Before Disney bought Lucasfilm, before the company converted the Star Wars franchise into a new series of films and before it built Galaxy’s Edge, there were Star Tours, a section of Disney Parks that was modeled on IP. The indoor ride was the first collaboration between George Lucas and Disneyland and was created as part of a plan by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner to make the parks more exciting for teenagers and young adults. Using a flight simulator designed to train pilots, Star Tours took the drivers on an adventure in the original Star Wars trilogy, led by a droid pilot with Paul Reubens voice.
Star Tours, Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run, the attraction of Galaxy’s Edge that puts park goers in the cockpit of Star Wars’ most famous ship for a giant arcade game, and Rise of the Resistance, the new dark ride that includes stretches wiggle and shake drivers as you fly through First Order space battles and bring Star Wars to life for people moving to Disney parks. But for anyone who can’t make it to Disneyland or Disney World in the near future, there is another option for the Star Wars “IRL” experience: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. At least if the audience sees it in the right format.
In March 2014, a company called CJ 4DPlex signed a contract with the theater chain Regal Entertainment for the construction of “4DX” theaters in selected multiplexes. The 4DX experience shows that each user sits on a chair that is part of a four-chair unit that is then hydraulically controlled (like a Star Tours flight simulator) to project with the pans, shocks, and inclinations of the 3D projected Image to move film. The “X” part of 4DX has to do with environmental influences: fog that tarnishes the auditorium, large fans in the room that generate winds and breezes, fog that splashes the audience with water when, for example, they follow a lightsaber fight that lasts place on the wreck of a death star.
Picture: Lucasfilm Ltd.
While there are notable issues in the story and storyline of The Rise of Skywalker, 4DX is the best way to see the Sequel Trilogy capper if you have a theater near you that offers it. What J.J. Abrams and Company have launched an uninterrupted series of quests, including space battles, lightning bolts, flying huge waves, and a ground attack on a star destroyer over a misty planet in the atmosphere. It’s as if the entire movie was designed as an amusement park, and your local multiplex may have the equipment to play it as a movie.
(Ed. Note: Below are the spoilers for the first third of The Rise of Skywalker.)
Here is a foretaste of my experience: In the first 10 minutes of the film, the 4DX theater chairs with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber vibrated and vibrated as the new Supreme Guide made his way through the Mustafar village. Every time he stabbed a poor villager with his saber, the 4DX seat punched me in the back to feel the full impact. Later, my four-seater group rocked and weaved through the unknown regions of Exegol with his TIE Fighter, and the mysterious theater where both Kylo and the audience got a first look at The Emperor. Palpatin’s introduction, shot like a horror film, triggered synchronized flashes throughout the theater. The action immediately ended with a Millennium Falcon chase. When every TIE combat laser narrowly missed the ship, I felt air blasts that narrowly missed my head as if I were the falcon that was shot.
The 4DX cinema has an opt-in / out option: You can switch off the “water effects” using a button on your chair. There is no way around the fact that the “water effect” is just a spray gun / spray gun attached to the seat in front of you and pointing to your face. That being said, fog from the moon of Endor landed on my 3D glasses when Rey tried to reach the wreck of Death Star II in Rise of Skywalker. The droplets had to be wiped away quickly, but whoever programmed the theater for that moment managed to make this terrible ocean jump out of the screen (or at least the back of the chair in front of me).
In this environment, Rise of Skywalker Star Tours wants to climb and be on the road for two and a half hours. When the last fight between space fighters and mysterious strobe environments for blaster and saber fighting begins, a feeling of complete immersion can be felt. My whole body is committed to the resistance struggle. The last third of the film also opens stereoscopically, with amazing 3D work that throws you on the screen as you cling to your chair to enjoy your life.
I may not have liked the film as much as some other Star Wars films, but the 4DX experience feels like part of its DNA. To see something like John Wick 3 and get slapped in the back for every shot sounds terrible. It was really magical to feel Star Wars outside a Disney theme park for the first time.