Sentosa 4D Magix

Just checked out Singapore’s first and South East Asia’s largest 4-dimensional theatre, Sentosa 4D Magix, on Sentosa Island of course, and was really blown away by the newest trickery in cinema.

I remember all those 3D glasses when they first came out and it was kinda cool to see depth into the screen. Then again you kinda could figure the technology out if you played around with a Viewmaster with its multiple picture diskettes. Then came films that never surpassed the quality of Friday the 13th: Part III so the spectacle kinda died. Then we had those cool hologrammes, which if you have seen one really didn’t capture the solidity of the object and seemed so static that you could always easily guess the light source.

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This gave you ideas about what Virtual reality could be like in the future, but it just seemed too distant if you weren’t hanging around in George Lucas’ living room. HDTV didn’t really up the ante very much although again when you saw those enormous screens they released simultaneously, with their videos of young ladies holding flowers in bikinis at the beach it seemed like it could be cool on some level.

Yet obscene prices, finding content that you could enjoy on your HDTV before your LED blew out, and hysterical advertisements that tried to simulate HDTV on your ordinary TV meant it would still be awhile before the Tivolution.

It seems we always take two steps back from applications for every great technical leap, and the masses only get to sample what’s really possible in the most general way. So it goes with the new 4D Magix you can check out while you are at Sentosa Island.

It is just as advertised. “A full spectrum digital surround soundtrack and computer synchronised special effects motion seats, together with special live environmental effects, allows the audience to fully engage with incredibly lifelike images that jump off the giant screen, transforming a normal movie into something truly spectacular.”

And by that they mean the objects on the screen really jump right out at your face and each person in the audience gets the sensation that they could reach out and touch the objects right in front of them. The movement of the seats was not necessarily synchronised properly to the movements and since you are not really the main character in the film seemed a bit showy rather than an enhancement to the little simple pirate tale they weaved these very special effects around.

And therein lies the crux of the problem of the digital tease. We never get the content to give context to the amazing potential of the medium. The story is so simplistic and such a slave to the technological fantasy of the designers that there’s no emotional investment. This is fine for a family at Sentosa but when there are such possibilities it boggles the brain, and investments that falls into the tens of millions, why don’t they hire someone to write a proper screenplay to make it truly unforgettable?

In short the Sentosa 4D Magix may be a great way to wait out a short monsoon rain before heading off to the aquariums and beaches of the island, but like so many technological rollouts, it could be so much more memorable if the spiders and insects flying at your face were supported by a compelling story line. Of course its safe technology (as advertised) but why not use it to put an environmental message or even some kind of parable that even the kids could understand?

Another breathless technology that we can wonder if we will ever see used for real art. Marvel at the possibilities again at Sentosa 4D Magix. Built at a cost of S$3.5 million, this state-of-the-art theatre offers you a whole new generation of movie magic. Through the synchronisation of a full spectrum of visual effects, surround sound, individually-controlled motion seats and special “live” environmental effects such as water spray, all your senses will be fully engaged like never before!


For more information on Sentosa 4D Magix, visit: http://www.sentosa.com.sg/explore_sentosa/attractions/sentosa_4dmagix.html