Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Simpsons' Ride!

The L.A. Times has a short piece outlining the new Simpsons' amusement park adventure, coming soon to Universal Studios, Hollywood and (I assume) eventually Universal Studios, Orlando.

The six-minute simulator ride follows the Simpsons clan as they are plucked from the crowd at the Krustiest Place on Earth to be the first family to tackle the “upsy-downsy spins-aroundsy teen-operated ride thrilltacular.” Naturally, things go awry.

... The ensuing journey takes riders down the carnival midway, on thrill rides, through dark rides, past musical revues and even around Springfield. The vengeful Sideshow Bob plays a key role in the mayhem.

The chaotic scenes play out in digital imagery and Dolby sound on a 90-foot-tall, domed screen as riders sit in an eight-seat simulator vehicle that climbs, dives, spins and seems to loop (although riders never go upside-down).

The Simpsons ride will be moving into what used to be Back to the Future's playpen, a large, multi-stories tall building at the hub of Universal Studio CA. There's a large, open area in front of it, with restaurants to the right and banks of escalators to the left, the escalators carrying the crowds down to the lower park.

My teenage son is ticked off that Back to the Future will be going bye bye, but that's show biz. The first Zemeckis installment of that franchise came out twenty-three years ago, and the Simpsons Movie is less than a year old.

Commerce marches on.

But I've been watching this attraction develop over at Starz Media for the better part of a year, and the designs and layouts have been pretty wild. When the writers were on strike over the winter, a couple of artists working on the ride said: "Oh, there's writers on this, and they're happy for the gig. The WGA doesn't cover amusement park attractions." Seems natural, I guess. Drawing a paycheck while writing dialogue for the six-minute spectacular now taking shape at Universal beats carrying a picket sign for nothing most days of the week.

Anyway, I hope Simpsons, the Ride has the same magnitude of success and Simpsons, the Movie.


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