Transformers ride to debut at Universal Studios Hollywood in spring 2012
Concept art for the new Transformers ride at Universal Studios Hollywood shows Bumblebee in action surrounded by military planes, tanks and helicopters. (Universal Studios)
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The five-minute Transformers motion simulator dark ride with high-definition 3-D images, special effects and animatronics will feature an original storyline starring the shape-shifting robots capable of changing into cars, trucks and planes.
> Photos: Transformers ride at Universal Studios Hollywood
Hyperbolic Universal officials are already calling the new Transformers attraction "the greatest ride in theme park history."
That's quite a boast, but Universal built what many consider to be the world's greatest ride in 1999 with the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man only to surpass it with the 2010 debut of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – both at Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. The new Transformers attraction in California is expected to employ a ride system similar to Florida's Spider-Man.
Universal has tapped the voice actors from the "Transformers" film series as well as Industrial Light and Magic to create the 3D characters and visuals for the ride, which Variety reports will cost "significantly more" than $40 million.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" director Michael Bay is also on board as a creative consultant after saying he didn't like the initial storyline and wasn't involved in the project when the ride was first announced in 2008.
During the queue pre-show, riders will be recruited for a mission by the NEST military organization to join the Autobots in an alien robot showdown with the Decepticons.
Concept art for the queue shows a control room with video screens explaining the ride's back-story and the AllSpark containment chamber with a glowing module containing the source of life for all Transformers.
Riders will be transported through the Transformers attraction in a blue Autobot vehicle with three rows of seats known as Evac, according to Universal officials at Comic-Con.
During the ride, visitors will fly above city streets and through high-rise buildings onboard Evac while battling a Decepticon robot named Ravage, according to the Comic-Con presentation.
Along the way, riders will encounter Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream and other Transformers characters.
In one scene from the ride, a robotic animal stands atop a military-like vehicle as riders pass the blacklight-lit montage. Another scene shows the Bumblebee robot in action surrounded by military planes, tanks and helicopters.
An identical version of the Transformers ride will open this fall at Universal Studios Singapore. The Universal Studios Hollywood ride will replace the retired Backdraft attraction and the relocated Special Effects Stages on the theme park's lower lot.