As Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom finds its way to theaters this summer, the dinosaurs aren’t the only thing evolving.
The dinosaurs are overrunning Universal Studios Hollywood again.
“Jurassic World — The Ride” has arrived, taking the place of “Jurassic Park — The Ride,” which reigned supreme for 22 years before closing last year.
Universal Studios will officially open the new attraction, based on the “Jurassic World” movies, next week, presenting the specter of millions of tourists meeting the franchise’s most fearsome dinosaurs — from the Mosasaurus, the genetic creation Indominus rex, and naturally T. rex.
“As you know from the ‘Jurassic’ saga, we never learn, we just never learn,” says Bryce Dallas Howard, whose “Jurassic World” park operator Claire Dearing character has seen this interaction go very badly onscreen.
Claire appears in videos along with Chris Pratt’s rogue dinosaur researcher Owen Grady, giving line patrons banter-filled information about the real theme park they are about to enter. The dinosaur park was destroyed in 2015’s “Jurassic World,” but its brought back in the ride.
“We’re revisiting a chapter of an ongoing movie story that will be suspended in time on this ride forever,” says Dallas Howard. “That’s thrilling.”
‘Jurassic Park’ ride goes extinct;: Universal Studios makes way for ‘Jurassic World: The Ride’
Once on the 25-person boats, which ferry visitors through the dinosaur-filled water ride, Claire and Owen lead the warnings as dinosaurs escape. Again.
“Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow, a die-hard fan of the original “Jurassic” ride featuring an escaped animatronic T. rex, was hands-on in collaborating on the completely rebooted ride and its dinosaurs with improved animatronics and immersive technology.
“Most of all, my priority was making sure kids would actually believe they were right there with the dinosaurs,” says Trevorrow.
Visitors float past a stunning Mosasaurus tank, actually an elaborate digital spectacle created by movie special effects wizards at Industrial Light & Magic. Even the shark and schools of fish moving in different directions are realistic.
“We needed ILM to pull that off, bringing you there,” says Trevorrow. “And the screen changes with the weather — sunny or overcast even at night. So whatever is happening outside, is happening in the tank.”
The major tank attraction is, naturally, the boat-rumbling Mosasaurus appearance. She enjoys an impressive predatory tank snack (sorry, shark!) before making a boat close-up, crunching into the screen so hard it appears to crack.
The boat continues through the lush vegetation of Herbivore Valley, featuring a water-spraying Parasaurolophus before rolling past the baby and mother Stegosaurus from the original ride (both fully revamped with enhanced movements).
Brief tranquility ends in Predator’s Cove, as claw and blood marks show that the Indominus rex has broken free from her enclosure. This leads to the genetically created super-killer and an escaped T. rex having a grand-finale predator showdown.
“I’d be the last one to deny the thrill of a dinosaur face-off between two massive beasts,” says Trevorrow. “To be able to up the ride ante by adding another massive anamatronic animal to combat the T. rex will hopefully make this as exciting, even more exciting, than the original.”
Ride creators believe this dino battle will be so impressive that riders might not notice the looming 84-foot water slide drop that caps “Jurassic Word — The Ride.” Trevorrow was won over after taking the plunge for the first time during tests last week.
“For some old school fans like me, it might feel a bit strange to see something changed that you have a personal connection to,” says Trevorrow. “Some fans, like me, will get on the ride with their arms folded. But I believe they are going to finish with their arms up in the air.”
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