Posted by: ckckred | July 10, 2012

Why 4-D is a really, really awful idea

4-D will turn movies into amusement park rides in my opinion

In an online article in Time Magazine, CJ Group, a South Korean company, is planning to make 4-D theaters in the United States called 4DX.  They already have theaters equipped with technology in South Korea, and will open about 200 4DX theaters around New York and Los Angeles.

The system isn’t just 3-D, but adds different things to the film.  When the movie is set in sea, for example, a nozzle will spray a salty mist.  When a car chase is in action, the chair will sway back and forth.  The effects CJ Group is planning effects that go on and on.

Let me just tell you this is a terrible, terrible idea.  It’s completely insulting to the filmmakers, filmgoers, and practically anyone who has an appreciation in the visual arts.

I’ve mentioned many times before my dislike of 3-D, and 4-D has many of the same problems as it (not just because 3-D images are incorporated in it).  The major problem I see with this is it takes away the film experience.  When movies first came out, people imagined what it would be like to be in them.  In 2001: A Space Odyssey, it felt like you were traveling in space without having your seat shake around.  In Saving Private Ryan, you could imagine climbing up the beaches at Omaha without having your face sprayed with salt water.  Would those scenes be any better if the seats just moved a little bit and gave out scents?

Another problem of this system is nausea.  It’s difficult to watch a movie while your seat’s moving back and forth with water sprayed on your face while wearing 3-D glasses.  What the 4DX systems are doing is taking a film and making it into a 3 hour amusement park ride.  When watching a film, audiences have to react to things on the screen, not from your seat.

This isn’t even original either.  Way back in the 50s and 60s, theaters tried doing this stuff.  These cheap gimmicks were to lure more people into theaters.  Instead, they resulted in great failure.

And do you really want to pay for that?  3-D tickets already cost over $10.  These tickets will cost north of $18 at the least.  No one’s willing to pay that much for a film.

So please, don’t do this to our films.  It’ll be ruining them and making them into amusement park rides.  I hope this doesn’t go through.



  1. The last thing I need is South Korea to give us a reason to hate ’em, but according to Time, that’s already happened. This is the worst idea since…well, it’s just a terrible idea. Exceeds all comparison. Glad I’m aware of this. Great post.

    • Thanks! I think it’s incredibly disrespectful towards the filmmakers. They were trying to create a movie, not a theme park ride. It just seems so entirely selfish that some one would do something this awful. It may even be worse than the colorization of black and white films.

  2. I hate that they are marketing this as 4D. We live in 4D space and the extra “D” is time. I hope this whole thing falls flat on its face and the people behind it lose tons of money.

    • Me too. It’s not a movie when you add things happening in the environment around you. I hope this fails miserly as well, and that no one will ever come up with something like this again.

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