March 12, 2006

My trip to Hollywood Part 3

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 2:56 pm

I almost missed the Universal Studios tour, but when I was just about to go on to the lower part of the park I’ve noticed this sign and, of course, ran over to take my place on that train (tram? Bus? Don’t remember what they’ve called it, but it was a nice a smooth ride). Ron Howard introduces the tour on the small LCD screens hanging in the front of each car and off you go to see all these studio sets (the modern ones, like that of the movie “Munich”, mostly from behind, they don’t let you in there). It was cool to see the Bates motel and house from Hitchcock’s Psycho (ve-ery scary movie!), the cardboard figure of Anthony Perkins lurking in the window – nice touch! >

Loved the Mexican set, where they show how rain and flood are made from the sprinklers and the recycled water of the small creek next to the set.
They even show you on the monitors the flood scene from a movie where this set was used.
Next you go to places like streets right out of a Western movie, Little Europe – a general imitation of the old European cities landscape with classical buildings and the fountain, but my favorite one was the latest addition to the tour – a set, where Steven Spielberg was filming the passenger jet crash over a small New Jersey town for the “War of the Worlds” movie. The plane pieces were still in smoke as were the crashed cars around them and you could hear occasional crackling sound and the whole thing looked pretty real on the approach. Only right up close one could see that the grass was a green plastic mat – the only thing that felt fake, the rest of it was still giving me the willies looking at it at arm’s reach as I was to fly out of L.A. back to Philadelphia a few days later…

There were also a couple of places with a bit of action on the way, like the set of King Kong movie, when the train was shaking and there was noise all around and then King Kong’s figure was suddenly appearing around the corner… Another one, which I liked even better was when you are entering what appears to be a set of the subway scene. Everything is quiet and all of the sudden the ground is shaking, the surface above you rips out and a huge truck is hurtling down towards you, stopping almost right in front of your nose – quite a show!

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