In his novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley envisioned watching films from cinema seats equipped with special knobs that transmit the physical sensations of the characters on the screen directly to your nerve endings.
Huxley called them feelies – movies taken up a notch which allow you to feel what the characters are feeling, smell what they are smelling, and fully immerse yourself in the story on a multi-sensory level.
In the novel, a character called called John goes to a feely called Three Weeks In A Helicopter and witnesses a love scene on a bearskin rug. As he touches the knob on his seat, he feels a sensation on his lips. When he lifts his hand, the titillation ceases. When it falls, it begins again.
A new cinema experience coming to Cineworld, Ashton-under-Lyne isn’t quite there yet but comes very close, with seats that shake and vibrate, and the ability to simulate environmental effects like wind and rain.
It will also pump simulated scents like coffee, burning rubber and gunpowder into the audience as part of the new 4DX cinema’s attempt to stimulate all five senses as part of an ‘immersive’ experience.
The 4DX motion picture technology being used is owned and developed by South Korean company CJ 4DPLEX and enables movies to be augmented with environmental effects such as seat motion, wind, rain, lights, and scents alongside standard video and audio.
It will arrive at Cineworld, Ashton-under-Lyne on August 28th, with Angel Has Fallen, IT Chapter Two and Ad Astra among the first films set to be shown in the new 4DX auditorium. They will be shown in 2D and 3D on a curved screen said to be bigger than a double-decker bus.
It sounds like a fantastic experience but if they ever screen Singin’ in the Rain we’ll probably give it a miss.