Smells like Movie Spirit


Finally, after countless years of waiting, our prayers have been answered. We are about to be graced with the reinvented, and hopefully perfected, smell-o-vision. 4DX technology has promised to entertain us with its cinema of sensory overload in addition to the usual visual stimulation that has kept the local movie house from going under.

The South Korean conglomerate, CJ Group, has developed 4DX technology that will further enchant the cinematic audience. The technology is said to be an all round experience, emitting swirls of smoke, bubbles and any of 1000 varied scents. These could include aromas of burnt rubber, gun powder, sea water and coffee. Strobe lights, water spurts and eruptions of air are also to be expected.

You should probably hold on to your seats though, because the technology has only landed in a select number of countries.  The Kronoa World chain of theatres, have been busy constructing 4D arenas in countries including China, Russia, Mexico and Israel. The company has been extremely busy testing their “Fourth Dimension” technology, the first showcase being James Cameron’s Avatar, which was first screened in Seoul, South Korea back in 2009.  Numerous other test screenings have been carried out including Reel Steel in Brazil and The Hunger Games in Israel. The company hopes to spread their filmic wonder to a further 200 cinemas within a period of 5 years, which it will use to reach a goal of a dozen screenings a year.

ImageHowever, the first instance of the 4DX marvel, with all the delights of trembling chairs and a foggy haze, will be experienced via Iron Man 3, which is set to be shown in Japan later this week. According to Korona World’s spokesman Tagiki Ishiguro, ‘It was really a matter of timing that Iron Man became the first title for 4DX in Japan, though we were looking for a blockbuster action film, as that is what works best with the system’.  It is questionable whether the sharp odour of explosives will be appreciated by the audience who are more than likely to be exposed to numerous bombings and explosion typical of the Iron Man series.

This magical mystical experience will not only intensify any filmic viewing, but it will also increase the movie ticket price. Japanese 4DX moviegoers are expected to pay an additional 1300 yen, about R120, to the regular 3D price and an extra 1000 yen, about R95, for 2D films.  This is but a small price to pay for the extraordinary developments of the 4DX theatre. It is questionable however, whether it will be a success and win over the hearts of the ordinary spectators. It is rather disconcerting looking back at what happened to Hans Laube’s smell-o-vision of 1960. In the event that it does succeed it could possibly lead to the development of similar olfactory viewing devices for the home environment. An invention of this sort would, in my opinion, finally give meaning to cooking shows.


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