by William Goss
In the wake of 3D and Smell-O-Vision, theater owners are looking for the next gimmick to spring on moviegoers, and after being made available in other markets, D-Box technology has finally landed in Orlando -- specifically, at the Premiere Cinemas Fashion Square -- to coincide with last week's opening of the blandly bombastic I Am Number Four.
It's a remarkably smooth and nuanced experience when compared to the reliably jerky simulators of local attractions, always in sync with the on-screen action, equally prone to sudden (but not violent) jolts as bad guys tumble down tree branches and smooth rolls when the good guys decide to take a swim.
Occasionally, it's hard to believe that the film was even made for normal viewing (gratuitous jet-ski flips!), but then the usual second-act lulls occur and it's easy to grow impatient for the inevitable third-act back massage to kick in. Going over the list of previously "motion-enhanced" titles, it's not hard to imagine getting more bang for one's buck while watching, say, 2012 or Tron: Legacy instead. All signs point to Battle: Los Angeles being the title to follow up Number Four, and I can only presume that it will deliver butt-rumbling mayhem in spades.
But at what cost, literally? The D-Box experience costs an additional $8 to any ticket -- which is to say, double the normal price for admission -- while D-Box plus 3-D (a combo probably less distracting than it seems) sees another $3 getting tacked on, making a night out at the movies a rather pricey proposition. It's a cushy little novelty, but by no means a vital addition to the modern moviegoing experience. Besides, you can always save up your pennies and enjoy the same experience from home.
(Or in a Brookstone.)