From Marvel movie to attraction
The whole world is already familiar with superhero movies, but how do you translate them into a physical experience? Disneyland Paris has worked hard in recent years to be able to take visitors into the Marvel universe. The result, the Avengers Campus, opens on July 20 at Walt Disney Studios Park. “We put our heart and soul into this,” artistic director Beth Clapperton tells NU.nl.
Helping Peter Parker (Spider-Man’s real name) avoid a disaster with duplicating robots, or being shot into the universe as a roller coaster superhero: these are two of the attractions that will soon open in the French amusement park.
Thanks to an investment of 2 billion euros in 2018, Walt Disney Studios Park will expand considerably in the coming years. The first result is the Marvel Avengers Campus. The themed land, which has already opened in Los Angeles, has several attractions around superheroes. Some are taken directly from the United States, others can only be found in Paris.
“A few years ago, we started discussing how we could translate the world of Marvel into something physical,” says the designer. “You start with the basic principles; they are always epic stories with a human core. We wanted to come up with a place that the Avengers could have made.”
“The story now is that they want a world with more heroes. Through their campus, they hope to discover and train new superheroes. Within that, it had to be about core principles, such as optimism and the power of cooperation. In terms of appearance, we kept the cinema films and let go of the comics more.”
Compress story into a few minutes
Clapperton often translates films into attractions. For example, she previously worked on the attraction that was based on the Pixar film Ratatouille. “You start with a story and squeeze it together into an experience that lasts four or five minutes. That’s never the same as an hour and a half movie. So you have to dissect it and tighten it up.”
“In the meantime, you are also thinking about how you want to put in your attraction. Will it be something you physically walk around in, will you get to see film footage? You look for pieces of tools to tell the story.”
From Marvel movie to attraction
As powerful as film’
The process of translating a film into an attraction takes years, Clapperton explains. “I started this project in November 2018, but a smaller team had already started it a year earlier.
The entire process can be divided into three parts. After a concept phase in which you let your imagination run wild, everything is designed with three-dimensional drawings, and then the real production starts. Those three phases take about the same amount of time.”
Since a lot has already been thought of in the film universe, Clapperton also had to move within the beaten track. Doesn’t she feel inhibited by that? “Certainly not,” she responds.
“On the contrary. The richer the Marvel universe gets, the more ways we find to tell a story. If you translate something cinematically into a physical world, you sometimes encounter physical limitations.
For example, we don’t have a film trick to make someone fly, so as imaginers we use other tricks. So you also have many creative possibilities to tell a story. I think that’s just as powerful as film.”
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