The Dark Knight Rises… From the Gold Coast? (Week 2)

Everyone has been talking about Christopher Nolan’s latest hit “The Dark Knight Rises” in which Batman’s legacy is revived. An undeniably good movie incorporating a series of unpredictable twists, incredible special effects and a cast which portrayed their characters perfectly. I’ll admit, I’m in love with this movie. As a person who doesn’t indulge in “favourites” this one has definitely struck a chord and slides easily into the top five; probably on par with “Inception.” However, the movie (which has so far grossed $732 million worldwide) has some humble beginnings of its own.

Hidden in the heart of the Gold Coast, Warner Bros Movie World has been cultivating the Batman phenomena for over 20 years. In 1992, a year after the park’s opening, Batman Adventure – The Ride opened to guests. The ride featured two separate pre-show areas followed by a motion simulator ride where riders see and move from Batman’s perspective following a synchronised screen storyline. In 2001, the ride was revamped and underwent a few changes to the video but the majority of the experience remained the same. To the extreme disappointment of many of Movie World’s guests, the entire ride was closed permanently in 2011. The parts were sold off to a German man who restores old ride modules, however, the Library from Wayne’s manor remains in tact. This may seem irrelevant, but it started a history at Movie World that continues today. Among the various pieces of original movie memorabilia that reside in the park, the new Batwing Spaceshot Ride, a Batman show, Batman movie theme music, regular appearances of the Tumblr (Batmobile, which is actually one of the original versions of the vehicle from the movie sets) and cast in character suits allow guests to interact and connect with the Batman franchises AND mean that the magic of Batman is eternal.

The Batmobile at Movie World on the Gold Coast

But here’s where I’m going with this- Movie World’s costume and wardrobe department create everything the staff wear and all the props they use. They make those all by hand, believe it or not. So they had designed and created an amazingly realistic bat suit for Batman to wear just prior to the release of “Batman Begins.” Someone in high places had obviously caught a glimpse of this spectacular creation and wanted to share its brilliance. One thing led to another, and soon Movie World was commissioned to create a “top secret” suit to be sent around the world for the promotion of the The Dark Knightmovie. As you can imagine though, Batman was under very protective licensing with Village Roadshow in the United States; how could a small time Australian theme park do a better job of making such particular suits than a company overseas? Well since Movie World had been working with the character for 17 years, they had learnt how to create durable suits that would work aesthetically and be practical during real life shows. Christophe Broadway, head of Entertainment said, “we can make them to a better quality at an affordable price because we have in-house knowledge of the suit. The original costumes for the movie are made out of a more fragile material and fall apart by the end of filming.”DC Comics and Warner Bros eventually realised this and gave Movie World the go-ahead to create the suits for the world. Each suit costs over $20,000 each and looks identical to the suits shown in the movie.

The lesson here is that although you may be a giant movie franchise making millions of dollars, but humble folks in Helensvale will make Batman’s suit much better than you. Arguably, the most important part of Batman. After all, where would Batman be without the disguise, safety and protection of his trusty suit?

The actual suit

You can read the official story here-

Caped Crusader suit coup for Movie World

And learn more about our magical theme park by visiting the following websites-

Warner Bros. Movie World Wikipedia

Gold Coast Theme Parks

On an additional note, I work at Movie World; I operate the rides there. It is definitely one of the most fun jobs to have and I can’t tell you how lucky I am to work in such a supportive and exciting industry. The best part? I still get excited when I see the characters come out. When Batman waves at me as he rolls past on the Tumbler, I get butterflies. And I think it’s always important to further this magic that comes from our theme park. It’s all about believing in an idea, like believing in Santa. Although the figurehead may not be “real,” the hysteria and hope live on in everything they stand for.

Here are some interesting videos to watch if you’re still interested. The first is an advertisement for the very first Batman Adventure ride and the second is the actual video that was used in the revamped version of the ride.

1992-1993 Advertisement

The Film

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

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