Beyond the Castle on the Hill
A paranormal thriller about a growing race of immortals attempting to live within our society. Sequel to Castle on the Hill: Secrets.
D-Box – My Obsession Might Be Complete
My search for a movie chair that could truly immerse me in the motion picture experience has finally Ianded me in Bayonne, New Jersey. This is where I found the closest theater to my location that carried D-Box type of chairs (hydraulically synchronized chair movements that match the actions on the screen). Since this location is more than an hour drive from me, I was not happy about the long drive just to check a seat. Then I discovered that the only feature being shown with the use of the chair was War Dogs. The reviews have not been that great for this flick but I decided to give it a try and hoped there would be the volatile action sequences which would supply a good example of how the chair works.
There are 32 reserved D-Box seats (16 in a row) in an auditorium that holds a total of 220 seats. By choosing a D-Box chair, I was adding $8.00 to the price of admission (making the total $20.00) so this had better be worth it. After I sat in the center front row seat, it became obvious that I would be the only patron in the auditorium but enough about the theater and the lack of popularity of the movie.
Here are three examples of my D-Box chair experience:
1. When the main character was walking through a hallway, I could ever so slightly feel the chair moving forward and when he finally stepped in front of the door of his choice, I could feel the chair back up a bit.
2. The entire chair trembled while the actors on the screen were driving in a car. When the actors were riding in a military vehicle, the chair gave a much bumpier ride.
3. During a fight sequence, when the actor was being struck in the mid section, the center back area of the seat would give a jerk. When he was punched in the face, the same type of bump was felt in the head rest area. The movement was a bit startling but there was no chance of getting whiplash from this motion.
The shifting of the chair up and down, tilting from side to side and the vibrations sent to certain areas of the chair at the specified time in synch with the actions on the screen makes for a very interesting ride. Unfortunately, War Dogs was not a good movie to use as a test project. I suppose a more action-packed feature would have thrown me around in the chair a lot more of the time. In terms of what I experienced, watching War Dogs in this chair was more of a distraction than anything else and did not add to my enjoyment of the movie. The D-Box chair has potential but it did not immerse me in a new kind of movie-watching experience.
I guess my quest for a fantastic movie chair has not yet finished.
To be continued…
If you are interested in the D-Box chair, check out my previous post about it:
7D Turbo Ride – My Alternate Obsession?
A week ago, I found that the closest theater that carried the hydraulically controlled D-Box types of chairs was in Bayonne, New Jersey. This location is more than an hour drive from me. I was not happy about the long drive just to check on a unique kind of chair. I then discovered that the only movie being shown there (with the use of the chair) was Suicide Squad. The reviews have not been that good for this flick so I decided to give a closer theater (and type of seat) a try.
At the Palisades Mall, there is not one but two showplaces where you can experience what is called the 7D Turbo Ride. The first one I visited was on the second floor of the expansive mall.
There were eight different features available which were no more than five-minutes long. I settled on Panic House because the attendant said this was the scariest. I picked up my 3-D glasses and was escorted into a theater that held only five seats. After a minor feeling of claustrophobia, I chose the center seat, which was fairly comfortable. I was then given instructions by the staff on what to expect and I was even asked to wear the attached seatbelt. Was the chair and I about to take off?
Overall, the hydraulics greatly added to walk through the haunted house and at times, I really felt as though I was moving forward. The entire row of seats moved in unison but I soon figured that sitting in one of the end seats would have provided a bumpier ride. The Panic Room had a few “Watch out, it’s jumping out of the wall” moments but overall I was not impressed with the combined effect of the chair and screen 3-D. Considering the $15.00 charge, I’d have to give this “ride” 3 out of 5 stars.
Once I landed, I was curious to find out why there were two of these types of theaters in the same mall. I walked up to the fourth floor in order to see the other version.
This time I choose the feature called Tomb of the Pharaoh. I was happy to hear that this movie would be about seven minutes long. Again, I was the only one in the theater. Again, the place was set up for small groups (seven persons at the most).
Once in the room, my first big problem was the seats. The chair-seat was extremely close to the floor. I had to lower myself to the floor in order to sit down on their special chair. There was no need for a seatbelt. As I sat with my legs outstretched, I could not figure out why the seats were configured so differently as compared to the previous room.
The second problem was that there was an issue with the 3-D effect coming from the projector. The moving images are set up so that your right eye gets a separate image than the left eye and once combined, that’s what makes the 3-D effect. Half of the time, during the ride, the two images were not synchronized. Images that my right eye saw were getting stuck on the screen for ten seconds while my left eye saw continuous moving images. This kept happening all through the feature. To say the least, this became distracting and I was feeling continuously disoriented. After I climbed out of my chair, I told the attendant that I did not enjoy the movie and what my issues were. He offered to give me a full refund, which made me feel a bit better. Of course I accepted it.
If the groups you intend to take to the 7D Turbo Rides are children or teenagers looking for a laugh, these presentations might be good for a short and scary thrill. The majority of moviegoers would only feel teased and then dissatisfied because of the shortness of the features. In other words, I guess I will be taking that ride to Bayonne, New Jersey to check out the D-Box chairs. Hopefully, seeing a full-length movie with a hydraulic chair will be a more fulfilling experience.
To be continued…
D-Box - My Obsession is Almost Complete.
Let me simply say that I do not impress easily. It took about twenty years to get it right and its time has finally come.
Ever since the advent of the VHS and Betamax videocassette players (remember those?), moviegoers have been slowly drifting out of movie theaters and into the privacy of their homes. Complex surround sound and even 3-D has certainly added to the enjoyment of the home-theater experience but what's next? Seems like replicating the theater experience at home will always be close behind if you are just a little patient but I think not this time.
The simple red chair that you see here is revolutionizing the movie industry and bringing thrill seekers out of their homes in droves. What better way to enjoy a 3-D movie than with a 4-D chair, which will envelop and move you to the action, which is surrounding you. Can you imagine the speed and the thrill of race-car movies? Can you imagine how your skin will crawl as you are watching a 3-D horror movie sequence and you are suddenly throw into the action? I can. Presently this reality is available in more than 50 theaters across the nation and the number is growing.
I love my larger than life LCD television and my powerful sound system but they will soon not be complete without the chair. There's not much chance to realistically own one of these chairs at home any time soon so if you want the experience you must go to the theater.
Take a look at this three-minute video if you have any doubts that you are seeing the future. After all, why do you think they call them "movies."
All that's left now is an actual review of D-Box at the theater. I'll volunteer to take the risk and see you next week.
To be continued...
Okay, I will admit it. I've been obsessed with movies all of my life. I desperately enjoy the big screen, the sound effects and the feeling that for a short while, I can lose myself in the fantasy flickering in front of me. Little did I know that on a lazy Saturday morning, I would be pulled in a new direction.
It was August 26, 1995 and I sat watching some geeky technical show. The commentator spoke about a place in Ledyard, Connecticut, which is the home of the Foxwoods Casino. Within this structure was constructed an amusement center called Cinetroplis. He explained that inside was a theater with a 360-degree screen, which could totally immerse you in the movie. But what interested me the most was the movie seats that would move and bump with the action on the screen. By the time the television spot for the attraction had ended, I was hooked.
I mapped out this area and found that it was only 2 1/2 hours away from the Bronx. The wife thought I was nuts because of the sudden need I had to visit Connecticut but I stressed on how much fun the kids would have in a place like this (I was kind of referring to myself also when I said "kids" but I think she knew that). I figured the best way to enjoy this extravaganza was to drive up there and stay at a hotel for a few days. Yes, I felt like it would be that much fun. Sort of like a mini-Disney World.
As we drove up to the casino entrance, I was certain that we would soon begin days of an innovative movie-going experience. It was difficult for me not to jump out of the car but I calmed myself long enough for us to park. Once inside the casino, there seemed to be an awful lot of gambling machines and a lot of people spending money unnecessarily. Didn't they know where the "real" fun was? Obviously not.
As we got to the section called Cinetropolis, I was a little disappointed that the "amusement park" was not bigger.
As we got to the section called Cinetropolis, I was a little disappointed that the "amusement park" was not bigger. We moved directly to the enclosed theater and climbed into the specially made seats. Through a series of hydraulically controlled programmed maneuvers, the chair bobbed and weaved with the actions on the screen. Yes, the motion seats were exciting but the entire movie feature could not have been more than ten minutes long. After the show, we found the one or two other attractions in the immediate area. Some interactive virtual reality games (games that use computer imagery to create artificial environments) but nothing to write home about. What I discovered was that after about one hour, we had gone through all of the attractions in the place. Dizzy Dad had to agree with the rest of the family. I too was bored. We returned to the hotel, refunded our money for the other two days and found our way back home.
Don't get me wrong. I really liked the motion chairs but the most exciting part of the experience wound up being the anticipation I felt about what I might find in Cinetropolis. Seems that the IWERKS company had invested mega bucks in putting the center together but then found it was a great deal of trouble to keep up with the dream that they had envisioned with only the 1990's electronics. This place was ahead of its time and could not draw the interests of the public. The Foxwoods Cinetropolis IWERKS Theater closed down by 2002, as did it's sister complex in Japan.
This now brings me to my new obsession. It seems that the experience of Cinetropolis has finally come of age.
To be continued....
The greatest happiness you can feel is when you share with someone you love.