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Yesterday was my birthday and I learned something new. I usually love learning something new. Yesterday’s lesson—not so much. Have you heard of 4DX? Neither had I. Until yesterday.

But let me set this up. I have a few modest birthday traditions. I try not to work on my birthday. I like to dress up, get my hair done or try new makeup, and go out to a movie or Broadway show. I always enjoy a lovely dinner at a fancy restaurant. Since I left the corporate treadmill to write novels, it’s even more fun to skip the ponytail and sweatpants, dress up a little and get out in the world.

I’ve also noticed that Monday birthdays are usually disastrous. I hate Monday birthdays. My thirtieth was a Monday and everything went wrong. I ended up passed out on the bed wearing tights, a hat and a tie and no memory of how I got there. 2016 is a leap year and my birthday should have been on a Monday, but skipped to Tuesday. I thought I was safe.

imagesWe chose a lovely restaurant, but had to have an early reservation. I decided to see a movie “Captain America: Civil War” alone, because my husband had bronchitis and isn’t a fan of superhero movies. His loss. The 2:30 show in 3D at a complex 10 minutes from the restaurant was perfect. Everything was falling into place.

I should have known.

Before leaving the house for the movie, I primped and coiffed. Best midi-dress with pearls and moderately high-heeled boots? Check. Favorite black jacket with stunning bronze dragon broach and replica Roman coin bracelet? Check. Hair carefully fluffed, curled, and sprayed? Check. I packed my purse with the essentials: wallet, Metrocard, e-reader, key; grabbed an umbrella and set out for the subway.

I arrived at the cinema with plenty of time and went to a self-serve kiosk for a ticket. I tapped the screen for the 2:30 show of “Captain America: Civil War” and it told me the ticket price: $28.50.

What the…?

New York movie prices are high and 3D costs a premium, but I didn’t expect to pay more $16. I checked to make sure I hadn’t ordered two tickets. Nope. One ticket. IMAX? Nope. Something called 4DX. Never heard of it.

I dithered. It was my birthday. I wanted to see the movie and I didn’t have any alternatives for the several hours before our dinner reservation. I went to the next screen. “Pick a seat from the seating chart.”

What the…?

I had been to this complex many times and they had never had assigned seating. Another reason for the unreasonable price? I looked at the chart. Only four other seats had been claimed. Did alarm bells ring? Nope. It was Tuesday afternoon. I expected a low turnout, but only five people? I chose a seat, swiped my credit card, retrieved my ticket and receipt, and went up the escalator.

Popcorn in hand, I entered a smallish theater filled with large padded seats. Yay! I loved theaters with roomy padded seats that reclined with foot rests; a heavenly way to watch a show. I found my assigned seat in the middle of a row, a perfect distance from the screen and settled in.

What the…?

The seats didn’t recline. Then why all the cabling under the seats? Still clueless, I watched the endless parade of commercials and promos. Then something different came on.

“Where are you? You’re in the movie with 4DX!”

A car chase. My seat heaves, tilts, and bucks as the car screeches through streets. Popcorn flies all over my dress. Luckily it wasn’t buttered. I clutch my pearls.

Shots fired. Lights strobe and puffs of air blow my hair straight up and back. I try to pat it back in place and thank my lucky stars, I’m not epileptic.

The car hits a fire hydrant. Mist blasts into the air and drips on me. My beautiful hair! It’s melting….melting. Do I open my umbrella?

So this 4DX. When the promo is over, there are nervous giggles from the other viewers. Did they all know what was going to happen? Was I the only naïf?

The movie starts. I put on my 3-D glasses. It opens with a calm scene that lasts about three minutes, then all hell breaks loose. My seat bucks like a mechanical bull. When Captain America gets hit, my seat punches me in the kidneys. When Black Widow goes down an elevator, the seat shudders and vibrates, landing with a thud. When Hawkeye looses his deadly arrows, my hair flies in all directions. When Iron Man visits a rainy prison, I have to wipe the moisture off my glasses and hope my hair spray holds.

The movie is two and a half hours. Most of it action.

4DX. Yay! I’m in the movie being beaten, shot at, and rained on. Whoever thought that would be fun should be strapped to a 4DX seat and forced to watch all the Furious movies.

So what did I get for $28.50 besides wet hair, whiplash, and blood in my urine? A cracking good birthday story.

4DX coming to a theater near you. Check it out! Or not.

Oh, and I think I liked the movie, but will have to watch it again without all the distractions to make sure.

 

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