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4DX at the Blitzmegaplex

Arizona Daily Sun (November 4, 2013)

My colleagues and I and our three interpreters decided to see the Sandra Bullock and George Clooney movie, “Gravity,” in “4DX” at the largest movie complex in Indonesia. The Blitzmegaplex is a short walk from our hotel, on the eighth floor of the Plaza Indonesia shopping mall. Imagine stacking eight Scottsdale Fashion Squares and you’ll have an idea of the size and glitz of the place. 4DX is a multi-sensory movie experience that includes 3D glasses, moving seats, vibrations, gusts of air, scents, water spritzes and other special effects. On a placard near the entrance lists the cautionary language and tips to enjoy the 4D experience: You are advised to go to the toilet before the movie starts for your convenience. Hold your belongings tight due to the motion. Getting a little bit wet is to be expected. Just enjoy the ride. I selected a seat when I purchased my ticket for 150,000 Rupea (about $15). The theater has about 400 seats, in terraced sections on a steep incline. The seats are large, high-backed, with red, crushed-velvet cushions. The seats are comfortable, but not overstuffed. In the seatback in front of me, there are three small nozzles. There are several large fans high on the walls. When the lights dimmed, I had my first experience with 4DX watching a short film of a handsome Asian actor in a tuxedo doing battle with a rock monster and a fire-breathing dragon. 3D technology has come a long way, so the visual dimension was quite striking. Add to that synchronized vibrations in the seat and back with the chair lurching, and wind blowing in my face, and I quickly realized I was in for a hoot and half. I recommend seeing “Gravity.” Even without the extrasensory experience, it is a gripping story. This much I’ll share. Five astronauts are on a routine space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble telescope (again?) when a field of space debris crashes into them. What happens next is the crux of the story. There are movie ideas that are perfect for three-dimensional technology, and there are movies that are not. “Hondo,” for example, was not. “Gravity” combines the mundane work of floating astronauts retrieving bolts that float right off the screen with a “car crash in an adjacent lane on I-17” sensation when the debris hits the shuttle. The seat shutters and jerks up and down and sideways. My sense of smell is less than the noses on Mount Rushmore, so I don’t know how well that worked. But, everything else worked, including the water drops on my 3D glasses. It’s not often that I respond verbally in a movie, but there was a point in the film when the debris field and our hero intersect again and, as if I was there, I braced myself for impact and said aloud, “Oh no.” When the lights came up, a thin veil of smoke filled the room.