The Smell of Desperation - Welcome to 4DX

Rejoice comic book fans, Batman vs. Superman - Dawn of Justice gets released this month and, like most superhero movies these days, it's sure to make mad amounts of dough. After all, it has just about everything we look for in a film -- lots of testosterone heavy, adrenaline pumping fight scenes, special effects galore, plus two of the most iconic and beloved DC characters at the forefront and fanboy Zack Snyder at the helm. And, if that doesn't float your nerd boat or get your movie-going juices flowing appropriately it also has off the charts sex appeal in the form of Henry Caville, Gal Gadot, and Carla Gugino with the added bonus of Ben Affleck in that new badass, tank-like Batsuit, which is nearly worth the price of admission alone. Step off Clooney. Your codpiece ain't got nothing on Ben's giant midlife crisis costume. 

However, if you still don't think that all this Hollywood glitz and superhero glamor is up your alley, there are some new and innovative ways to entice your butt into the seats. Welcome to the 4DX experience my friends! Where you can pay twenty five bucks a pop to literally SMELL the desperation of the movie industry.

Don't get me wrong - I love movies, and as big as my home HD-TV is there's still a certain greatness involved with going to see things on "the big screen". The trailers! The surround sound! The scent of popcorn in the air! That annoying couple in front of you who will not shut the hell up no matter what the announcements say... It's all part of the experience. I can also choose 3D or 2D, IMAX or plain old Max, recliners or generic velvet clunkers. The sky's the limit. And now, for certain demographics, New York City included, that limit can include smell-o-vision, seat motion, air blasts, water blasts, rumblers, poppers, leg ticklers, neck ticklers and the ever popular back poker.  

Is it just me, or does this all sound like a really bad advertisement for an adult store? On sale this week -- neck ticklers, back pokers, and lumbar rumblers. Comes with free lube! Someone call Henry Caville! I'd like a hands on demonstration please... 

Seriously folks, call me a purist or a prude, but I don't really think I want to go to the theatre to get my back poked or my neck tickled. And I sure as shit don't want to shell out twenty five ducats to be blasted with water and then forced to smell Batman's all day fighting bad guys suit-sweat. Thanks, but no thanks movie makers. I'm good.  

Which begs the question --how do they even decide what bells, whistles, and pokers to use? Is there a focus group? Some sort of survey I can take? A Best Of list? Or are we simply at the mercy of a couple of suits over in Korea, pandering to the lowest common movie-going denominator? Will the film Creed include the appropriate Eau de Locker Room scent? Will the next Woody Allen film be rife with New York City Street Stench? Will my seat jerk every time Captain America gets punched in the shield, or do I have to wait for the epic boss battle at the end? Don't even get me started on the more adult themed fare because there are myriad of possibilities there that I don't even want to think about. Are we PG-ing this all the way, even if the movie isn't PG? Will a Judd Apatow release be handled differently than a Pixar venture? Do we ignore all the steamy sex in a Bond flick and just stick to the balls to the wall action? How do they know when and where to draw the line? I mean, when I go to Disney World and hop on Soarin' I'm secure in the fact that the most hard core thing they're going to do is spray some orange scented air freshener in my direction and then blow me with a gentle fan. Are we even attempting some realism here? Or are we half-assing it all the way? Cramming in as much titillating extras as possible without a shred of consideration for story line, genre, or plot? I have so many questions that I'm not even sure I want to know the answer to. In fact, I believe I've decided that I'd rather just use my own imagination - I want to be invested because the entire moviemaking process is working, not because someone told me it's time to be cold, or wet, or some jacked up combination of the two. Besides, anyone who knows me well, knows that I get nauseous just writing the word nauseous and that my sense of smell is my own personal useless superpower. I'd survive about twenty seconds if the scent pumped into the theatre was anything but men's cologne, clean laundry, or Christmas Pine. Clearly 4DX - NOT FOR ME! 

Plus, do we really need MORE REASONS for people to talk and complain out loud in the theatre? Do we actually need more running commentary? Because you can bet your rumbling ass that you're gonna hear a whole bunch of unsolicited jabber the first time Aunt Peg in row D gets a whiff of smoke, or hit in the face with a blast of frigid air. I can hear the domino effect coughing and griping already -- so much so that I'm actually preemptively annoyed typing this. See? I just pissed myself off! Not exactly a great start... 

Look, I realize that we're somewhat desperate for new ways to be entertained. I also realize that every great advance in technology started as a totally insane sounding idea. From 8 tracks, to albums, to wireless phones, to fax machines we've come a long way baby. And I'm definitely looking forward to much more immersive concepts like virtual reality to come to fruition. However, I don't think I want to get sprayed in the face with simulated monkey piss (see Night at the Museum 4DX reviews please) in the name of cinematic progress. Next movie night maybe I'll just pay my friends to come over with a bottle of air freshener and an oscillating fan, ask them to complain really loud every now and again about the temperature, while periodically poking me in the back with something. I don't know about you, but to me that seems infinitely more entertaining.