Review By: Jason Beckham Greetings CB readers! I recently had the opportunity to see Iron Man 3 in 4D this past week on a trip to Seoul, South Korea. Some of you may not be familiar with 4D (it isn't expected to be in American theaters until the end of 2013), but it's basically the next level, so to speak, in the movie going experience. 3D is fairly commonplace these days, to the point of overkill I'd say, so I can only guess 4D will follow suit. If any of you have been to Universal Studios, for example, they have the Shrek ride in 4D, where your chair moves, you're sprayed with light water, air blasts on your face, etc. Just take those elements and place them in a “regular” movie situation. From what I've seen online, there are only a few theaters offering Iron Man 3 in 4D. Here in Japan, there's one theater in Nagoya that offers it and from what I could research, there's only one theater in Seoul using it; the one I visited in Yongsan.
Like any, “ride”, there's a laundry-list of people that they say can not and should not be taking part in the 4D experience. Pregnant women, old people, people who get dizzy easily, kids under a certain height, etc. One thing that struck me as odd was a warning screen telling you not to eat and drink during the movie, but the snack bar still sells you food. I mean, I don't read Hangul (Korean), but a picture of a burger with a red slash through it sounds like, “do not eat”, to me. I bought Nachos anyway, and yeah, during some of the action scenes I had to hold on to the tray to keep chips from flying. That isn't to say that your chair is moving the entire time, because let's face it, that would be incredibly annoying.
Your chair mostly moves around during action scenes, and yes, there are quite a few in Iron Man 3. It's neat when your chair moves in tune to the panning of the camera. There's also a lot of jerking around when, for example, the parts of Tony's suit crash into him piece by piece. When Tony/Iron Man gets tossed around, the back and bottom part of your chair pulsate to simulate the bumps he's taking. When the Mandarin attacks Tony's house and Iron Man goes falling into the water, the second he hits, water splashes on your face. No, you don't get drenched, it's more of a spritz and it's funny when it happens. God only knows where that water comes from though. When Iron Man uses his boosters, there's an air-blast effect that sprays your head. Also, during action scenes where things are exploding left and right, there are lighting effects to help simulate the on-screen blasts. You mostly catch them out of your peripheral vision so it's not obnoxious or blinding. As for the odor-effects, again, they mostly happen during action scenes where things are blowing up and to be honest, I can't quite figure out what I was smelling. It didn't smell like something was burning, it was just an odd chemical smell which they could probably do without.
Overall, it was a fun, unique experience that I'm glad I had the opportunity to be a part of. I can't imagine seeing all of my movies this way, because that might get old pretty quick and would just really take away from the uniqueness of it. For whatever reason though, Iron Man 3 felt like a perfect fit for 4D and apparently the studios felt the same. As for the movie itself and my thoughts on it, I'll keep it brief. It's probably my favorite of the three Iron Man movies. Robert Downey Jr., as always, is charming, hilarious and incredibly charismatic as Tony Stark. He brings that character to life in a way that is 100% engaging. Some of my favorite scenes were of him and the little boy in Tennessee and the back-and-forth banter they shared. The action was exciting, the effects were impressive and Ben Kingsley, wow...what a scene-stealing role. I won't spoil anything, but he was unexpectedly hilarious. I think the movie as a whole moved at a fairly steady pace. Guy Pearce was great in his role and I think that Iron Man 3 continues to prove that this is easily Marvel's strongest movie franchise.
To read more movie reviews from Jason, check out Under The Asian Influence.