I’ll never forget that fateful morning driving westbound on the I-134 and rounding the bend to see Universal Studios in flames. The pillars of smoke rose high enough to blot out the sun, and all of us were left with an unbearable sadness as miles of backlot – including Hill Valley, the King Kong exhibit, and vaults of archival material – perished in that godawful fire. Thankfully, Universal and Peter Jackson have made the best of a bad situation, and we now have a brand-new Kong attraction.
Two years to the day of the tragic fire, Jackson and Universal launched the grand opening of King Kong 360 3D in Hollywood, and we were one of the first to experience it. And as much as that old robot Kong had a classic nostalgic charm about it, sometimes it’s good to kick out the old and bring in the new.
Boarding the backlot trams, we were whisked into Skull Island and quickly found ourselves in the middle of a heated battle between Kong and a posse of tourist-chomping dinos. Gone is the static feeling of a large animatronic head roaring at you, replaced with an all-out sensory overload as the tram was knocked around in a fully immersive 3D environment. Even the most hardened purist who stepped off the tram had the same reaction: King Kong 360 3D kicks MAJOR ass!
Click below to see footage from the ride and opening ceremonies, complete with a brand new Peter Jackson introduction! Be advised, the shaky 2D footage you are about to see isn’t 1/50th as cool as experiencing the ride first-hand.
Also check out Universal’s new “making-of” featurette and a few images that are nearly guaranteed to get you crazy.
King Kong 360 3D opens to the general public this weekend at Universal Studios, Hollywood.
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