Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Look Back At Star Trek Attractions With Rare Artwork

The new Star Trek movie "Into Darkness" is working pretty well at the box office - with already more than $260 Million, i've already told you all the good things i think about it and how entertaining it can be. So may be it is the right time for an artwork article about the Star Trek attraction concepts developped some years ago by Landmark, and the article also include rare renderings!

I will begin by what was probably the most incredible idea for a Star Trek theme park/attraction concept with the rendering above. As you can see this incredible concept envisioned a REAL SIZE Enterprise, and we all know how huge is supposed to be the Enterprise! Inside, guests would have found themed Star Trek attractions. Please double-click on the image to see the artwork in high-resolution as it is a big WOW!

This amazing project unfortunately not realised have a story. Years ago the Las Vegas Down Town hotels association, aware that the new Strip's hotels were getting most of the visitors, wanted to create a unique attraction to be located in down town Las Vegas. Different companies created concepts, including Landmark with this amazing Star Trek concept, but, although they loved Landmark's idea their final choice went to the Fremont Street Experience.

When i saw that incredible rendering i thought that the biggest problem may have been the architecture engineering - after all the Enterprise is design for outerspace, not for Earth gravity. The front dome and the wings may have been an engineering problem, but it seems that, no, that was not the problem. An estimated cost around $200 M (at that time) was reasonable - specially considering the size, and all we can wish to this amazing project is to exist one day as it will be the "ultimate" Trekkie dream, finally existing for real.

The next rendering below shows a "night" scene of the same concept.

Now, as we know, another Star Trek attraction was finally built in Las Vegas. Unfortunately closed recently, the Star Trek Experience was incredibly successful at its opening - it was another Trekkie-wet-dream-come-true and i have many renderings of it for you today.

The Las Vegas Star Trek Experience attraction opened in January 1998 at the Las Vegas Hilton and closed in September 2008. When it opened the main attraction was a simulator ride called The Klingon Encounter. The pavilion underwent one major renovation in 2004 which added the Borg Invasion 4-D attraction, which used state-of-the-art amusement technology where guests experienced an encounter with the Borg. The artwork below released for the press before the opening in 1998 focus only on the first version of Star Trek Experience.

Above and below two beautiful renderings showing the entrance of Las Vegas Star Trek Experience.

After purchasing a ticket, which allowed the guest to board the attractions an unlimited amount of times that day, one walked through a museum that included numerous items from Star Trek history - top of the rendering below. It also featured several video display devices and a timeline of Star Trek events. Later, there were displays for each of the major alien races, which included the Borg, Klingons, and Ferengi. The last section of the museum was a hallway that served as the attraction queues. The left side was for the Borg Invasion 4-D, and the right side was for Klingon Encounter. Because the Borg ride held about twice as many people, that line moved more quickly (each show lasted about 18 minutes). The Klingon Encounter held 27 people while the Borg Invasion 4-D held 48 people. Each show was constructed so that those "in the back" for the first part of the show would, in turn, likely end up in the front for the second half of either show.

After the attraction guests could enjoyed the merchandise shop and especially the Quark's Bar that you can see on the rendering below.

The Klingon encounter attraction was the one at the opening. Initially, the visitors entered first a small room with a depiction of "outer space". A small television in the upper right corner of the room displayed scenes from several Star Trek movies.

The group then entered a smaller, dimly lit waiting area of a traditional simulator ride. Visitors lined up in rows in front of doors, as hosts direct their attention to the screens above for a safety demo for the shuttlecraft simulator ride. A few moments into the film, the televisions flickered, malfunctioned, and the lights went out. A variety of loud noises accompanied by hundreds of small light flashes that visually simulate the "transporter effect," along with the transporter sound effect and a rush of cold air (which, according to backstage tour guides, was an unintentional but appreciated effect caused by a false room being raised into the ceiling). When the lights returned, the walls and floor and ceiling have apparently disappeared and you were on a transporter pad (a room much larger than you were previously standing, without the doors you were ready to walk through!). You are now aboard the USS Enterprise-D, transporter room as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

On the transporter pad, a uniformed Starfleet officer asked for the leaders of the group and directed them away for instruction. It was explained that the visitors were beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise to "what you would call the future" and the group is then led to the bridge.

The group stood on the rear between the science stations and the tactical station. There were various busy crewmembers on the bridge, and they contact Commander Riker, who promptly appears on the main viewscreen. Riker explained that Captain Picard disappeared the moment the group beamed aboard the Enterprise and thus one member of the group must be Picard's ancestor. A nefarious rogue Klingon Commander named Korath used a hidden time-rift to abduct Picard's ancestor and erase him from the timeline. Starfleet intelligence, having learned of the plan, dispatched the Enterprise to intercept the Klingon's transporter beam and rescue the entire group. Riker directs the group to board a shuttlecraft to go escape the temporal rift, and return all guests to their original time.

While the group was in the turbolift, the Klingons attack the Enterprise and the turbolift enters a free fall. There are several jolts on the turbolift during the attack. Finally, the group arrives in the Grand Corridor and at the shuttle bay deck.
Below, a rendering of the Grand Corridor.

The group boarded the shuttlecraft. The shuttle ride began with a battle between the Enterprise and a few Klingon vessels...

Then, the shuttle went into warp and was then instructed to find and destroy a cloaking generator on the planet's surface. There were several dogfights and visual effects during this time.

The shuttle then returned through the temporal rift to present-day Las Vegas (although filmed almost 10 years ago, things as the Sands Hotel tower, a sign promoting Siegfried & Roy, might lead one to believe the shuttle returned prior to their abduction). Unfortunately a Klingon ship followed, however Enterprise saved the shuttle at the last minute. The 'real' shuttle landed at the Las Vegas Hilton right next to the "motion simulators" shuttles the visitors were originally waiting to enter when they were "beamed off" at the start of the story. Before the crew of the Enterprise leaves, Captain Picard thanks the crew for "restoring his existence." He says, "While only one of you is my ancestor, each of you hold that same opportunity for the future. Guard it well."

Typically a custodian led the group to an elevator and then out to the Deep Space Nine Promenade and Quark's Bar.

A new attraction - Borg Encounter - was added in 2004, and you'll find more details about it on the Wikipedia page from where most of the description text of this article is coming from.

Another great idea of Star Trek Experience was the theming of the casino - we're in Las Vegas, let's not forget it...It was originally themed as if it was an outer space casino and through the window bays one could see views of outer space supposed to give the feeling that the casino was a kind of space station. Unfortunately after some years they canceled these rear-projections effect and when i visited the attraction five years ago it was not there any more.

I remember that I loved this Star Trek Experience, the teleportation room, the Enterprise bridge, the grand corridor, all this was wonderfully done, and i was sad to hear its closure in September 2008...but...good news! as on February 27, 2009, CBS confirmed that Star Trek: The Experience will be moving to its new home in new Neonopolis Mall downtown Las Vegas. The original "trekkie" hope was to have it open by May 8 for the launch of the Star Trek movie, but the project is not expected to be completed until 2010.

However, the next rare rendering shows a scene concept that was not realised, and it looks as they were considering a dinner theater with the star trek theme. Gary goddard, one of the foundators of Landmark is known for his themed dinner theater projects.

We'll have a look now to other preliminary artwork, like this one of the "Starfleet Shuttle area" showing the guests entrance in a shuttle simulator...

Or this next one showing a "Starfleet Bar Area"...

And also these two, "Restaurant Study", for Star Trek Experience.

This next one is a study for a "Starfleet store area".

If we go back in time, this next rendering shows another rare concept, probably for a Paramount Park - you can see the Star Trek attraction entrance in the back.

I hope you enjoyed this star Trek attractions artwork article, and again if you've not watched it yet, go see the new movie, all critics and feedback are very good about it!

Many thanks to Tony Christopher, Gary Goddard, Eric Wong who kindly provided the high-res files you saw in this article.

Artwork: copyright Landmark, Landmark entertainment, Star Trek is copyright Paramount

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