‘Ad Astra’ and ‘Abominable’ in 4DX

If you like the cool comfort of a movie theater and don’t like the long lines and time involved in going to an amusement park, “Ad Astra” and “Abominable” are perfect choices for two different experiences that mimic the best of non-roller coaster amusement park rides.

Because my first experience in 4DX was in the summer while I was gathering information and writing about Apollo 11, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the documentary “Apollo 11″ would be a perfect film for 4DX. That made “Ad Astra” the next best thing.

“Ad Astra” aimed to give as realistic an experience of the future space travel and 4DX enhances this experience. When the shuttle or a rocket launches, there’s the shudder of a mass of metal fighting gravity and the atmosphere. You expect that kind of jittery movement if you’ve already experienced 4DX.

More subtle is the slight movement to one side to the next as the weightlessness of space travel is experienced. Watching the movie, you might not realize immediately that your horizon line has shifted. You might naturally lean to compensate unconsciously, but the impression is still there–something is off-kilter.

This was my second viewing of “Ad Astra,” and it gave me the opportunity to watch the beauty of the lighting and reflection to create something close to the reality we’ve seen in real NASA footage. Usually the solar flare in movies bothers me and seems more a sign of carelessness than careful planning, but in “Ad Astra,” it gives a feeling of authenticity along with the seemingly careless and unflattering lighting that emphasizes the bags under both Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones’ eyes.

With “Abominable,” 4DX provides a simulation of Everest’s rolling gait–think English sheepdog or St. Bernard. One of the more interesting features is the helicopter effects in the city of Shanghai while Everest is being chased. If you wondered if John Waters’ concept Odorama would make it to the theaters is has. When our intrepid adventurers are going through the field of flowers, you can smell the wonderful scents.

That leads me to consider that the 1981 “Polyester” might be worth seeing in 4DX. According to Wikipedia, there was something called “Smell-O-Vision” that Mike Todd Jr. used for his 1960 film, “Scent of Mystery.”

Other films attempted to use it to varying degrees of success:

  • “The Broadway Melody” (1929)
  • “The Seahawk” (1940)
  • “Boom Town” (1940)
  • “Fantasia” (1940)–Walt Disney reportedly thought about it, but abandoned it as not cost effective.
  • “Polyester” (1981): scratch-n-sniff cards
  • “Rugrats Go Wild” (2003): scratch-n-sniff cards
  • “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” (2011): scratch-n-sniff cards

I’m trying to imagine a scented film festival and maybe we should nominate movies that would benefit like “Scent of a Woman”?

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