Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I think it's fair to say that any theme park fan considers the Spider-Man Ride at Islands of Adventure one of the best rides in the world. For many, it's even THE best ride in the world. Now, how good
news would it be if a totally NEW ride using the same technology was coming anytime soon? That would be a great news, wouldn't it? Well, if all that I've been told is true, this new ride should open at Universal Singapore in 2011 and it will be the long-awaited Transformers ride.
Universal Singapore is opening early next year, probably in February or March, but as is often the case when Disney or Universal opens a new theme park, they keep one big E-Ticket to open one or two years after the main opening, just to re-boost the new park. In the case of Universal Singapore it will be the totally new Transformers ride in Sci-Fi City land. And one year later, in 2012, the Transformers ride will open in Universal Hollywood in the former Backdraft building.
All the news I have about it from my good sources seems to confirm that the Transformers ride will use the same technology as the Spider-Man ride at IOA i.e a vehicle mounted on a simulation platform moving in real decor with huge rear projection and all in 3D. The first Spider-Man ride was designed for Universal by Landmark Entertainment, but apparently it seems that this time the creative guys at Universal are designing the Transformers ride by themselves. They will create brand new software for the ride or they will "adapt" the Spider-Man program to the Transformers ride. Also, the new ride will benefit from enhancement in high definition 3D technology.
It's always better to wait for confirmation, but the fact is that using the Spider-Man technology on a Transformers ride is probably the best choice for Universal. Transformers' robots would be difficult to create as Audio-Animatronics, especially when they transform themselves, and a 3D projection would be definitely the easiest way to resolve the problem with a spectacular, and even frightening, result. Just think about one of these robotics arms popping out of the screen, or a rocket launched by one of them as we can see in the rendering above... Which doesn't mean that no Transformers robot can't be expected as AAs. They could do it more easily as long as the robot is not transforming itself and it seems that the ride will also feature two-story tall robots going at it all around you...
Another question is: will they add new effects that were not included, technically speaking, in the Spider-Man ride? Well, it now may be important to remember that the Transformers ride will be build at Universal Hollywood in the former Backdraft building....which, as everybody knows, was a real "pyrotechnic" attraction. Which means that all the gas installation that would be needed to create fire and flames effect are already there - and God knows that there was really a LOT of fire in the Backdraft attraction! So, can we expect pyrotechnic effects in the future Transformers ride? Although it's my own pure speculation, i think we can bet on this, even if it is just for the pleasure. Let's say that there will be a real logic for Universal to recycle their gas installation to add spectacular effects in this new ride.
Above: A marketing picture for the Backdraft attraction.
You may also ask if the Disney deal with Marvel is responsible of not building a Spider-Man ride at Universal Singapore. Frankly, I don't think there is a correlation with the Disney-Marvel deal, as the choice of doing a Transformers attraction was done before they signed it. But Marvel had also envisioned to build their own Marvel theme park in Dubai as it was announced in March 2007. I'm not sure the project is still going on but they were supposed to build attraction on a full library of Super Heroes - including Spider-Man, Iron Man, The X-Men, Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer. And Dubai is not that far from Singapore, so maybe it was a problem for Universal to get the rights to build the Spider-Man ride in Singapore...which eventually may have lead them to design a brand new attraction using the same technology...
The Spider-Man ride exists only at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan, and if, just like me, you were wondering why it was not envisioned for Universal Singapore, now you have the answer. Instead of the Spider-Man ride, they will have the Transformers ride with the same technology, and, let's hope, the same pleasure for the guests.
One last word: Universal said some months ago that Michael Bay was involved in the making of this Tansformers ride, and, well, ooops, it seems that Bay had yet to approve the concept and this kind of false announcement really infuriated him as he said on his web site last year: “They had me in a press release saying I supported it – but Universal has a long way to go in my mind. I don’t support it – I’m not involved and not sure the story of the ride works, and I know Optimus is not going to just show up to be directed by some new people that have never worked with him. I hate when people bullsh*t a quote from me that I never said. I’ll keep you informed. Maybe the guy making the rides at Universal will direct Transformers 3?“
They've probably resolved the problem with Michael Bay by now, and that shouldn't stop this awaited ride to open in Singapore in 2011. Is Disney and more going to do a special report when it opens? You bet I will!
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Many thanks to Nate Walz for the editing of this article.
Pictures: copyright Universal Studios