Somehow at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con I scored a free Regal Cinemas 4D movie ticket, handed to me by Dan Fogelberg — Jacob Kowalski himself — from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I decided the best possible use of this golden ticket was a 4D showing of Rise of Skywalker, the finale of the Skywalker Star Wars Saga. I couldn’t think of a better use of this expensive freebie besides a Fantastic Beasts film (which wouldn’t come out soon before the ticket expired). So, I’m about to see my very first 4D movie excursion right now at the Regal Edwards Cinema in Mira Mesa, CA. (That’s in Northern San Diego.)
Spoilers start for Rise of Skywalker. I have to be specific, or not bother writing it up at all.
Okay, I’m back. Here’s what I have to say about the 4D 3D D-Box experience for Star Wars – Rise of Skywalker
Good things, mostly:
The 3D was clear and worked well with the 4D story nods. Worth paying for both together if you’re going to bother with the extra expense.
The vibration feature was effective. This was probably the most effective element in the Rise of Skywalker‘s 4D version.
The wind feature helped set the mood well.
Temperature changes: I felt chilly a few times, but I’m not sure if it was just the wind feature in action. But this is supposed to happen. There probably should have been a few heat scenes during the fights.
Strobe lighting: A few times this worked, but it got distracting after the first few times. Mostly used in lightsaver scenes and anything with Palpatine. I think if you’re an epilectic you’ll want to NOT see Rise of Skywalker in 4D.
The seats rocked and bucked and yawed in tune with the spaceship action. But you stop noticing after a few times, and maybe this could have been done better. Or maybe they didn’t want people vomiting in their chairs. It felt like those old Star Tours rides at Disneyland, but without needing seat belts. I would have preferred more flying action AND seat belts.
Each lightsaber stab gave me an actual poke in the back, in different locations that loosely matched the movie fighting. More or less.
Some water mist on the ruined Death Star scenes were okay. Not enough, though. You are able to turn off the waterworks option on your seat console, so why not do this right for those who wanted it? More was needed. I barely noticed.
Smoke. Although it felt a little gratuitous since this wasn’t really that kind of film.
Scent: Um…a few times I smelt burnt rubber and that was it.
Well, all of it, really, It still felt like they were trying too hard, and the few additions weren’t amazing enough to put me into the action. The effects got gratuitously repetitive, too. It felt more like, “Oh, hey, they added a thing here. Now stop it.”
Oh, and if you get motion sickness easily, or have other health problems, don’t see RDX 4D motion movies.
There’s a long list of health warnings!
Ultimately: should you shell out money for Star Wars in 4D?
Overall: 4D is still a cash grabbing gimmick. It’s fun to do for the occasional film (a RunPee fan told us it’s superb for Ford v Ferrari, and you can feel each gear shift and corner turn), but for Star Wars it was…meh?
I’d wait for the tech to improve before paying $25 for the experience. Do it once at a movie you’re excited about, and see if you’re willing to do it again.
Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Android or iPhone ) whenever you go to the movies. (We've been doing this over 10 years now.) We always have Peetimes for the latest wide release films, including OnWard, 1917, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc. You can also keep up with the latest movie news and reviews on our blog or by following us on Twitter @RunPee, and liking us on Facebook.
Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)