Armageddon Special Effects
Armageddon Special Effects retraces the history of special effects, beginning with the first innovations of Georges Méliès and continuing through to the very latest digital technology. The visit begins in a building that is themed to resemble a special effects stage on the backlot of a major movie studio. The word "Armageddon" emerges from a burst of flames at the entrance to the marquee, while several meteors streak towards the words "Effets Speciaux" (Special Effects), offering a taste of the action about to erupt in this very special attraction. The entrance to the attraction also features an "Armadillo", one of the space vehicles featured in the film, Armageddon.
Special effects revealed
Guests enter a pre-show area based on a storage area for the special effects shooting stage. An 'assistant SFX director' arrives and welcomes them. He presents a range of fantastic special effects tools to the guests, and invites two or three people up on to the grey screen stage. As he directs their performance against the blank grey screen, their images are composited into a variety of humorous movie scenes that are shown on a giant screen - surfing in Hawaii, fighting a monster, doing the "Twist" and even folk dancing in Austria!
An out of this world experience
The assistant SFX director then pays tribute to Georges Méliès, the inventor of special effects. In 1902, this young French magician filmed the world’s first special effects spectacle: Le Voyage à Travers l'Impossible. This filmastonished the public at that time with its clever use of superimposed images and stop-motion animation. A century has passed since Méliès invented "movie magic", and the art of special effects has made a truly amazing journey during that time.
The impact of special effects
The lights go down, and the public discover a powerful selection of great special effect moments from the 100-year history of cinema. This sequence ends with a series of pyrotechnic explosions, building to a great crescendo. Out of the smoke of the last explosion steps the imposing silhouette of Michael Clarke Duncan, one of the stars of the movie Armageddon, who explains how the movie’s signature special effects scenes were created. Guests also have the opportunity to discover concept artwork, miniatures and computer modelling. Michael Clarke Duncan reminds us that special effects help the audience feel as though they have stepped into the heart of the action. But rather than take his word for it, guests can now discover the magic for themselves by passing into the next stage of the attraction.
Panic in space
The door opens, and guests walk into the full-size set of the Russian space station, half way between the authentic space station and the interior recreated for the movie. The loud speakers broadcast operational “comchat” between Lev, the Russian cosmonaut on board, and the main computer. The latter initiates gravitational spin that creates an artificial gravity, closes the air lock door behind the guests and opens two large view ports placed in front. Suddenly, Lev signals the imminent arrival of some meteor particles. As they come further in, the guests hear a series of alarming impacts on the hull of the station. Then, through a series of well-orchestrated special effects, the guests witness the worst accident possible in space: a flaming meteor shower!
Increasingly stronger impacts shake the station. One of the walls is breached. Gusts of smoke appear. A water pipe bursts amid a shower of sparks. A meteorite pierces the hull and crosses the room, making holes in the ducts and hoses in its way! The creaking of metal echoes in the station as the corridor threatens to break away. The suspense and action reach their climax when, with a sonic boom, a giant fireball explodes through the central shaft around which the guests are gathered!
When the lights come up, guests will learn how this moment of "movie magic" was created right before their very eyes.