By Sarah Sekula, Published on FOXnews.com
Attention freedom-loving beings: It’s time to prepare for battle as the Decepticons, once again, try to take over planet Earth. In other words, get ready for some action-packed entertainment in the form of a new, multi-level simulator ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
Universal’s newest attraction Transformers: The Ride — 3D is set to open to the general public on June 20. But we got a chance to ride the highly anticipated attraction, already a hit in Singapore and Hollywood, Calif.
Here are 8 reasons why longtime Transformers fans and newbies alike will dig Transformers: The Ride – 3D.
The ride makes use of flight-simulator technology much like The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride located at Universal Islands of Adventure does. The Autobot EVAC visitors ride in moves from one projection screen to the next while guests are completely immersed in the gigantic 3-D environment.
What’s even cooler, though, is the massive elevator that lifts the EVAC vehicle from the first floor to the second. As the ride vehicle is being lifted, it is surrounded by a 60-foot-high cylindrical screen that tricks riders into thinking they are actually moving forward. In turn, they feel as if they are racing down the street in hot pursuit of Megatron.
The queue pre-show
Once inside the 2-story, bunker-style building that houses the new ride, guests walk through an interactive queue designed to look like an elaborate control room. Characters from the movie, like the no-nonsense General Morshower and Autobot Ratchet, appear on flat screens and do a good job of building the excitement.
As the storyline goes, guests are now “recruits” who, along with soldiers from N.E.S.T. (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty), are preparing to battle, quite ferociously, against the Decepticons. One room houses the last remaining shard of AllSpark, which is said to be the source of life for all Transformers, while another room features a Scorponok tail being held for research.
The intense story line
After the queue, it’s time to don 3-D battle glasses, hop into the souped-up ride vehicle, which happens to be a 12-seater Autobot named EVAC, then dart through the gloomy streets of Chicago with Optimus Prime as your guide. Throughout the 4-minute intergalactic battle EVAC, (through some killer special effects) bursts through high-rise buildings, gets shaken by explosions and narrowly escapes Devastator’s vortex.
In one scene from the ride, Megatron latches his metallic claw-like digits into EVAC’s hood. At the same time, riders are jostled about and sprayed with a mist of water. Another scene shows EVAC falling from a skyscraper and landing safely in Bumblebee’s arms. Plus, throughout the ride there are wind, heat and smoke effects that bump up the on-screen thrills.
The stunning visuals
For starters, the 3-D HD media is projected onto 14 custom-built screens (some up to 60-feet tall) throughout the ride at five times the speed of a standard movie. That’s really fast. So, the images are all very bright and clear. In other words, it’s extremely photorealistic. In fact, the same visual-effects company that helped create the blockbuster films also worked on the ride’s visuals.
Guests, as they look through 3-D glasses, see images often as close as 15 feet unfolding on the massive screens. And some scenes are done in super slow motion, which allows riders to fully appreciate crashes, missile explosions and the like.
During the ride you’ll get up close and personal with Autobots Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Ironhide, Ratchet, Wheelie and EVAC. And you get to see Decepticons Megatron, Ravage, Sideways, Grindor, Devastator, Starscream, Bonecrusher and Scorponok, too. Some of them are so tall, in fact, that you need to tilt your head to see some them. Devastator, who is made up of several Decepticons, is definitely the largest.
After exiting the ride, guests land smack dab in the middle of the Supply Vault (a.k.a. the gift shop), which offers everything from an “I only date Autobots” t-shirt to Transformers-style belt buckles. Choose from the obligatory foam sword to gummy bears shaped like your favorite characters to the “B is for Bumblebee” onesie.
The photo ops
If you sneak around the corner of the the Supply Vault, from time to time you will spot a certain robotic hero or villain. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron all appear here several times a day spouting out their favorite sayings like: “Autobots, roll out!” and “welcome freedom fighters.” Each character is about 10 feet tall and makes for a killer photo op. Plus, there’s another great visual on the rise of the building: a 9-ton statue of Optimus himself. (Note: At nighttime, his LED eyes glow a brilliant shade of blue.)
At the end of the day, you can rest easy knowing you helped the Autobots protect the Earth from the evil-doing Decepticons. Optimus even personally thanks riders at the end. In fact, when he kneels down to EVAC’s level with a heartfelt thanks, chances are you truly will feel like a hero. Funny how much you can connect with a digitized robot.