Thu | Jul 18, 2024

Palace Amusement shows off immersive 4DX cinema experience

Published:Wednesday | June 12, 2024 | 12:08 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
Steven Cooke (left), executive director of Palace Amusement, poses with Kevin Donaldson and Karen Donaldson.
Steven Cooke (left), executive director of Palace Amusement, poses with Kevin Donaldson and Karen Donaldson.
From left: Coleen Brown Jackson, chief executive officer, Virgen Advertising Limited and Palace Amusement directors Douglas Graham and Melanie Graham.
From left: Coleen Brown Jackson, chief executive officer, Virgen Advertising Limited and Palace Amusement directors Douglas Graham and Melanie Graham.
Each row in the retrofitted 4DX cinema is split up into segments of four.
Each row in the retrofitted 4DX cinema is split up into segments of four.
The ‘Water On/Water Off’ button controls the water effects.
The ‘Water On/Water Off’ button controls the water effects.
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After months of secrecy, an under-construction cinema, and teasers on their social media pages, Palace Amusement finally unveiled their newly renovated 4DX cinema at their Carib 5 location. For those not in the know, 4DX is an immersive cinematic experience that puts audience members in the driver’s seat. Literally. No longer will viewers have to settle for merely watching the films they see at the cinema, now they can be a part of the action.

Speaking on the 4DX experience, Steven Cooke, executive director of Palace Amusement, told The Gleaner, “I think it’s going to absolutely revolutionise how people view movies because now you’re not just going to see it, you’re going to feel it.”

What was once reserved for a 10-15-minute simulator ride at the occasional family fun day is now part of a two-hour film experience. It’s not enough to see 4DX described, you simply have to feel it to believe it.

With that in mind, Palace Amusement brought together a select group of invitees to take in the experience first-hand, for a special showing of Bad Boys: Ride Or Die. The film provided just the right mix of high-octane action to excite, and nostalgia for a long-time beloved cast to anchor you as you take flight on new technology.

From the jump, you’re transported. The film begins with a jarring noise, translating to a jolt in your seat. The camera swoops through the Miami skyline as your seat volleys from left to right tracking its movement. A sudden cut brings you into the car of Will Smith’s Mike Lowery driving well past the speed limit he’s meant to enforce. The cinema rumbles as each viewer begins to shake along to the roaring engine of the sports car.

“We are really putting all of your senses on alert. If you’re in a car and it goes in a drift, you’re going to feel like you’re flung against the car door. If you slam on your brakes, you’re going to feel like you’re going to get thrown through the wind shield. So we take what you see visually and we simulate all the other senses along with it,” said Cooke.

WATER EFFECTS

The driving sensation is a near one to one but it’s not simply a roller-coaster ride. A plume of smoke that obstructs a shoot-out is emitted in real time as visible mist in the auditorium. A flashbang on the screen fills the room thanks to super bright LEDs where the side walls meet the ceiling. Even bullets flying are high-pressure air whizzing past your ears. There are even water effects that will splash and spray you, a feature that is the only optional one, accessible by a simple ‘Water On/Water Off’ button on your right chair arm.

“Everybody is very excited. People no longer want to see certain movies on their couch. Because we overlay environmental effects on the films, unless someone is going to come and throw a pot of water in your face at home, you’re not going to have that same effect,” said Cooke.

Even without the high-tech bells and whistles, the cinema has received a massive upheaval. Each seat now has a footrest and refurbished cushions. The cinema is the smallest at Carib 5, seating 112, and is the only 4DX enabled in existence at the company though Palace Amusement’s Melanie Graham indicates that more 4DX cinemas are not out of the question, should this one draw a crowd. The crowd that was there had choice words as the movie ended, most of them with child-like grins.

“Amazing, Absolutely amazing.”

“Fantastic. Everything coming out from the walls, oh my gosh, it’s amazing.”

“It’s remarkable. I would 100 per cent bring my kids to do this. It was levels beyond what I expected.”

4DX tickets are $4,000, nearly double the current price for an Adult 2D movie ticket, which stands at $2,100. 4DX also requires assigned seating. Viewers will need to select a seat designated by row and number. Each row is split up into segments of four, with a walkable gap in between them, meaning groups of more than 4 will have to get creative with their selection should they want to enjoy the experience in closer proximity.

No matter where you’re seated, Palace Amusement takes the intensity of 4DX seriously providing safety guidelines to patrons before they purchase their tickets. As to what films viewers can expect to be shown in 4DX, films that rely less on action will likely miss the cut.

“You wouldn’t do 4DX to The Sound Of Music. Anything that has special effects, 4DX gives you special special effects,” provided Cooke. “ Deadpool and Wolverine, Transformers One, and other highly anticipated films around the corner promise an action-packed release schedule that’s cause for excitement. However, one member of the 4DX audience showed enthusiasm for Palace Amusement to revisit releases of recent years. “I think if they brought back Avatar: The Way Of The Water that would be incredible. So many people would watch that again like this.”

Whether the movies they show are the new hits or the old favourites, 4DX is an experience that can elevate even the worst films to a decent theme park ride. The company is at this moment showing Bad Boys: Ride Or Die and has Inside Out 2 on its schedule for Friday, June 14. When asked what other films the company intends to give the 4DX treatment, Cooke had this to say: “I will tell you one. Do not miss Twisters.”

Twisters has a release date of July 19, 2024 in the United States, and will likely play in Palace Amusement cinemas on or around the same date.

Damian Levy is a film critic and podcaster for Damian Michael Movies. Email feedback to entertainment@gleanerjm.com.