would I recommend it? Yes, if you’re an action film fan and maybe a theme park fan too. Obviously it would be totally lost on films like Pride and Prejudice but for the raft of action films slated for 2017 release such as the next XXX, FF8 or Marvel movies it would be an ideal way to experience them.
I’d love to see a 4DX version of Gravity but please, no 50 Shades 4DX conversion… just no.