Having been one of the multitudes of moviegoers disappointed by the film, I was skeptical walking towards the entrance of Terminator Salvation: The Coaster. The line backed up the main entrance, a mildly impressive burned out Jeep stood near the gate. I queued up and began my wait. Immediately red flags went up when I noticed a park attendant passing out slips of blue paper: “boarding passes”. This novel concept is aimed solely at eliminating line cutting by giving every single person in line a sequentially numbered ticket. You will not be let on the ride unless your “pass” is in the proper sequence, and for some reason, you’re not allowed to trade passes or leave and re-enter the line. However if you shill out the dollars for the FlashPass (Season Pass purchase required) then you have a separate line without any unecessary “boarding pass” confusion. All of this made it extremely difficult to have my funnel cake ($8, not worth it) delivered to me after I was well into the line, as I would need to ask permission from a park attendant to vacate the line.
The ride is touted as a type of throwback-style, a “woodie” (wooden rollercoaster). However, this concept behind the coaster began raising suspicions when I noticed the extremely drab and sparse decoration surrounding me for the 90 minutes I moved like cattle through the labyrinth of ropes and aluminum bars. Not only was the supposed simulated experience of a futuristic (metal) robot movie designed with wooden boards, they had not even gone to the trouble of painting them! Yet another sign of these harsh economic times. Well surely there was other awesome future-stuff to lay my eyes on?? Oh, yes, flatscreen TVs showing “bands” playing “music” you would expect hear on Disney radio. Seeing the Jonas brothers on stage really got me in the mood for a post-apocalyptic war pitting humans against highly advanced killing-machines. The entire floor of the whole area surrounding the ride, queue and all, were simple unpainted squares of concrete. All I was treated with were a few patches of shrubbery in the waiting line and more faux-burned out Jeeps.
No skulls? Hunks of metal? Dirt at least? Ok then, the walls were cool right? Sheet metal with “rust” colored paint sloppily dripped on it, with the perimeter fence topped with barbless wire. I guess the T-600 can be stopped by something that looks like a really long stretched out Slinky on top of a fence. And of course, like in the countless video games I have wasted away my youth playing and exploding, a king’s ransom in barrels marked “flammable liquids”. I suppose the copyright for “explosive” wasn’t available.
I have the strong suspicion that the idea that this ride was going to be a wooden rollercoaster with such and such a shape was decided long ago, and they just found a sponsor to pump money into their bankrupt park. Prefabricated rollercoasters to match the tract-housing of the surrounding suburban sprawl. With the abundance of ridiculous Jack’s Links jerky, Snickers, and Armitron watch ad posted throughout this shoddily constructed and ill-imaged theme park, it’s obvious they need the cash. This probably is the direct result clientele consisting of overly tattooed women and young men that wear black t-shirts with pictures of skulls and pinstripes on them, and apparently all have extreme sun-light sensitivity issues judging from all the sunglasses I saw being sported at dusk on an overcast day.
Once finally in the pre-show fly-thru station I was rewarded with some theme elements such as busts of half-built T-600s. I was led into a metal structure surrounded with bins full of various lengths of rubber garden hoses, which led me to believe that in the future all gardeners and day-laborers will be enslaved by Skynet to build the demise of the human race. Once inside the score from the Terminator films punished my senses in what felt like 17.6 surround sound and was instructed by dutiful Six Flags personnel wearing headsets to please watch the dozen or so flatscreens. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by two actors from the film (via video), Common and Moon Bloodgood unenthusiastically reading lines about the war being waged and the pivotal role I would live out by riding on 2,850 feet of track. Clearly these actors were on callback and only being paid scale. The short film detailed the events that led up to my riding the coaster could have been great were the acting not intercut with shoddy first-person shooter points-of-view made with shoddy CGI. Not even the props from the film surrounding me could help suspend my disbelief. It would have all been life-like and convincing if I were of elementary age and had never played an Xbox 360.
By this point I was so discouraged by all of the signals of the eminent downfall of society and the sheer display of Capitalism® at its finest aka Six Flags®©™ that I asked to ushered out of the God-forsaken attraction. Fuck this.