This past weekend, Fandango was one of a handful of outlets invited down to Universal Studios Orlando to catch a sneak peek at the theme park's new Superstar Parade and Cinematic Spectacular attractions. Both events are part of Universal's overall celebration of 100 years in the movie biz.
On a typically warm and humid evening, the parade was first up, with a "soft" performance to work out any kinks to the exhibition. Featuring characters from Despicable Me, Hop, Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants, the parade slowly winds down Hollywood Blvd. with lively and animated performances from costumed dancers. The parade aims to be entertaining and interactive for all age groups.
The new Universal Cinematic Spectacular is a revamp of the 360 dome show. Director Mike Aiello compiled clips from 200 Universal movies and created a series of montages with themes including 100 Years of Heroes, 100 Years of Horror, 100 Years of Laughter, 100 Years of Triumph and 100 Years of Good vs. Evil.
"This is a love letter to the Universal brand," Aiello said. "I wanted to focus on telling the legacy of Universal's films."
The show incorporates the use of fountains, fireworks, Morgan Freeman's narration and water graphic curtains which the montages are projected on. Various Universal scores are incorporated into each theme, i.e. Liar Liar in the Laughter section and Dragonheart for the Triumph montage. Other prominent scores include Back to the Future, Gladiator, Jaws, Psycho, Cape Fear, Apollo 13 and E.T., which Aiello admitted was a "no-brainer" to close with. Two other scores added to the show include Star Fighter and James Horner's Casper soundtrack for their emotional impact.
With the system capable of undergoing easy updates, Aiello plans to incorporate some upcoming Universal films into the show. The preview run featured clips from Battleship and Snow White and the Huntsman. The lagoon show will officially open tomorrow and is a must-see for movie fans. You can preview the attraction in the video below, which includes a foreword from director Steven Spielberg.
Moments before the show begins, the water graphic curtains cycle through a series of patterns.
As the show begins, the lights on buildings surrouding the lagoon are turned off.
The show begins with Morgan Freeman's narration.
A quick clip from The Silence of the Lambs is projected on the water graphic curtain.
The fountain technology is used to "support what is going on in the curtain," Aiello said.