| Peng Qian |
SEOUL (Xinhua) – The 4-D edition of director Christopher Nolan’s science fiction thriller “Interstellar” may take moviegoers closer to the 5th Dimension Nolan wanted to explain in the film.
When the Endurance, Cooper’s spacecraft, travels through the wormhole in the film, 4DX motion chairs judder and shake synchronously with each moment of the wormhole scenes to deliver a true immersion into the space adventure.
“The vibrating seats made me feel like that I was travelling along with them through the space,” said Kim Ok, a Korean teacher of Kyung Hee University, “I have read about wormholes in books, but I have never thought that I could actually experience it,” Ok said.
It was easy for 4-D technology to internalise the aeronautical and space technologies’ experiences. In the three-hour long film, the subtle gliding of the seats stimulates the weightless motion of zero gravity.
The vibrations of the motion chairs also made the audience feel they were sitting next to the heroes and looking for a new homeland for humankind.
Interstellar has topped box-office charts in South Korea for weeks.
According to CJ 4DPLEX, an affiliated company of Asia’s largest multiplex cinema chain CJ CGV, the 4-D edition of Interstellar, during three weeks of showing in their 22 4DX auditoriums, were more than 70 per cent times capacity on average, which is by far the highest this year.
4-D was initially used for rides in amusement parks. South Korea’s CJ Group introduced the 4D format with the brand “4DX” (the “X” means “extreme”) in its multiplexes in 2009, when it featured “Avatar”. Since then, the 4-D business is showing rapid growth every year, proving strong potential in many aspects.
Chairs move and vibrate. Jets of water or air, aromatic vapour, light, smoke, bubbles are diffused, simulating conditions the movie is showing at each moment. In the latest venture to allure moviegoers, entertainment companies are trying to upgrade their technology with the next logical step: 4-D, referring to these added physical effects.
As of today, 4DX is running 113 auditoriums in 27 countries worldwide including South Korea, China, the United States, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and others.
However, it seems that not all were amused by 4-D. Many complained about the distraction caused by the physical effects. Zhang Cong, a Chinese tourist visiting Seoul, said she felt dizzy when watching the 4-D Interstellar.
“Actually, I couldn’t concentrate on the story line because of the frequent motion of seats,” she said.
Some said they were bothered by other audiences’ reactions to the 4-D effects such as screams and giggles.
Many people complained about the wind and rain effects, which makes them feel cold. Another downside is its higher ticket prices, around two times than the 2D movie.
Even the director Nolan was not in favour of the extra 3-D or 4-D effects. In an interview with Salon, the online news and entertainment website, he said nobody likes 3-D films.
“It’s always a source of great concern to me when you’re charging a higher price for something that nobody seems to really say they have any great love for,” he said.
Normally, a movie in 4DX should involve motion seats, wind, water, fog, smell and flashes of light.
But Interstellar in 4DX only featured moving seats. A staff from a CGV theatre said it was because “the director requested no extra 4DX effects other than moving seats being offered.”
“Actually it was the co-decision of our 4DX team and movie production team to optimise the 4DX effects for this huge scaled space epic genre, focusing on allowing the best motion and effects to enable ‘zero gravity’ to be experienced in the space shuttle,” said Rosa Choi, PR manager of 4DX.
CJ has about 20 4DX editors in South Korea, China and the United States.
Normally, it will take at least 16 days for the designated team, called “i-Studio”, to design diverse combinations of motion, vibration, and effects to maximise the immersion of the movie-watchers’ experience.
The procedure, in part, involved the technicians designing the seat on the motion chairs, watching the same film again and again and tweaking suitable effects according to his or her real feelings.