Just a couple of minutes after settling into our seats, my brother and I were unexpectedly thrown from side to side and I almost dropped the full bucket of popcorn I was holding. This was unexpected because Point Break, the film we were there to watch, had not even started. But it turned out to be a teaser for movie fans to briefly experience what was to come with the new 4D technology.
When I had walked into the cinema at the Panorama Mall in Ghubra on a recent Sunday afternoon, I was amazed. I thought the place looked very cool and funky, just how a film theatre should be. The VIP zone also looked quite chic, but we were joined by only 10 others in the 4D theatre, probably because of the odd time we were there.
Wearing our 3D glasses and holding on to the armrests of our comfortable seats, we settled in to watch the film, a remake of a 1990s favourite. The first scene revolved around two men riding bikes on the rough terrain of a mountain and we soon noticed that the theatre was filling with lots of smoke, signifying the dust kicked up from the tyres. At the same time, the seats were also shaking; moving up, down and sideways.
These were my first few minutes experiencing the latest 4D technology and while I wasn’t instantly impressed, I was certainly getting there.
My interest piqued during a surfing scene, when members of the audience were surprised with splashes of water on their faces. Every time someone in the movie was thrown into the water, we were thrown right in there with them.
I had now experienced seat shaking, smoke and water, but I soon learned there was even more to come. The next sense to be brought into the fold was smell. Every time a fire was lit in the film, or the actors ran through a jungle with lots of vegetation, you could smell fire and plants respectively. It felt a bit funny at first, especially as I really hadn’t been expecting it.
Images are brought to life in 3D, while the seats moved and a number of other effects like smoke and water were used to add the extra dimension and the overall effect is to really put you in the heart of the action. You almost feel like you’re right there with the stars.
Point Break, a film about a series of eight extreme challenges, obviously features a great deal of action and was probably a good introduction to the world of 4D, but not all films naturally lend themselves to the format. With currently just one 4D film at a time, the choice can be quite limiting – the last film shown in 4D there was the new Star Wars film, which I imagine was also good one to watch in via this technology.
I can compare the 4D technology a little with the 7D cinema I’ve visited in the past at Fun Zone, but that was only for a 10-minute long film and not a feature-length extravaganza. My only concern is that once you start watching the latest films in 4D, you won’t be able to downgrade back to three dimensions.
My favourite scene was probably the final one of the film. It was another surfing scene, but this time it was shot at night in torrential rain. The water, combined with the shaking of seats made for an intense climax and actually sent chills down my spine. And surely it’s the search for thrills like these that drive us towards 4D cinema.
Providing you don’t suffer from any form of motion sickness, the slightly increased ticket price is well worth it to enjoy the extra dimension and it’s a great all-round experience. I’ll certainly be back for my action movie fix soon.
Price: RO7.5 per ticket, VIP lounge tickets: RO10
Phone: 2456 7668
Location: Panorama Mall, Ghubra
Advance booking recommended for popular films. For film times, go to citycinemaoman.net