ONWARD is finally here and and we’re big fans of Disney-Pixar’s latest magical adventure. The deceptively endearing film is also a visual feast and it’s now being further enhanced in 4DX format at theaters across the country. We were given the opportunity to attend as part of a press preview and were absolutely spell-bound by the experience.
ONWARD is a really fun departure from the norm (and yet still jam-packed with the feels) and there’s no better way to take that leap even further than by enjoying the journey accentuated by 4DX!
A 4DX screening is a feast for the senses and for this film, the first sensory effect to really grab your attention is actually one you’re probably already familiar with: 3D! Place on thine head ye magical 3D glasses and hold on tight as this magical journey will get a little bumpy — literally!
We’ve said it before but short of a safety spiel and a lap bar, 4DX is practically a theme park experience in its own right. On first glance, it doesn’t seem entirely different than what you’re used to in a modern cineplex but these plush comfy seats offer more than meets the eye with a wide range of motion and also the ability to vibrate.
It’s always impressive to see how they constantly find ways to immerse you into the film via the motion-enabled seats. For instance, traveling inside of Barley’s epic purple van and noble steed — the Guinevere — is fully realized with motion that authentically simulates driving down the highways, cobblestone roads, and untamed fields from the journey. Other standout uses included feeling the seat move and vibrate as we float and bob through the cavern rivers. Sometimes the movement integration feature can feel gratuitous in 4DX but the restraint here was duly noted for ONWARD with a great balance.
Moving seats aren’t the only effect to make this adventure special. This is a multi-sensory experience that can include gusts of wind as you speed down the highway or face Guinevere’s epic AC system; sprinkles of water passing waterfalls; puffs of smoke/fog to highlight magical explosions; and strobe effects to accentuate bursts of magic from Ian’s magical staff.
Plus, although we didn’t notice their usage at our screening, 4DX theaters are typically also equipped to deliver additional effects including snow, bubbles, scent effects, hot air, and seat pokers.
Although we’ve seen several films in 4DX format, we’d never seen them with a person who needed a handicap-accessible experience. We were a little apprehensive on this visit with Dad because the rocking of the seats can be pretty extreme but we found that the wheelchair section actually had seats that were equipped with seatbelts to help keep bottoms in the seats. It ended up being perfect for our situation and Dad really got a kick out of the sensation of being on a rollercoaster without having to deal with the practical hurdles of doing so in a theme park. We cannot wait to take him back in the future!
You might have seen a ScreenX mega widescreen presentation or noshed on over-priced eats in a dine-in theater, but if you haven’t experienced a 4DX format picture before, you’re truly missing out on a really fun way to enjoy blockbuster movies.
ONWARD is playing now in theaters and is available several formats including 4DX which you can learn more about here.