I’ve been wanting to check out the new theater in Atascadero and I got a chance last night. I was specifically looking forward trying the “D-Box” which is a special seat that has motion to go along with the movie. I like to experience the different movie gimmicks. 3D is one but there have been a couple other ones over the years. In the early 80’s, the movie “Midway” advertised that you can feel the war (don’t recall the marketing term they used for the sound). I remember they had these enormous speakers in the theater aisles that shook the entire place during the war scenes. I don’t think it was intended for multi-screen theaters as it shook the entire lobby and I’m sure the other movies too. But it was COOL! Then there was the scratch n’ sniff movie that I can’t recall the name of. They gave us a card and a number would flash on the screen and you were supposed to scratch that number on the card and sniff. So when I read that the new Atascadero theater was one of a few theaters in the country to have D-Box seats, I had to give it a try.
I went and saw the movie Hannah (I think they only have one movie showing with D-Box). When buying tickets, you choose what seat number(s) you want. It’s a whopping $8 extra if you wand a D-box seat so the total ticket price was $19 per person. With D-Box, you have to sit in the seat they assign because they only turn on D-box on the seats purchased. In the theater, there were 2 rows of D-Box seats (the first 2 rows in the back section, which is prime location). On the seat, you can adjust the intensity of the seat motion (one of 4 choices). I had mine turned all the way up. The previews showed but there was no motion. Finally Hannah started and there was a shooting scene at the beginning which kicked the seat into motion. I don’t know if maybe I’m no older than the target audience but I didn’t like D-Box much at all, ok…it sucked! It didn’t really add anything to the movie for me. and was more of a distraction. Yeah, there were some scenes when the motion synced up with something happening on the screen but the seat moved at odd times, like when the camera panned back, the seat back reclined. Made no sense to be moving the seat a lot of the time.
It doesn’t throw you around like those Star Tours rides at amusement parks but those rides are usually less than 10 minutes long. After sitting almost 2 hours in a D-Box seat, I could pretty much identify the set of different moves the chair made and all the difference is the sequence they were programmed to activate. I was wondering if it might be better with another type of movie but I doubt it. While I’m disappointed that D-box didn’t WOW me, I am going to save the $8 for the D-box upgrade. Actually $18 savings since I’m just going to wait until the movies come out on Redbox and I can watch the movie in my comfy chair for $1.