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IP-themed rides that have outgrown their IP?

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
I think a factor to consider is the change in media consumption from say, the 80s to now.

Back in the 90s, before streaming etc, the majority paid to see big blockbuster movies at the cinema and it felt like a huge event. It was a treat. It was all people would talk about for ages afterwards. The whole process was so much less blasé than streaming is. So films from this era, like The Mummy and Twister, felt as though they has massive cultural impact at the time. I mean, to me, a child of the 90s - it was absolutely a no brainer that Universal had rides themed to these films because they were THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER at the time.

But the way we consume media now is far more fragmented and saturated with options. Hundreds of films / shows come and go very quickly, no one all watches the exact same stuff, and you don't have to catch films at the cinema at a certain time anymore - so the global "event" feeling has died down over a big release.
This new media environment that's full of flux and brimming with content options is the reason I feel rides at Thorpe Park get inaccurately labeled as having "irrelevant" IPs. It has modern IPs. In a fast-changing and varied modern environment.

Take Saw for example. Saw is just as relevant to horror cinema as Nightmare on Elm Street, yet Saw feels niche now where Elm Street does not. Because Elm Street was iconic event cinema, the grounds from which to florish a classic. And Saw is buried under millions of new releases, not old enough to be retro or young enough to be a talking point. It's stuck in over-saturated noughties film limbo. But my god, when that ride opened - it was BIG news. You can aleays tell this by when non-enthusiasts bang on about a new ride, which they very much did about Saw when it opened.

To use a more recent example, Black Mirror is huge and has been one of the most talked-about shows in the last 5 years. But the pace of consumption and hype is faster now. It's not Black Mirror, its Tiger King, its not Tiger King it's the Queens Gambit...try to keep up. If Thorpe Park themed a ride to Tiger King it would already seem irrelevant now because we move on from media so quickly.

In this sense, relevance is much harder to gauge now when it comes to IPs on rides.

If you look at Universals old rides: Jaws, Terminator, King Kong...they still seem classic and major now. They have that cultural power of a film that's passed down from generation to generation. They're timeless classics.

By comparrison, will Jimmy Fallon still seem relevant in 5 years time? Will The Secret Life of Pets still be getting shown to new generations of kids in 5 years? Probably not. Something new will have taken it's place; because in recent times mainstream cinema has leaned far heavier on quantity over quality. It's all becoming an immemorable blur - movie companies can pump out new content far more frequently than theme parks can build new attractions, meaning IPs built recently in theme parks don't feel relevant for long.

TLDR: Jimmy Fallon Race Through New York.
 
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Hixee

Flojector
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@Serena makes a fantastic point, and one that is hard to argue against directly. The notion of an IP is different today than it was 15 years ago I think. Strangely, it almost feels like the IPs of "today" are Netflix, Prime, YouTube. :D

I would offer some counter examples - there are some IPs that have come out 'recently' that I think are still relevant and doing well. Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Mario, Transformers (weirdly) are great IPs that are working well in their respective parks.

Then there's Darren Brown's Ghost Train... Lol.
 

Heth

Member
Jimmy Fallon was an IP dead on arrival. Was anyone clamouring to ride into the world of....talk shows?

With Derren Brown Ghost Train, what's odd is that it has pretty much nothing to do with him. It features him, sure, but the themes in it have nothing to do with him. He's a mentalist who performs illusions and mind games. VR headsets are not either of those things.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
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TLDR: Jimmy Fallon Race Through New York.
Your post is an excellent reason why I'd also argue Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance falls flat and feels somewhat dated already. The idea might have sounded good: "There's a new Star Wars trilogy coming out, and we're making a Star Wars land. Let's have the ride take place in the setting of the new trilogy!"

However, when the ride was first conceptualized, only the first movie in the trilogy had been written. The characters featured on the ride had not yet had their story concluded. And people were still curious to see how the trilogy would pan out. But it would take years to design and build the ride, and by its opening, the whole trilogy would be finished. And by their very nature, the ride and the movies would develop separately.

Fast-forward to the opening day: The trilogy, which was concluded a couple months earlier, has turned out to be hugely divisive, with Star Wars fans mostly on the side of disappointment. It is already a textbook example of how messy a film series can become if you set off without an overarching plan, using directors who fundamentally disagree on where to take the story, and writing scenes that look good in isolation but make no sense at all when seen in light of the story as a whole. Its iconography is also somewhat unrecognizable, as it's leaning heavily on the style and aesthetics of the original trilogy (say what you want about the prequels, but at least you could look at almost every frame of them and think "yep, it's definitely the Star Wars prequel trilogy!"). The sequel trilogy has no imagery to truly call its own, it's mostly imitating that of the original trilogy, and leaves little cultural impact on the Star Wars series as a whole. And the main villains featured in the ride turned out to be good guys in the end. One turned out to be an angsty emo with parental issues, while the other screamed a lot, served mainly as comic relief, and died like a chump after betraying the First Order. The ride frames them as these scary, evil guys, but most riders would know that isn't true in the slightest. The true main villains of the trilogy aren't even referenced on the ride.

I mean, I would have been really hyped for Rise of the Resistance after seeing only Episode VII of Star Wars. But knowing how it all ended, there is a dissonance with the ride. The ride tried to capture the feeling of a series that wasn't even finished, without knowing what the lasting memory of the series would become. I may be stretching things a little too far, but judging by the videos it feels like the ride is about an irrelevant part of a rather unmemorable movie trilogy. It would arguably be a lot more timeless if it was re-skinned into the original Star Wars trilogy, as it is lodged in public consciousness in a way the sequel trilogy really isn't. It wouldn't even take a lot of work, since the settings and styles are so similar. Change the helmets of the Stormtrooper animatronics, dub over any lines featuring the First Order to reference The Empire instead, shoot the screen-based scenes again, and swap out the Kylo Ren animatronic for Darth Vader. Most of the ride hardware and all of the story would remain the same.

Conversely, I'd say Flight of Passage fares really well. Nobody remembers the story of Avatar, but it sure had a really nice setting! So the ride doesn't give two hoots about the movie's story, but just frolics in its setting instead. I think this really helps preventing it from feeling dated. Avatar is a movie everyone has moved on from, but it had a unique setting that lingers in memory, and the attraction plays really well to that strength. Rise of the Resistance has a story that arguably is very generic Star Wars, but chooses to set it in the least memorable part of the movie series.
 

MountedShooter

New Member
Your post is an excellent reason why I'd also argue Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance falls flat and feels somewhat dated already. The idea might have sounded good: "There's a new Star Wars trilogy coming out, and we're making a Star Wars land. Let's have the ride take place in the setting of the new trilogy!"

However, when the ride was first conceptualized, only the first movie in the trilogy had been written. The characters featured on the ride had not yet had their story concluded. And people were still curious to see how the trilogy would pan out. But it would take years to design and build the ride, and by its opening, the whole trilogy would be finished. And by their very nature, the ride and the movies would develop separately.

Fast-forward to the opening day: The trilogy, which was concluded a couple months earlier, has turned out to be hugely divisive, with Star Wars fans mostly on the side of disappointment. It is already a textbook example of how messy a film series can become if you set off without an overarching plan, using directors who fundamentally disagree on where to take the story, and writing scenes that look good in isolation but make no sense at all when seen in light of the story as a whole. Its iconography is also somewhat unrecognizable, as it's leaning heavily on the style and aesthetics of the original trilogy (say what you want about the prequels, but at least you could look at almost every frame of them and think "yep, it's definitely the Star Wars prequel trilogy!"). The sequel trilogy has no imagery to truly call its own, it's mostly imitating that of the original trilogy, and leaves little cultural impact on the Star Wars series as a whole. And the main villains featured in the ride turned out to be good guys in the end. One turned out to be an angsty emo with parental issues, while the other screamed a lot, served mainly as comic relief, and died like a chump after betraying the First Order. The ride frames them as these scary, evil guys, but most riders would know that isn't true in the slightest. The true main villains of the trilogy aren't even referenced on the ride.

I mean, I would have been really hyped for Rise of the Resistance after seeing only Episode VII of Star Wars. But knowing how it all ended, there is a dissonance with the ride. The ride tried to capture the feeling of a series that wasn't even finished, without knowing what the lasting memory of the series would become. I may be stretching things a little too far, but judging by the videos it feels like the ride is about an irrelevant part of a rather unmemorable movie trilogy. It would arguably be a lot more timeless if it was re-skinned into the original Star Wars trilogy, as it is lodged in public consciousness in a way the sequel trilogy really isn't. It wouldn't even take a lot of work, since the settings and styles are so similar. Change the helmets of the Stormtrooper animatronics, dub over any lines featuring the First Order to reference The Empire instead, shoot the screen-based scenes again, and swap out the Kylo Ren animatronic for Darth Vader. Most of the ride hardware and all of the story would remain the same.

Conversely, I'd say Flight of Passage fares really well. Nobody remembers the story of Avatar, but it sure had a really nice setting! So the ride doesn't give two hoots about the movie's story, but just frolics in its setting instead. I think this really helps preventing it from feeling dated. Avatar is a movie everyone has moved on from, but it had a unique setting that lingers in memory, and the attraction plays really well to that strength. Rise of the Resistance has a story that arguably is very generic Star Wars, but chooses to set it in the least memorable part of the movie series.

As a huge Star Wars fan going back to 1977, you are spot on, not only with Rise of the Resistance, but the entire Galaxy's Edge area. If some of the rumors I've been hearing are even remotely true, Disney may very well retheme a lot of it to the original trilogy or The Mandalorian timeline, or possibly just blur it somewhat. Smuggler's Run would be even easier to update, or even have alternative missions.
 
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