Marvel 4D waxworks superheroes: report and pictures
|NEWS - MOVIE NEWS|
Smart and superpowered, they're no dummies...well, just this once, maybe...
[ CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VERSIONS (NEW WINDOW/TAB) ]
I tend to have considered Madame Tussauds a bit of a strange tourist attraction. Originally set up as a showcase for the many plaster death masks that Tussaud took of beheaded individuals during the French Revolution, who would have thought that it would one day become one of the most popular family days out in London? Yet it tends to retain the same sense of creepiness as it did in the 1700s – why do people want their picture taken with dead-eyed versions of famous people? I don’t know, but they do, and I’m not ashamed to say that I too got a certain thrill from seeing that Keira Knightley really is that gorgeous in the flesh. Or the wax. Whatever.
However, of far more interest to us in the nerd community is the latest attraction to be installed at the London branch: the Marvel 4D experience. We were invited along to the pre-press launch, and found ourselves surprisingly entertained and impressed at the detailed craftsmanship that had gone into the 6 month development of the project.
Directed by a team led by Joshua Wexler, working alongside Marvel Studios in LA, the ‘experience’ part is similar to the kinds of 4D experiences you’ve probably come across in other theme parks: a CG 3D movie with jets of water, air, vibration machines and little pokey things (get that image out of your mind...) installed in your seat, spraying you with jets as Spider-Man webs his way around London or Iron Man fires his repulsors. As far as the film goes, it’s nothing too special – clearly developed as a Madame Tussaud’s-themed attraction, on first viewing it seems like your average thrill ride, with some superior animation and genuinely exciting 3/4D experiences.
Of particular note are the simplest moments, not when you get prodded in the back just as Wolverine stabs at the screen, but the sheer 3D spectacle of seeing Spider-Man or Iron Man zoom around the cityscapes is exactly the kind of thing 3D was made for, and the large dome onto which it is projected lends a further depth to what can otherwise be quite a flat experience, despite the extra dimension. There are even some sneaky cameos (Stan Lee’s voice can be heard on the end of a line just before a telephone box is crushed), and some very telling glimpses at what is to come in the Marvel universe – the S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier design is very much based around concepts for the upcoming Avengers movie, and when speaking to film’s director after about whether the presence of Miss Marvel was any kind of an omen, a knowingly zipped-up mouth and a cheeky wink was his response...
Yet the most memorable and impressive parts of the new attraction are the superhero models themselves. Costing upwards of £150,000 per waxwork, the detail of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury are creepily and lovingly sculpted (I had a quick look under the eye patch too – there’s just another eye). A fully glowing Iron Man suit stands proudly in the centre of the display, while Wolverine looks on moodily from a corner. These are very much based around the movie versions, the likenesses of Jessica Alba’s Sue Storm and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine lending the heroes a beautiful reality that the pre-movie Spider-Man model lacks.
The other side to this coin is that the only models available are those that have thus far been in movies, or are at least popular enough to spend £150,000 on making into a model (the Punisher and Daredevil are conspicuously absent). Part of me kind of wanted more of an ‘experience’, more of a fully realised Marvel world rather than a few cameos from recognisable characters, but then I guess that’s really what Madame Tussauds does best. If for nothing else, go to have as close an encounter as you will get with some of your favourite heroes, and to have your picture taken looking as cool as I do with Spider-Man. He was really there you know. Honest. I touched him. - Rob Smart
PHOTO EXTRA: Pics by Philip Rackley
The Marvel 4D experience opens to the public tomorrow (Sunday 30th May). For more info, click here.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.