This next “movie” I want to talk about isn’t really a movie at all, but I think it’s exceptionally important. If you’ve ever gone to Universal Studies in Disney World in Orlando, Florida, you may have come across The Great Movie Ride. Or as I called it as a child, “the movie ride.” If you have no idea what I mean, check out this brief clip from a YouTube user:
This ride is exactly as it sounds, and as depicted here. You’re assigned to a cable car and get inside. Your tour guide often changes so that they become many different characters who will interact with the movies that you move through. Because that’s the main point of this ride; there are no fancy tracks, loops, or anything like a roller coaster. You move through scenes of famous films, and sometimes interact with them in limited ways.
It’s a simple concept, but it’s deeply moving. This ride works on the process of “immersion” where you are subsumed into the plot itself. You become part of the movie, part of the scenery, part of the set design. You consume the movie as the movie consumes you. It’s a brilliant way to structure a ride, since this is what the main goal of cinema–and most other forms of media–truly is: immersion.
Think about it for a second. The things that we love the movie, be they movies or TV shows or even just a character, end up becoming part of us. We quote them to friends and family. We have posters on our wall, or buttons or insignia on our t-shirts that are associated with the movie in some way. We love something and so we keep it around. This ride takes that idea and submerges you inside of it. And because you are so submerged, and because you can’t leave the ride, you end up liking whatever movie you’re a part of, simply because you’re a part of it.
The music and visuals also help to make this immersion possible. As a kid, when I first went on this ride, I didn’t like many of the movies. They were for adults. They seemed boring. But I loved this ride because I was part of the movie Singing in the Rain or Gone with the Wind or whatever else. I already loved some of the other films they showed–The Wizard of Oz being a big one–but the others I didn’t know, became part of me anyway. I think that’s really cool, and one of the moving experiences of this ride–or even this YouTube clip of it–if you give it a chance.
So give it a chance if you can. You might be surprised how compelling some movie scenes really are, and maybe, you’ll find a favourite in there too.