Sunday, December 9, 2007

DAY 6 - Universal Studios - 6th Dec

Is it predictable that I had more fun here than at Disneyland? I hung on to every cheesy joke and film reference made today. It was brilliant. The only disappointing aspect was that the rides I've been looking forward to all these years, i.e Back to the Future and E.T were closed.

The walk to the entrance of the studio was populated by a street full of referential eateries and mid-upmarket clothing stored. The coolest restaurant I spied was Bubba Gump Shrimp...oh yeha from Forrest Gump.

We first went into Shrek 4D cinema event which was pretty cool, but then the most awesome part came. The studio backlot tour. To get down to the trams you have to take the escalators down the cliff. In fact the entire studio complex is built on a cliff side and an intricate web of escalators work to transport you from the upper and lower lots of the theme park.

The backlot tour was cheesy and probably using the same jokes and footage as 15 years ago but I couldn't care less. I've seen it on TV for so long and finally I'm experiencing it. Although some parts of the tour were clearly choreographed ride bits, we went through actual studios and production offices, saw sets been built and a student film been shot. The coolest bits were undoubtedly the tour of Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives, which only happened on a weekday due to the current writer's strike in the US. The other highlight was the plane crash set of Spielberg's War of the worlds. Which was awesome because he moved an entire 747 onto the lot.

There was a definite lack of moving rides at Universal Studios. I counted 2, the Mummy Indoor Rollercoaster which was awesome but far too short. And the much famed Jurassic Park ride which got my entire left leg soaked The ride was very cool but dated. Other things at Universal were all about the movie experience, SFX and sound stage demonstrations, a VERY outdated Backdraft demonstration but overall everything was gloriously fun, but I'm a gloriously sad movie buff.

We screamed our way through the haunted house, which was a walk through thing where out of work actors leap at you from corners of the room dressed in scary characters. At one stage I had Megan hiding behind one arm and Tracey on the other. They figured if I screamed at everything first then it'll be okay for them. Little did they know that they'll end up getting chased by the characters anyway...ahahah.

The Waterworld show was just as cheesy and bad as the move and it was populated by walk on roles from shows like CSY:NY, ER and Mission Impossible 3. However the effects were awesome, at one point an entire seaplane leapt over a 5 storey wall, like wtf??? and it wasn't even held on by cables or something, it was just launched over.

The best was to come last though. We waited for the Terminator 2 3D experience to start and the fake Cyberdyne video played and it's uber craziness foreshadows many a things. From the look of Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong in the actual video I'd put the ride at somewhere around 96-97, which means the ride (experience) is probably more than a decade old, but that Cyberdyne video was scary. It describes a world where Skynet controls the Star Wars type missile system that George Bush wanted to build. The entire video was like the current terrorism scare campaign. It was so eerie, I'm not sure if the majority of the US audience got all the irony but I certainly did and James Cameron I salute you.

The actual experience is a cross between a live action show and a 3D cinematic experience. It was so absolutely awesome because both Tracey and I WORSHIP Arnie. And he happened to be in it. So the majority of the time whenever he uttered any of his catchphrases we cheered emphatically. I seriously almost had the ultimate geekgasm in this thing. It just embodied everything I wished for at Universal, cinematic in-jokes, irony, science fiction, total coolness and a bit of Arnie. This was heaven and I didn't do anything afterwards because this was the last thing I wanted to savour from Universal Studios.

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