Monday, April 19, 2010

California road trip - day 4

I can't believe we almost skipped this one!

When Viv first asked me if I wanted to go to Universal Studios, I declined immediately. Hollywood movie stuff... kiddy rides... naah!

However, a lot of folks started saying it was worth a visit and so we extended our stay in Burbank by a day and decided to go for it.

Me at the entrance of Universal Studios

Can you guess which of these statues is actually a real person?

Incidentally, the first thing we saw after we entered was the House of Horrors. I hate horror movies and I had got really scared in the House of Horror in London which I had the misfortune of visiting a few years ago. So I don't know what the hell I was thinking when I followed Viv inside.

It was not as scary as the London one. IT WAS SCARIER. There were scarily made-up 'ghosts' popping out of windows, grabbing you through bars, looking down at you from above. They were everywhere. You couldn't tell which ones were fake and which ones were real until they jumped at you.

This thing was a real guy. The bloke ran after me holding that knife. I screamed and hid behind Viv. Mature, eh?

Anyway, I walked behind Viv for the rest of the ordeal. It helped when people in front of us screamed because it meant that someone had 'attacked' them and we had a second to run past before the 'attacker' could get ready again.

The most horrible thing was that there was no turning back. They had designed it such that you had to keep going, and you could only get to the exit after you had been through two floors of horror.

Finally, we were out and I only had one thing on my mind. NEVER. AGAIN.

Next, we went for the 3D Terminator show. I had never been to anything like this and really liked it.

Just outside the Terminator show was this motorcycle, and I got Viv to take a picture of me on it as a reminder to myself that this would be the only time I would be 'riding a motorcycle'.

Next up was Universal's Animal Actors, a show to display the skills of various animals that had been part of actual Hollywood movies.

Check out the orangutan copying the trainer's every move...

...including the sulking pose!

I liked how she was holding him like a baby.

Next, we went for the Waterworld show. I had not watched the original movie, but the show was totally awesome, especially the effects. We were not in the 'wet zone' but those who were, were drenched (and loving it!) during several parts of the show.

Every time one of these boats went by, they made sure they splashed the folks in the 'wet zones'.

They even had a plane land on the water dangerously close to the audience. Awesome stuff.

The fuel tank explosion scene was mind-blowing. The fact that all of this was live without any retakes just made it more awesome.

Finally, the show ended and the cast was introduced. I didn't know that they were all from well-known TV shows. The female lead in this picture (who did some crazy stunts during the show) is in Gray's Anatomy!

We went for the Simpsons ride, and I am extremely ashamed to say that I screamed like a 5-year-old in -- get this -- A SIMULATED RIDE! *hangs head in shame* I, who has done a bungee jump, freaked out in a simulated ride. In my defence, I guess they didn't have to worry about physics so they made the 'roller-coaster' reeeeallly steep. I freaked out so bad I hid my face in Viv's shoulder.

I got scared in the Jurassic Park ride too, but only towards the end when the roller-coaster took a steep dive. Other than that, the rubber dinosaurs just looked silly.

Next up was the Universal Studios tour. We were taken to the sets where movies are shot, and shown how some of the cool effects are executed in movies. I also found out a lot of stuff is not what it seems in the movies!

This, for example, is actually just a plain wall! The door, window, bricks and pillars are all painted.

We saw famous cars from movies in the transportation department.

This car was used in The Mummy Returns.

The Knight Rider. Viv could hardly sit still when he saw it!

Cars from Back To The Future

Car from The Fast And The Furious

Next up was a demonstration of how car accidents are shot, particularly the ones where the cars go flying in the air before they explode.

Check this out. The 'flying' car doesn't really fly, it's just elevated at an angle and photoshopped later!

The following video gives a great view of how these 'accidents' are shot.

This was another demo -- how to create a flash flood in 30 seconds!

The sprinklers turn on...

... and water from a small dam is released, giving rise to the instant flash flood!

Several areas had these old-styled houses. The guide said that they were used to shoot flashback scenes or to create the effect of places like Mexico.

Psycho recreated... spot the guy holding the dead body?

He keeps the body in the car...

...and advances towards our tram holding a knife! Screeeeeaaaam!!

Set of an airplane wreck... it looked scarily real.

Next, we were taken through a tunnel where eerie effects and sounds from The Mummy were created to scare us. We also entered an underground railway track where one of the carriages derailed and skidded dangerously to our tram, making us scream ourselves hoarse, but it was all staged. Amazing stuff.

The end of the studio tour

We also went for the Shrek show, which was being touted as a 4D show. "What the heck is a 4D show?" I asked Viv. Once we had seen the show, I was still wondering if the 4th D was the fact that the seats were shaking (e.g. when the characters were on horses) or that water was being sprayed on us (e.g. when a character sneezed. YUCK. I know.). We checked the list of attractions and turns out we had managed to cover almost everything. The only remaining ride was 'Revenge of the Mummy'. I had already freaked out at the Simpsons ride, so I went, "What the hell, how much scarier can this be?"

The answer: VERY.

We should have known when they asked us to keep everything we had in lockers, before we boarded the ride. The ride was in complete darkness, and there were mummies dangling all over the place. And it was so fast that I felt like my cap was going to fly off -- no wonder they asked us to keep everything in the lockers. Once again, my face found refuge in Viv's shoulder, while I struggled to find my voice just so I could scream "GET ME OUTTA HERE!"

And just when you thought you came to a stop, the whole thing started moving backwards, at the same crazy speed as before. I was shaking when I got out. They had indeed named the ride well, because "MUMMY!!!!" was what was going on in my head throughout the ride.


My insides had melted, but check out the big fake smile.

It was a good thing we had gone on a Monday, otherwise the crown would have been unbelievable.

Near the exit

Signature 'we were there' shot

We had to walk through the nearby mall to get back to our car.

We saw this on our way back. Wonder how it would be do this. We almost did, but got put off by how contorted the facial muscles got. Click to see a larger version, and look closely at the person's face.

Later, we met up with some university friends for dinner at Palms Thai restaurant. One of them has the surname Bajaj and he was telling us how it gets murdered in the US by people who read it as 'Baha', 'Bahai' and what not. Hilarious. We spent hours reminiscing about the old says over yummy Thai food. It's really amazing how half of our friends from university seem to have moved to the US.



  • Bhai on Bike! :O


    great pics!! looks like u had soooo much fun :D
    Both of u are lookin awwwesome :)

    By Blogger Tejal, at 9:45 PM  

  • Arey waah! Stunts vunts...maze hain :)

    Text kab aaega?

    By Blogger N, at 2:37 PM  

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