I was recently invited to screen Disney’s Toy Story 4 in 4DX. I am sure you know what Toy Story is, but what is 4DX you should ask? It is a new and unique way to experience a 3D movie. 4DX is a movie technology that is augmented with environmental effects like seat motion, wind, rain, fog, lights, and scents along with the standard video and audio. The 4D technology immerses the audience with a multi-sensory experience, allowing them to connect and feel like they are part of the movie. The experience was developed by CJ 4DPLEX, which headquarters in Seoul, Korea with international offices in Los Angeles and Beijing.
The 4DX movie experience is only available in specialty-equipped theaters. There are currently 6 locations in California — Los Angeles, Buena Park, Pico Rivera, Vista, San Diego, and the newest location in Fresno. The 4DX theatre is similar to any other theatre until you sit down. The seats were stiffer than usual movie seats and the armrests are fixed with a cup holder for your drink. The seats felt somewhat like a massage chair, which had a button on the armrest for the option to turn on or off the water effect. During the previews, there is a short movie that takes your seat out for a test drive. The movie is the 4DX brand trailer that lets you experience the motions of a motorcycle. These motion-enabled chairs and environmental effects work in perfect synchronicity with the action on screen.
Having already had the 4DX experience with Aladdin, I was looking forward to the different types of effects I would feel in Toy Story 4. I was already pleasantly surprised by the time of the opening scene. As it rained cats and dogs in the movie, I felt light water drops hitting my arms and hands. This made me feel like I was in the scene with Woody and the gang right from the start. As opening credits started to roll with Andy whirling his toys into the air, our chairs rocked back and forth in a circular motion sending us soaring “To Infinity and Beyond!”
There was a lot of action just around every corner in Toy Story 4 and the 4DX experience greatly enhanced them. Some of my favorite scenes in the movie included every time we jump into Bo Peep’s Skunk Mobile and it zips across the ground. There were fun high-speed chases through the carnival and playgrounds while wind and bumpy vibration were combined to simulate the rough terrain and high-powered acceleration. The rain and water brought to life some key moments and the sweet smell of flowers was delicious. A new character in the movie named, “Duke Caboom, Canada’s greatest action figure,” had a lot of daring stunts, free falls, and electrifying jumps in the movie and they were all enhanced by 4DX pitch, heave, and motion! There were also some suspense scenes that made me jump, like when we first met Forky. Toy Story 4 was quite a wild ride.
This type of movie experience does cost a little more than a regular movie ticket. In Los Angeles, the 4DX price ranges are:
- Matinee: $26 for Adults, $25 for Child/Senior
- Evening: $29 for Adults, $25 for Child/Senior
The up-charge in ticket prices would have me be more selective in which movies I would want to see in 4DX. The experience is well worth it because you leave the theatre feeling like you were a part of every scene in the movie.
This was my first time seeing Toy Story 4 and it picks up right where it left off in Toy Story 3. Woody and the whole gang now belong to a little girl named Bonnie who absolutely loved playtime. However, she has not chosen to play with Woody much anymore. No longer a preschooler, she is moving onto a Kindergarten in a new school. She is scared, lonely, and has all those feelings you have when you are put in a new place without any familiar faces. The only thing that brought comfort to her was a new toy she made from a spork and pipe cleaners named Forky. Woody takes it upon himself to comfort and protect Bonnie and keep her new toy nearby. He feels that it is the only thing left for him to do. As the story progresses, we see that Woody is still hung up in the joyful past of being a kid’s favorite toy and does not know how to adapt to his new situation. The whole gang embarks on a road trip with Bonnie and her family and Woody goes on a big adventure to find where he belongs. Overall, I thought Toy Story 4 was great. It is a little different from the first two movies of the series as it takes a more serious look at life and emotions. It is a movie about getting older and knowing when to step aside to let new leaders emerge.
As a mother of two young girls, 7 years old and 3 year old, I would say that the Toy Story 4 4DX experience would be too intense for both kids. The first safety guideline for a 4DX movie is that you have to be at least 3 1/2 feet tall and 4 years of age, so that disqualifies my younger daughter. Some of the suspenseful scenes of Toy Story 4 amplified by the 4DX effects like the pounding on your back in would have been too much for my older daughter. Another safety guideline is that no one is permitted to share a seat or sit on another’s lap. So before taking your children, you may want to evaluate if they are mentally and physically prepared for the movie. You can read the full list of 4DX safety guidelines here. All in all, I had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the 4DX experience, especially during the suspenseful scenes and skunk mobile chases.