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2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Universal Studios Hollywood's Terminator 2: 3D

By Robert Niles
Published: March 4, 2010 at 11:57 AM
Theme Park Insider readers have voted Universal Studios Hollywood's Terminator 2: 3D as the third seed in the Best Movie or Animated Show bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament.

Universal Studios Hollywood's Terminator 2: 3D

Subtitled, "Battle Across Time," T2:3D is a production of director James Cameron's studio, Lightstorm Entertainment. Cameron, the director of "Avatar" and "Titantic," as well as the Terminator films, co-wrote and co-directed this attraction, which the New York Times called the most expensive film every made on a cost per-minute basis when it debuted at Universal Studios Florida in 1996.

Terminator stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick reprise their roles in the film, which arrived at Universal Studios Hollywood in 1999. (It also plays at Universal Studios in Japan, but isn't on the line-up in Singapore.)

First released between the theatrical films T2: Judgment Day and T3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator 2: 3D plays in two parts. You're on a tour of Cyberdyne Systems, where the company's PR director introduces a promotional video in the pre-show's "reception area." But Sarah and John Connor interrupt, to let you know that they're, well, about to blow up the building so maybe you'd better high-tail it out of there.

The Cyberdyne flack pooh-poohs the disruption and ushers you into the theater for the main show, presented in 3D. Needless to say, a series of increasingly complex Terminators show up, the Connors attack and lots of stuff gets blown up.

The attraction blurs the line between movie and live show, with its limited use of live actors. But the bulk of the narrative, as well as the effects and thrills, come from the movie, so that's why you'll find Terminator 2: 3D in this category. Each version of the show is the same, but the Hollywood version earned a higher reader rating on the site, earning it the bid. (Personally, I think Hollywood has a cooler-looking building exterior.)

What do you think of Terminator 2: 3D? Please share your thoughts, in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on March 4, 2010 at 12:52 PM
Its good, if not even.......SUPER!
From Robert Niles on March 4, 2010 at 3:17 PM
I loved this show... until Schwarzenegger got elected governor, leaving me now unable to watch it without thinking of a crappy governor instead of The Terminator.
From Sylvain Comeau on March 4, 2010 at 3:38 PM
I really enjoy this show, including the satirical pre-show, but Mickey's PhilharMagic owns this category. Gotta love the T-1,000,000, though. The 3D effects still stand the test of time.
From Dan Babbitt on March 4, 2010 at 4:21 PM
I think I can predict the seeds number 1 and 2!
From Pyra Dong on March 4, 2010 at 5:19 PM
I think this is the show that really made me want to be a theme park actor-- the PR lady at the show's beginning is just soooooooo stereotypical PR (smiley, negative-ignorant, sing-songy, annoying, robotlike) that I really wanted to do her job.
From Robert Niles on March 4, 2010 at 5:33 PM
Gotta agree about the actors playing the PR role. As is typical with Universal theme parks, the actors consistently are excellent. So much so that I thought for a few moments about moving this into the live show category. But then I came to my senses and realized that as good as the actors are, the movie just blows away everything else.
From Manny Barron on March 4, 2010 at 5:41 PM
We have a winner!! This is the best attraction in this category hands down. I mean PhilharMagic is wonderful but T2:3-D has it all. The actors from the original movie all reprise their roles which is great and the action is top notch. It's like being immersed in a blockbuster film. Everything from the pre show to the ending is just so well done.
From Joshua Counsil on March 4, 2010 at 6:05 PM
Still blows me away. When all the effects are working, this is 10-Perfection. I still can't figure out how they seamlessly ride that bike through the screen.

And yes, the PR lady is brilliant, possibly the best theme park persona. I love her demise, though that seems to be the one portion where the actresses fail. The very first time I saw this, the actress did a great job, squirming and shaking for her dear life. It was pretty violent for a theme park attraction, reminiscent of some of the greater choking scenes (think Luca Brasi, or half the deaths in The Sopranos). Since then, however, every PR character has just sort of collapsed after being choked for less than five seconds. I want someone who gives an all-out death scene!

Nothing beats sitting in the front and being engulfed in fog after the T-1M explodes. What a rush.

From Rhys Evans on March 4, 2010 at 7:26 PM
I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I say, that Robert didn't introduce this darned good show by writing: "You're ushered into the lobby of CyberDyne Systems, you see an amazing prediction of future technologies, and then, say it with me now... something goes terribly wrong!"
From Eric Malone on March 4, 2010 at 7:35 PM
Mostly 'cause something doesn't really go 'wrong', per say. The T-models that are being displayed don't mess up, we know Sarah and John are liable to show up.. if anything, something goes horribly right. ;)
From James Koehl on March 4, 2010 at 8:01 PM
Perhaps if I had seen the movies (sorry, but I don't get out much) I would have enjoyed it more. I found it entertaining, but I honestly doubt I would go back to see it unless I was with someone who hadn't seen it before. It was well done, but the best? Not IMHO.
From James Rao on March 4, 2010 at 8:07 PM
Don't let it get you down, Robert. It's not like California was running all that smoothly before Schwarzenegger got involved. Just try to remember him when he was just a bad actor and forget about the bad politics.

As for the show, I think it is still one of the best theme park attractions running. It is a credit to Universal's "Imagineers" and James Cameron's creative vision that this attraction is still relevant. Not bad for a series (Terminator) that began with a shoe-string budget and a newbie director.

BTW, I am convinced that Cameron sold his soul to the Devil as there is no other explanation for his unparalleled success. Don't get me wrong, he makes high quality movies and I am not too proud to admit I think AVATAR is the STAR WARS of this generation, but come on, his bank account is bigger than the combined gross income of every registered TPI user from California to Florida! Except Robert's of course... that fella is loaded... and not just with Ketel One. ;)

From Rob P on March 5, 2010 at 2:33 AM
I must have seen this show at least ten times over the years and it's still a favourite.

I make no secret on TPI that I have a divided loyalty between the new and the old. Whilst I like change and development I am also distinctly nostalgic and often miss things that have been removed as part of that development.

Terminator 2:3D is a perfect example. Part of me would like to see a few updates to freshen up the show for those of us who have become familiar with it. The other part of me doesn't want to lose the existing show.

The pre-theatre entertainment is second to none. The Cyberdine PR girl is well scripted and always well performed ( when we've been there anyway ). The stunts and effects are breathtaking. And the whole show is spectacularly good.

I think T2;3D will probably win this category.

I'm beginning to wish that Robert considers the addition of a " Lifetime Achievement Award" to the proceedings so that at least one of the older attractions doesn't miss out.

From webster patton on March 5, 2010 at 5:36 PM
I have not been to USH for a couple of months but when I do go, Terminator is my favorite attraction, bar none! Last summer I went and was horrified at the sight of an extremely stained center screen and very ragged edges around the usually invisible, in-screen, "portal" doors. I wrote a detailed and respectful letter to USH indicating that the screen's condition and the doors obviousness severely distracted from the attractions ability to immerse the audience seamlessly into this attractions plotline. The screen lookid like someone had sprayed grape juice over about 1/4 of the screens surface. Really awful. I received a letter back saying that they would look into it. I returned last November and it was worse than before! The doors now just flapped and the center screen had warp/wrinkles in addition to the stains, which were now worse. Maybe the staining is a residual of the fog effects, but I don't know for sure. The two supporting screens looked beautiful though. I have not been back since then and hope the problem has, by now, been corrected. I love this attraction and am still riding the high I felt when I first saw it in person. This attraction ROCKS! At least when it's properly maintained.

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