Four reasons for 2012 to be the last year for Universal's Terminator 2: 3D
Written by Robert NilesWe've known for some time now that Terminator 2: 3D's days are numbered at Universal Studios Hollywood (and perhaps in Florida, as well). So after we rode Transformers: The Ride 3D last weekend, I took my film-geek son, Brian, up to T2 so he could experience the attraction at least once before it goes away.
Published: April 26, 2012 at 3:08 PM
There's no official word on when T2 might close, but after seeing this show again for the first time in years, I'm convinced that the sooner it closes, the better. T2's time is past, and its presence in the park at this point actually has become a liability. Universal can't get going with installing a replacement quickly enough.
Here's why T2's become a liability for the park:
Californians hate Arnold Schwarzenegger now
Forget Jack Dawson. In 1990s Hollywood, Schwarzenegger was the King of the World. But that was before Schwarzenegger trashed his reputation among Californians by serving seven dysfunctional years as governor, leaving office as the most unpopular governor in California history.
Sure, it's The Terminator up there on screen, but the people hissing when he appeared in T2: 3D were booing the man who played him. Californians don't want to be reminded of the Schwarzenegger administration.
It's embarrassing to watch Cyberdyne Systems' vision of the future that's already here, or past
Any attraction that portrays the near future, as T2: 3D did when it opened in 1996, runs the risk of becoming laughably outdated if it's not refreshed within a few years of opening. T2 hasn't been, and now some of its pre-show "predictions of the future" are unintentionally, and embarrassingly, hilarious.
Video chat? Tablet computers? A grandmother will have 5,000 channels of television, and if she can't decide what to watch, the TV will decide for her?
We're not laughing with you, T2: 3D. We're laughing at you. Worse, though, are the kids who aren't laughing at all. They can't understand why we're supposed to care about the lame versions of iPads and TiVos that Cyberdyne is showing us during the pre-show. Apathy is death for a theme park attraction.
The 3D projection looks terrible next to Transformers and Kong
At one point during the show, I took off my 3D glasses and asked Brian, "Are you seeing this in 3D?" He chuckled, shook his head and replied, "No, it's all out of synch."
At very few times did the images on screen "pop" out into space as they should in a 3D film. Instead, as is too often the case with years-old 3D projections, I saw plenty of double or ghost images in 2D instead. T2 is worse now than Disneyland's Captain EO for inferior projection. Next to the sharp, stunning, world-class 3D imagery of King Kong and Transformers, T2's 3D seems especially inferior.
The story setting still doesn't work
T2's always had great in-theater effects, and USH's performers typically give great performances. But it's always bothered me that we start the presentation inside a Cyberdyne auditorium, then somehow end up outside the theater - in the future - around and inside the SkyNet headquarters. Okay, so I guess the entire theater-full of people were transported along with John Connor and The Terminator when they busted out of Cyberdyne - and no one in the future battle ever sees us there.
But even if we accept that, a big narrative setting problem remains. When Connor goes through the portal to return to the present time, we don't go with him. We stay behind to watch The Terminator battle the T-1,000,000. When SkyNet's destroyed, the portal goes with it. How do we survive and get back, when the Terminator doesn't? Heck, he's a lot stronger and more durable than we are.
The great in-theater effects, performances and (at the time awesome) 3D easily overcame these weaknesses back in the 1990s. But this is far from Universal Creative's best work today. Here's hoping Universal pulls the plug quickly and greenlights a better attraction for its fans and guests in Southern California.
So what could that be?
The hot rumor of the moment is Universal will duplicate Orlando's upcoming Despicable Me show for the T2 theater in Hollywood. But it's fun to imagine another couple possibilities as well.
What if Universal moved Shrek 4D over to the T2 theater, then rebuilt its exterior to become a Singapore-like Far, Far Away castle? That'd allow Universal to raze the existing Shrek theater to clear space for an expanded Hogsmeade for its version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Shrek would fit better thematically in front of the European facades near the current T2 theater anyway.
What if we wanted a fresh attraction in the space, rather than a relocation or Orlando import? How about a new 4D show featuring Dr. Seuss characters and stories? Universal Studios Hollywood lacks anything from the Seuss Landing land in Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure. A new Seuss 4D show would add a welcomed family-focused attraction in the park, and if Universal threw in a Caro-Seuss-El on the site of the Coke Soak, that'd be a solid mini-land for the park. (Coke Soak could go to the site of the old Stunt Show theater if there's an ongoing contractual obligation to maintain it.)
What do you think about T2: 3D and its future, both in Hollywood and Orlando? The comments await your thoughts.
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