The Bourne Stuntacular, the new stunt show at Universal Studios Florida, has opened for technical rehearsals and I was lucky enough to be amongst the first guests able to experience the new attraction.
The new attraction resides in the theater in the Hollywood area of the park that was previously occupied by the classic T2:3D attraction.
Before getting into the detail of The Bourne Stuntacular, I want to remind you that my experience came during technical rehearsals for the new show. Universal use signs and an announcement prior to the show to remind guests of that and inform us that some effects and other aspects of the show may not be fully functioning during our viewing. With that being said, everything seemed to be in working order, though I can’t be sure if any of the effects were missing.
Upon entering the building, guests will see a logo for the new attraction before being directed one of two ways for the queue. To the right is the extended, outdoor section of the queue, which was in use today simply because of the social distancing which great stretched the length of the line.
Once back inside the building (the outdoor section is skipped if you are directed to the left), guests will find several shots from the popular Bourne films on the walls, as well as a couple of prop vehicles. Additionally, there are dozens of monitors throughout the queue showing clips from the movies.
Guests are then directed into a large room for a pre-show. Again, social distancing was being enforced here, both by markers on the floor and instructions from Team Members. A large screen plays a lengthy video before the doors open and guests are allowed into the theater. Personally, I thought the pre-show video dragged on a bit and it seemed as though many of the guests lost interest before it was over. However, given that the actual show is about 20 minutes long, at least there is something happening to entertain guests for most of that wait.
To this point, both the queue and the pre-show were not exactly anything special, but once those doors open and guests take their seats, all of that changes.
The Bourne Stuntacular is an action-packed stunt show with just about every kind of effect you can imagine. Live actors and sets are blended perfectly with a gigantic screen on the stage. The stage itself and all of the moving set pieces are technologically fascinating as pieces come and go seamlessly.
The use of those pieces is a bit difficult to put into words. You might be thinking, “big deal, some set pieces roll onto stage and then roll back off.” That’s correct, but they also do so much more. The movement of set pieces and actors works in tandem with the screen so that they can enter and leave the stage without guests even realizing anything happened. They also don’t just move from side to side, but they actually move up and down and even turn, again all in conjunction with the screen.
Set pieces also come up from underneath the stage and disappear just as easily. Of course this is something that has been done for a long time, but again it blends perfectly with the screen. There are also plenty of other effects used in the show, like gun shots on the stage, wind, fire and of course, a misting water effect that the audience will feel at just the right moments.
All the technology and effects are great and really take the show over the top, but the real stars are the actors, who bring the action to live on stage. This show is loaded with really impressive stunts that you don’t see in your typical theme park stunt show. There are several moments throughout the show that made me audibly say “wow,” despite the fact that I was sitting by myself.
I was also able to experience the show twice, once in the very front row and once near the back of the theater. Both seats had their advantages and disadvantages. Believe it or not, some of the effects actually played better in the front row. However, that seat comes with all the issues you would have in a movie theater, including having to turn your head to see everything that’s happening on stage. From the back of the theater, I found I was able to see some elements of the show being set up before they actually took the stage, though that could be worked out in these rehearsals. The show was very enjoyable from either seat though, which leads me to believe there is really not a bad seat in the house.
The show ends with a great action sequence and the logo as Moby’s “Extreme Ways” (the popular theme from the movies) playing. It’s a great moment that, in both of my viewings, drew a big applause from the audience. Then, as guests exit the theater, they of course spill out into the new Bourne gift shop where they can find all kinds of great merchandise for the new attraction.
Overall, The Bourne Stuntacular is a great new addition to Universal Studios Florida. It really pushes the limits of what I thought was possible in a theme park stunt show both with great stunts from very talented actors and some amazing technology. I would expect, during the busier and hotter months in Florida, a lot of guests will look to duck into the theater for a break from the heat and will instead be treated to one of the most exciting shows they’ve ever seen.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”