Tag: disney

OBSCURE TRIVIA BREAK: B-movies and A-ttractions

It’s very appropriate that Universal Orlando is reopening The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man this Thursday with a complete HD upgrade.  After all, this marks the 50th anniversary of the famed web-slinger’s first appearance.  But sadly, another anniversary is being overlooked.  On Jan. 2 of this year, Jaws at Universal Studios Florida ceased operation in order to make way for something new.  The attraction opened in 1990, but Jaws made its first Orlando appearance much earlier than that.  Thirty years ago this Summer, filming began on the third Jaws film – in 3D  – right down International Drive at SeaWorld.

So although we won’t have the Jaws ride at Universal Orlando to celebrate this milestone, we can celebrate it with another film about other carnivorous fish attacking an aquatic park – in this case, the waterslides of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park.

Which brings us to ThemedReality’s first Obscure Trivia Break, for as hard as it may seem, the Piranha franchise can just as easily link the SeaWorld and Universal theme park chains as Jaws can.  Here’s how:

  • The original Piranha (1978) was director Joe Dante’s third film.  In 2003, he directed a 4D film R.L. Stine’s Haunted Lighthouse for Busch Entertainment Corporation, which played at the two Busch Gardens parks and at SeaWorld parks in San Diego and San Antonio.
  • The sequel, Piranha Part II: The Spawning (1981) was James Cameron’s directorial debut.  It was a far cry from the work he did on Terminator 2 3D: Battle Across Time (1996)  for the Universal Studios theme parks.
  • In the reboot of the series, 2010’s Piranha 3D and this year’s Piranha 3DD, the character of Mr. Goodman is portrayed by none other than Christopher Lloyd, who starred in both SeaWorld’s Haunted Lighthouse, as Cap’n Jack, and as “Doc” Emmett Brown in Universal’s Back to the Future: The Ride (1991) and its replacement The Simpsons Ride (2008).

There are plenty of other theme park connections, ranging from film tie-ins to Cameron at News Corporation parks in Australia and Mexico, Everland in South Korea, and Disney parks worldwide, David Hasselhoff’s legendary work for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and Elisabeth Shue’s performance in that Leonard Nimoy-directed thrill ride at EPCOT.

But I don’t really want to talk about all those.  I guess when it comes down it, we can all learn something from Universal and SeaWorld.  Don’t dismiss B-movies.  After all, there might just be some good theme park talent in there.  I mean, I recall a really horrible Korean-American film from 1985 called LA Streetfighters (later renamed Ninja Turf)…

la_streetfighters_poster_01…and one of the actors from that film went on to host the Thea Awards.

ORIGINALLY POSTED 3/5/12 ON THEMEDREALITY.COM

ETI and the Future of Ride Design

eti_logoImagine a world where huge equipment racks, incredible amounts of heat, miles and miles of cables, and soaring operational costs are a thing of the past.  Brian Edwards of Edwards Technologies has envisioned such a world, and these days he’s making it a reality with the ETI Cloud-based Content Management System.

The cloud’s a confusing enough concept.  I’ll just simplify it by stating something along the lines of a room full of AV racks can be replaced by just a few Mac minis.  I like to think of it like replacing your the gas tank in your car with with five D-size batteries.

So just these few minis, with the assistance of the cloud, can do incredible things.  But what if instead of minis, you were using something else, like, say, a supercomputer?

Recently, Brian’s been spending a lot of time with Steve Chen, the lead designer of the Cray supercomputer and one of the industry’s pioneers.  What Brian told me is quite mindblowing and here’s an example, based on what he told me.

I’ll work with two attractions from Disney and George Lucas: Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Adventure.

The second generation of Star Tours is randomized, but it’s limited.  Everything is limited by 1. the storage space for data and 2. the prerendered visuals.  With supercomputer and cloud technology combined, every single variable would be entered in the system and the backgrounds, elemental conditions, and animations would all be rendered real time.  The ride could go anywhere within the boundaries set within the system and no rides would be identical.  Instead of around 50 possiblilities, there will be millions.

Now imagine that you’re going on the Indiana Jones ride.  It’s raining outside, and as you enter the show building, it’s cold and you hear rain dripping.  There might be water flowing down the wall as if there’s a leak in the roof.  Or it’s hot and humid outside so you enter a steamy interior with fog effects turned up.  The computer knows the elemental situation outside and matches it to the inside, seamlessly integrating the real world with the imagined.

As you board your vehicle, there are no sets.  There are LED or OLED screens along the walls, projecting real time animation in autostereoscopic 3D.  And because you answered a few questions about yourself at an interactive terminal before boarding, the ride is tailored to the tastes of you and your fellow riders.  Hate snakes? We’ll add them by the hundreds.

That’s the future.  And it’s already starting at ETI.  Find out more about their Mac-based cloud at www.eticloud.com.

ORIGINALLY POSTED 2/9/12 AT THEMEDREALITY.COM