Out of all the many cool opportunities I've had writing for Moviepilot in the last year, the coolest wasn't seeing a movie, but riding a movie. Fast and Furious: Supercharged is the new thrilling climax to the Universal Studios: Hollywood's famous Studio Tour - an eye-popping, 3D ride that puts you in the driver's seat of a balls-out high-speed pursuit across a downtown Los Angeles freeway. I'll tell you now, it is nothing short of amazing.
Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson all appear as our favorite characters from the Fast and Furious series (sadly, no Ludacris) and overtake your Studio Tour tram and run away from bad guys. The experience involves going really fast with the thrill of wind and water being blown in your face as well as a couple heat-seeking missiles.
While the ride is one of many theme park attractions based on movies, I thought it was appropriate to recall five of the Greatest Theme Park Rides Based on Movies.
Peter Pan's Flight at Disneyland
This is one of the coolest rides because it actually gives you the thrill of flying. It's been around since 1955. It basically puts you in Captain Hook's flying pirate ship and takes you through the events of the movie. Every time I fly out of the Darlings' nursery and over moonlit London, the child in me erupts with joy. That, for me, is the best part of the ride because you're looking down at a glowing miniature London and I swear you feel like you're in that movie.
To (kinda) ride this ride right now watch the video below! Flying not included.
Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland
This is one of the most interesting and exciting rides based on a movie because, much like George Lucas' Star Tours, it captures the magic and wonder of an Indiana Jones movie. Though Harrison Ford is not featured in the ride, the character of Indiana Jones is everywhere. The experience of walking up to the ride and waiting in line itself is an immersive experience where you can attempt to decode hieroglyphic messages on the temple walls.
It utilizes an amazing motion simulation car that drives across fiery caverns, rickety bridges, and rocky roads. The story is set in 1936 India in an ancient Bengalese temple called the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. The temple itself is a tribute to the deity Mara and if you look into the eye of Mara, something terrible will happen. Spoiler alert: You always look into the eye of Mara!
To (kinda) ride this ride right now watch the video below!
Back to the Future: The Ride at Universal Studios
This one has, sadly, been discontinued. It opened in 1993 and utilized a single curved IMAX screen with motion simulator DeLoreans synchronized to movements that replicated those of the IMAX movie, creating an immersive experience similar to what you would find in something like Fast and Furious: Supercharged today.
The ride was basically a sequel to the Back to the Future trilogy in which Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson!) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd!) find themselves in an epic car chase through time. It's really cool and recalls a lot of fun elements from the original movie such as the town of Hill Valley as well as introduce new sci-fi elements into the BTTF canon like, yeah, you guessed it - A FRIGGIN' T-Rex! I love Back to the Future. It's probably my favorite movie. And the fact that I could experience 15 more minutes in Hill Valley still brings a smile to my face.
To (kinda) ride this ride right now watch the video below! DeLorean simulators not included.
(The Original) Star Tours at Disneyland
One of my absolute favorites as a kid was the Original Star Tours at Disneyland. It has since been refurbished to accommodate new elements in 3D technology and elements from the prequels (shit!). I'm sure it's a delight, but for this post I'm going to focus on the original Star Tours, which debuted in 1989 and takes you on a space cruise through a galaxy far, far away...
Only a few of the film series' original characters appear, but damn it if I didn't feel like I was in the middle of another Star Wars movie. And now that I think about it, isn't that the key to a successful movie-themed ride? I want it to be the same, you know, but different. A lose sequel focusing on the fringes of a familiar movie-going experience. As long as the music and magic and soul of Star Wars is there, so am I.
To (kinda) ride this ride right now watch the video below! Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher not included.
Jurassic Park: The Ride at Universal Studios
The Jurassic Park ride is awesome. You sit in a raft and go down a river, taking in much of the beauty, awe, and wonder we experience early in the JP movies. But as the ride continues, things start to go wrong. We hear over a loudspeaker that the park is malfunctioning and our ride isn't going according to plan.
As expected, the dinosaurs are taking over the park, attacking humans, etc. The music of John Williams is masterfully utilized to build up fear as the sounds of dinosaurs scare the pants off of you. More than anything, the experience of the ride feels like a spiritual cousin to the film from which it was based. There's little story, but the emotional whiplash from wonder to terror feels just as thrilling.
To (kinda) ride this ride right now watch the video below! Rubber pants not included.
What do you think of my list? If I missed any let me know. Mention your favorite rides based on movies in the comments section below!
Fast and Furious: Supercharged Opens at Universal Studios: Hollywood today!