Onward 4DX Review

Onward 4DX

Onward is Pixar’s latest animated offering, and it opens in theaters this weekend. It’s set in a fantasy world where magic no longer exists thanks to the rise of technology. Barley Lightfoot and his little brother Ian are elves, and they go on an adventure to try to bring their deceased father back to life for one day. The film is a wild ride, and one of the main stars is Guinevere, the unicorn van belonging to Barley. Because of that, 4DX truly becomes an immersive cinematic experience with all the bumps and movements, and we were able to check it out at  Regal LA Live & 4DX.

What’s 4DX? To give moviegoers the ultimate theatrical experience, the format utilizes motion seats and environmental effects like water, light, and wind. Anytime vehicles are a major component of a 4DX film, you know you’re in for a crazy excursion, and Onward does not disappoint.

Guinevere the van is a whole other character in the film, and the Lightfoot brothers use it to travel across the land in search of the Phoenix Gem. (They need that to bring their dad back to life for one day.) We felt the bumps and swerves and the wind against our faces and feet as the van speeds on the freeway, dirt roads, and mountains. The ride is amplified with hectic action taking place inside the van as the brothers fend off angry biker fairies. There are also cop car chases and crashes to round out the rest of the immersive vehicle experience.

Onward - Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, and Octavia Spencer

Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

In addition, the protagonists use magic to create a makeshift boat out of snacks, and the motion seat was able to emulate what it’s like to be on a floating device by swaying us slowly back and forth. In our experience, I could hear the motor clicking as it hits the center during the quiet boat scene. On the plus side, I didn’t hear any distractions for the rest of the film. (Your mileage may vary.)

The environmental effects didn’t stand out as much this time around. The most prominent one was the use of water, and if that’s not your thing, you have the option of turning it off. The off button is also useful for those who wear glasses, and I’m one of them. The walls would be lit up with lights reflecting to emulate certain effects, and it’s an added bonus to feeling like the weather is out of your control.

Onward - Chris Pratt and Tom Holland

Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

The seats also feature motors that hit your back. They aren’t painful, but you do feel it whenever the characters get hit in the back, or if somebody is injured. Every time my back gets hits through the feedback, I’m always surprised. Imagine somebody sitting behind you and pushing your seat with their feet, and you’ll have an idea of what it feels like.

Onward in 4DX was a crazy and wild ride. The seats moved and shook along as if we’re actually inside Guinevere with the Lightfoot brothers, with water and force feedback giving us another element of immersion. Since this is a Pixar film, there are a lot of fantastical action sequences, making it very fitting for 4DX.

Onward is available across the nation in 4DX, I want to point out that not all 4DX are created equal. Some theaters will have a better setup with improved models. For us, we experienced the format at Regal LA Live & 4DX, and the seats are superb since it doesn’t make us feel like we’re about to slide off the seats during hectic moments.

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