King Kong 360/3-D debuts at Universal Studios Hollywood
Just got back from Universal Studios Hollywood
, where the theme park today debuted the new King Kong 360/3-D experience on its Studio Tour
. Today's event was for press and invited guests - you'll be able to experience Kong on the tram tour starting Thursday (July 1).
The new version of Kong is nothing like the old Bob Gurr-designed animatronic, which perished in the fire that consumed the Kong building along with four acres of Universal's backlot in the summer of 2008. While many fans loved the old Kong, that mechanical ape never could be described as thrilling. The old Kong was all about scale - a life-sized helicopter battled the immense Kong, with towering blasts of fire and the stench of Kong's famous banana breath completing a multi-sensory experience.
Universal's new Kong is all about action. King Kong 360/3-D slams riders with 90 seconds of the most intense fight ever seen in a theme park. As the name implies, this is a 360-degree, 3-D experience, enveloping you in the action on a studio tram that rocks and shakes throughout the brawl.
You're on Skull Island, as a velociraptors swarm your tram, only to be attacked by a trio of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Soon enough, the T-Rex are attacking the tram, too. But it's Kong to the rescue, who fights off the T-Rex, then saves your tram car from a deadly plunge into a bottomless ravine.
There's no banana breath here, though Universal Creative's substituted a generous helping of Tyrannosaur spit. Here's an on-ride video of the experience. Keep in mind that you'll see this in much sharper focus, while wearing provided 3-D glasses.
King Kong feature film director Peter Jackson oversaw the creation of the 3-D film, which was produced by WETA Digital. (We got a sneak peek at the production of King Kong 360/3-D earlier this year.) Visitors will get to hear from Jackson in an introduction that will play on the tram video monitors as they pass through the tunnel leading into the new Kong theater.
As part of the backlot renovation, the new Kong no longer plays in its old location on the backlot. You'll enter King Kong 360/3-D through a tunnel next to the old collapsable bridge on tram tour.
If you're interested: Red carpet photos on Facebook.
so how is it? Is this an "E" ticket attraction?
It looks cool, but it's way too short. It seems like a lot of work was put into something that's over before it really gets going. I also think King Kong's entrance into the show could and should be much more dramatic, accompanied by a burst of symphonic music. The audience should want to scream, "It's King Kong!". As it plays now, Kong just seems like one more in series of big dinosaurs attacking the tram, not the star of the show. This doesn't look like something I'd travel across the country to see.
its just an addition to a classic attraction. its like if they put a drop in its a small world!!!
I'd have to agree with Rod. Although the technology seems fantastic, I can't help but wonder if they couldn't make it a bit longer. And yeah, when Kong shows up, it was kind of just like, "Oh, and there's a gorilla to save the day--when'd he show up?".
Why are people complaining about the length? It is not a ride in itself, it is a segment of the backlot tour. For that purpose, it seems to be just the right length.
Lemme back up and explain for folks who haven't visited Universal Studios Hollywood before:
So do they give you the 3-d glasses at the beginning of the tour to hang on to throughout the entire tour?
Yes, that's how we were told that would be handled. (We just drove straight to the Kong experience and back today, skipping the rest of the tour route.)
This looks great,they should put a stand alone attraction over in USF,were the old hard rock cafe is.
Robert, you gave us no idea on whether you liked the new Kong, what impact it had on you, etc. Comments?
I think it looks brilliant. Universal is truly at the top of their game right now, and leading the pack as far as innovation and creativity are concerned.
I didn't mean to be overly critical. I love Peter Jackson. I know it's only a small part of the backlot tour, but I would have thought it could have been a much bigger experience. It has its own advertising campaign. Also, I realize that watching a video camera shot clip is in no way a substitute for the live 360 viewscape experience it is meant to be. I stand by my comment, however, that the entrance of Kong should have stopped the show. When he arrives to save the day, the whole show should have stopped for a beat to thunderous music and let Kong beat his chest, getting the audience's attention before he joins the battle. That's just showbiz!
Oh, please. Kong offers nowhere near the scale, detail or storytelling of Harry Potter. Kong delivers a rousing, engaging 90-second interlude on the Studio Tour.
Sure, it seems cool but it's way too short and I had no clue what was going on (in the video). It seems like it would be fun to ride, but I don't know about the length. It seemed cool that the vehicle seemed to rock when Kong pushed the T-Rex into the tram. Also, how did they do the part with the 2nd tram? Was it prerecorded or live footage?
Frankly, I'm impressed they were able to compress the best components of the
I am not that thrilled, but perhaps the clip doesn't give it justice because its hard to film 3D. It really seemed to me that the one tram that gets lost's inhabitants look extremly fake. It could be the 3D doubling that makes it look weird. Maybe Robert could expand on how it looked while being there.
My only knock would be on the "fifth" car on the tram (which only really has four cars, BTW) - the one that bites it and drops into the ravine. While the tram itself looks very real, the one guy in the green shirt who gets the close-up there doesn't look quite real enough to me to make the effect completely convincing. Animating people is still darn near impossible to do convincingly.
I wonder if Bob Burns and his wife were on that tram?
Agreed that it could have been longer, but as mentioned, there are very tight timing constraints that have to be maintained in order to keep the tram cycles consistent on heavy days. It can't be much longer or you will have trams getting backed up at the entrance (or bypassing). When busy, trams leave as often as every 120 seconds.
Very interesting data here from YouTube.
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