Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 4DX Review

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… there were cinemas that only showed films in two dimensions.

I think this was known as the 20th century.

Thankfully, 4DX films have changed that – and what better film to experience these changes with than Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

First off, to the legal bit – and there are two screens worth of disclaimers before the 4DX show can even begin.

And that’s just for the trailers… I kid you not.

So if you have a heart condition, 4DX isn’t for you.

If you have epilepsy, 4DX isn’t for you.

If you get motion sickness, 4DX isn’t for you.

If you accidentally stubbed your toe against some Ikea furniture back in the 80’s… well, you get the idea.

If this seems a little like overkill, that’s because it is – but with good reason, as the 4DX experience turned out to be a little wilder than I was expecting.

But what are 4DX films like? Well, it’s a regular 3D film but now with a load of immersive extras loaded on top.

So when Kylo Ren and Rey are fighting on top of some hulking spacecraft adrift in the middle of the ocean, be prepared for water to be sprayed in your face.

When Poe Dameron and Finn are speeding through the desert in pursuit of stormtroopers, you’re going to feel the wind in your hair.

And when zombie Emperor Palpitine cracks lightning and thunder from his hands and the sky, purple strobe lighting will electrify the cinema.

It’s really quite spectacular and for modern blockbusters that increasingly prioritise special effects over storylines, 4DX seems like the natural evolution of this practice.

For something as poorly written and riddled with inconsistencies as JJ Abrams’ Rise of Skywalker, 4DX should be the only way to watch this film.

After all, it’s hard to notice those oh so many plot points that simply don’t add up when you’re being distracted by four dimensions instead of the usual two.

But the biggest difference are the seats that tip you up and down or throw you left or right in sympathy with the on screen action that unfolds in front of you.

It takes a little while to get used to this, but it isn’t long before you start wondering how you ever watched an action film without being thrown around like a rag-doll trapped in some 6 year old’s overactive imagination.

Of course, getting strapped into a moderate roller-coaster for two and a half hours may not be everyone’s cup of tea… it all depends on the kind of movie you’re watching.

But as television increasingly offers audiences writing and storylines that 2 hour films simply can’t compete with, it seems pretty natural that cinema focuses on offering audiences a more immediate and visual experience.

4DX takes that next step for cinephiles who no longer want to be constrained by the realms of two dimensional films.

And as mainstream movies become increasingly sterile, with big budget franchises and remakes more dominant than ever before, it makes sense that cinemas take a more innovative approach to engaging their audiences.

If they don’t, it may not be too long until cinemas end up belonging in a galaxy far, far away.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

January 2020