As 2012 comes to a close, SWSC doffs our cap to salute the themed entertainment legacy of TERMINATOR 2: 3D that ends its 13-year Battle Across Time at Universal Studios Hollywood tonight. This spectacular multimedia attraction wowed audiences since it opened in an upgraded theater presentation in 1999, three years after the 3D film-and-stage show debuted in Orlando. Planned by TERMINATOR writer/director James Cameron as a mini-sequel in his blockbusting feature film franchise, T2 stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick and Edward Furlong reprising their respective roles for this high-budget, high-concept thrill ride out of Universal Studios and through the movie screen into the apocalyptic future world after Judgement Day for a truly unique theme park experience.
T2:3D was a game changer in theme park entertainment, as it was intended to be. Back in the mid-90s when immersive was a theme design buzzword hotter than a nuclear fireball, this stage, stunt and film show took the phrase to a new level of meaning. Assaulting audiences’ senses on all fronts — sight, sound, and physical sensation — T2:3D’s Hollywood theater literally shook and shocked with the big screen action. Glowing with the searchlights of flying Hunter-Killers, filling with icy CO2 fog and shuddering down to your seats amid the explosive finale, T2:3D truly lived up to its sequel status in true Cameron style and conceptual excess (in the best way possible). Exploiting all of Universal’s trademark elements seen throughout its studio tour, in some ways T2:3D represented the best of Uni’s theme park traditions and ambitions, blending the best of Hollywood-style action and cinematic scope with a live staged spectacle filled with a talented and devoted cast of actors.
Brought to bombastic life by Cameron, film production and visual effects by Digital Domain, and show creation by Gary Goddard and Adam Bezark for Landmark Entertainment Group, T2:3D paved the epically scaled way for today’s cutting edge thrill rides like Universal’s TRANSFORMERS: THE RIDE-3D, but the battle for this theme park future was waged and won back in the mid-1990s with a bone-shaking, eye-popping journey through Cyberdyne and into history.
SWSC salutes everyone involved in the creation and daily operation of TERMINATOR 2:3D at USH since 1999, and congratulates all on their groundbreaking run at the Hollywood park.
For a blast from the past, T2:3D fans can read this archived article I wrote on the attraction for my old Etixland site circa 2001. Please excuse the outdated and eye-straining “3D’ web design of these pages, but enjoy the look back in time without the aid of Skynet time travel. I also recommend this much more lengthy and detailed tribute article to the show by our friend Rick West at ThemeParkAdventure.com.