Friday, May 4 was the Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Passholder preview for the new Transformers 3D ride opening this month. The ride uses the same system as Spider-Man: The Ride in Florida. Those of you who have spoken to me about my views on various attractions should know that until Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey, Spider-Man held my top spot as favorite attraction, ever. So, one could understand my excitement for the arrival of Transformers 3D. My standards are pretty high when it comes to what I expect from new attractions. I say this because I was actually disappointed with Transformers 3D. It’s still a great attraction, if not one of the best on the West Coast. But, compared to Spider-Man, I was left with criticism.
For starters: the entrance. Nothing really pops; it’s a multi-layered 2D picture of two robots basically pointing at the entrance.
After a quick google for images of the ride’s entrance, I see Singapore’s entrance. This is more like it:http://www.seibertron.com/images/toys/u ... de%201.jpg
The theme of the queue is good. Basically, it’s like walking through a secure military base. There are some interesting things to look at, as well as knobs and buttons (that don’t do anything) to play with. Though, I felt it lacked a little detail in lieu of video monitors. What’s with theme parks thinking that video makes up for tangible/detailed items? (more on this later)
The transport you enter is exactly like that in Spider-Man. As I said, the attractions have a lot in common. The difference being, that on the Transformers ride, you’re supposed to be stepping into an actual Autobot. This Autobot will be your guide/narrator throughout the ride. I don’t need to go into many details, but basically your cruise through areas that blend in with 3D screens. The effect is top-notch. I’ve always loved how in Spider-Man, the 3D video blends in with the environment around you. It’s truly amazing how people come up with ideas like these. And this is where, what I’m guessing, the budget for Transformers 3D is cut short. It’s 95% video. One of the effects about Spider-Man I always loved was how the images on the screen interacted with the real objects around you. A villain throws a fireball from the screen and real fire explodes out of a building next to you. An anti-gravity beam shoots from the screen, hits a real box, and it levitates. These little nuances truly immerse you. Not so on Transformers 3D. It’s video after video with very little realism around you. I can only think of one part that was more immersive, and of course, I liked it. I just want more. Also, the Autobot you’re on is more ‘telling’ a story than making you part of it. Every time a new Decepticon appears on the screen, the Autobot feels compelled to tell you the Decepticon’s name. To me, it got old. Let me experience it; don’t tell me what to think. Though, there were some huge video walls that fully engulfed you which I thought were pretty cool.
Again, overall, it’s a great ride. I have an annual pass and will continue to ride it every visit. Let’s hope it grows on me instead of making me more jaded. Universal has made some amazing attractions that, I feel, have left Disney behind and raised the bar for the world. Terminator 4D, Spider-Man, Transformers 3D, and Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey (OMG *drool*) to name a few will cause me to happily hand over some of my vacation time and money to Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood.