The theatrical movie-watching experience has basically followed the same formula for over a century: you sit down, look up at a giant screen and watch a cinematic tale unfold with booming audio. 3D and IMAX have helped enhance the visual, but in recent years, a new motion picture technology called 4DX has been introduced that provides a more immersive experience through environmental effects. In Japan, 4DX has been put to good use for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as moviegoers have the choice of watching the movie through the light side or the dark side of the Force.
At 4DX screenings in Japan, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the theater provides both the light and dark versions at the same time. Through vibrations, seat tilting, wind, fog, strobe and other effects, different aspects of the action depicted in the movie are enhanced depending on whether you've chosen the light side or the dark side. The lightsaber effects also create "different reverb effects" for the two sides, and the atmosphere will differ during moments set on First Order ships and Resistance bases. According to THR, this idea was formulated when 4DX and Disney Japan were looking for a unique way to market The Last Jedi, the third of the "modern" Star Wars movies and ninth theatrical movie overall (10th if you include the animated Clone Wars movie). Although there are a few 4DX theaters peppered throughout the United States, currently there are no plans to bring the light side/dark side experience stateside.
Since the core Star Wars movies have always revolved around the never-ending struggle between the light and dark sides of the Force, it's fitting that Japanese 4DX theaters have taken advantage of this conflict and cleverly turned it into a cool way for folks looking for an extra special way to experience Star Wars: The Last Jedi. After all, 4DX tickets are more expensive then your average 2D or 3D ticket, so it's important that people are getting their money's worth, and from how the light side/dark screenings are described, it sounds like that's happening and then some. That being said, it sounds like opinions on which is the better version to enjoy are split right down the middle. The Last Jedi has so far made over $55 million in Japan, while The Force Awakens finished its run in the country with a little under $100 million.
You can find out what we here at CinemaBlend thought of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by reading our review and To 3D guide. This trilogy will conclude when Episode IX is released on December 20, 2019, but before then, Disney and Lucasfilm will turn back the clock and explore Han Solo's origins in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which hits theaters on May 25.