Almost two years ago, the famous King Kong ride at Universal Studios Hollywood was lost in a backlot fire. After shedding many tears over the signature attraction, Universal announced the creation of a new King Kong attraction, which would use extensive 3D technology and be modeled after Peter Jackson's blockbuster 2005 film. Now, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the new ride is set to premiere this summer after more than a year of development. That's right, it won't be long now before a whole new generation of children wet their pants at the roar of the world's greatest ape.
According to the article, which comes our way via /Film, the ride is being billed as the "largest 3-D exhibit in the world" and will debut during peak tourist time. Here are some additional details on the ride.
If the new technology works as designed, park visitors will not only see Kong in three dimensions but also smell his banana breath, feel the gust of wind as he jumps over the guests and sense the ground quake when the ape engages aTyrannosaurus rex in a life-or-death battle. The Kong attraction will be one stop on the park's back lot studio tour ride.
During a recent preview of the technology, a dirty, battle-scarred Kong stared menacingly out from two 180-foot-long by 40-foot-tall screens that wrap around the trams that will carry visitors. In another scene, a 35-foot-tall T. rex stepped over the trams, turned to the audience and bared its massive teeth.
The new ape will resemble the Kong from the 2005 film, right down to the broken canine tooth and the scars over its right eye. Other creatures and scenes from the movie, including caves, giant bats and dinosaurs from Skull Island, will also appear on the four-story-tall screens.
When the attraction is complete, guests on the studio tour will board a tram that will enter a 200-foot-long soundstage, Johnson-Redrow said. Guests must don 3-D glasses for the 2 1/2 -minute attraction.
Inside the building, the tram will stop over a "tram-mover" system, powered by massive air bags that will lift, shake and drop the tram, giving guests the feeling of being jolted during the battle between Kong and the T. rex, she said.
The 180-foot-long screens will curve around the tram so that the 3-D images seem to surround the passengers. A system of fans, sprayers and other devices installed in the building will spew air, water and odors at park visitors to bring the images to life, she said.
I've never been to the Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park, but I have been to Universal Studios Orlando and I can say without reservation that the original King Kong ride was awesome. It really is too bad that they decided to scrap it and replace it with a ride from The Mummy. Being nine at the time, I was probably the perfect age for King Kong (old enough to not get too scared and young enough to not whine like a punk about how unrealistic it was). That being said, I'm not going to wax nostalgic and complain that this new-fangled 3D version won't live up to the original.
As a huge fan of Peter Jackson's King Kong, I actually think this new ride will be pretty cool. From the description, it sounds like it will be a totally immersive experience. In fact, the 3D technology being used on the ride comes from Weta Digital, whose stunning work on Avatar have helped propel that film to more than $2 billion in worldwide box office grosses. Given the scale of Jackson's film and the tremendous legacy of the King Kong franchise, I think using 3D is the right choice to reintroduce King Kong to park visitors.
What do you think? Does the new 3D King Kong ride sound like something you'd be interested in checking out?