Feature Article

Universal's New Jurassic World Ride Bridges The Past And Future Of The Movie Franchise

Jurassic World: The Ride is open now at Universal Studios Hollywood.

When Jurassic World first hit theaters in 2015, reviving the Jurassic Park franchise that had stalled out 14 years earlier, it ushered in a new era of dinosaur adventures. Now, the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios Hollywood has gotten the same treatment, and fans of the franchise can cast themselves in the chaos.

When Jurassic Park: The Ride first opened at Universal's Southern California theme park in 1996, it became an instant favorite. After all, it's hard not to love a boat ride with a massive drop. As the years went on, though, and Jurassic Park strayed further from popular culture, the attraction's luster faded. Then Jurassic World happened, sparking a total revamp of the ride.

But theme park enthusiast can be a fickle bunch, especially when it comes to changing a ride they grew up with. So how do you approach a project like the Jurassic World ride without losing what made the original so special to visitors? "Very carefully," senior director and executive producer at Universal Creative Jon Corfino said.

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Speaking to GameSpot at the new ride's grand opening, Corfino explained that the key to making sure Jurassic World lived up to its predecessor was a collaboration. "We worked very closely with [Jurassic World director] Colin Trevorrow [and producer] Frank Marshall--really, the guardians of this franchise and brand--because you gotta stay close to the DNA," he said. "And their contributions were essential because they were very focused on sticking with the initial awe and wonder starting point."

A lot of that awe and wonder from the original Jurassic Park ride remains intact, with guests coming face-to-face with a variety of peaceful animatronic dinosaurs before things go horribly wrong and the more chaotic of the dinos mess everything up. A lot of these elements, in particular, are pulled right out of the original version of the ride--including numerous dinosaur interactions.

However, even with nods to the original ride, Jurassic World stands on its own. For instance, the brand new first scene on the attraction drops gusts into an aquarium where the massive Mosasaurus is seen feeding on a shark. It's a fun moment and one that immediately calls the 2015 movie to mind, given it featured this particular dinosaur. It also happens to be thrilling, thanks to some cleverly-placed water cannons that serve a dual purpose of teasing the danger that's to come and getting riders very wet.

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Another aspect of the ride helping to distinguish Jurassic World from its predecessor is the inclusion of the movie's stars. In the line queue, as well as on the ride itself, you'll see the characters played by Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and BD Wong appearing in videos.

According to Corfino, including the cast in the new ride was essential to its authenticity. "Whenever you're dealing with a brand like this, you have to stay authentic. And it just wouldn't have been right to not have them," he said. "So we were able to put together an idea, work with them, get them involved, which was absolutely fantastic. They were tremendous partners. Chris and Bryce were such a hoot. Their chemistry together off-screen was fantastic, much less on-screen. B.D. Wong was fantastic. And it sets the whole tone. It just wouldn't be right without them."

Jurassic World: The Ride is open now at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is a GameSpot Entertainment Editor and loves most movies, but especially Jaws and Paddington 2.
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