The issues with Marvel being handcuffed by shoehorning the attraction into an existing space and my thoughts on the ‘intrusiveness’ (to put it charitably) of the exterior are my principle complaints about Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! I do not view those as minor quibbles, but I suppose what’s done is done.
When it comes to the substantive experience of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT, I was actually surprised with just how much Imagineering had accomplished to transform the interior in a relatively short amount of time. Moreover, it appears that a decent amount of money had been invested in the redo. I feared that this would be a hasty rush-job, but I was pleasantly surprised.
It felt a lot like Frozen Ever After in that regard: Imagineering had made lemonade out of lemons, doing some cool things with a repurposed environment. It was also nice to see (what I assume) was a decent amount of money being spent in the process, with some eye-catching additions that included an advanced Rocket Raccoon Audio Animatronics figure. All of this combined for an experience that–to my surprise–I really enjoyed. In fact, I thought Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT was downright fun…
That’s definitely the best way to describe Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! It’s a really fun attraction. You start in the lobby queue, which has fun references, fun graphics, and fun lighting. You continue into the pre-show room, which presents a fun and funny (albeit a bit surly) raccoon, and continue into another queue that’s also fun.
Then there’s the ride experience itself, which features fun music, and fun and rhythmic drop profile, and fun on-ride screen show scenes. When it’s all over, you’re laughing and smiling at the fun experience you just had.
There is definitely something to be said for fun. I think in large part this is why we enjoy summer blockbusters and super hero films, and both Guardians of the Galaxy definitely fit the bill as movies that are primarily fun (the first is also a good film, I’d say). To that end, Mission: BREAKOUT has captured the spirit of the films. It’s fun.
I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly good attraction if you were to break it down in an analytical sense. The plot is flimsy, some of the fun elements of the queue don’t make a ton of sense, and there are other ways you could pick apart the experience.
Most notably, a lot of the “thematic” elements are actually ornamentation masquerading as theme. There’s a lot of random wiring, cans of paint, and blinking lights.
I’m not particularly sure why a lot of this exists, other than to provide a distraction while waiting. I guess you could say this queue is like the fidget spinner of queues. (I’m not even entirely sure what that means, it just seems #relevant.)
Like a fun summer blockbuster, though, it’s sometimes best not to try digging below the surface. I know the idea of “turning your brain off” is cliche and smacks of anti-intellectualism, but I feel like Mission: BREAKOUT offers a type of mindless fun that is worthwhile.
Perhaps there’s a better explanation for why the attraction is enjoyable, but that’s the best I can offer.
I think this “it’s really fun” sentiment is pretty common among those who have experienced it. As I stood in the gift shop trying to capture photos (for far too long), almost every guest exiting was smiling, laughing, and commenting on just how fun of an experience it was.
I know that’s totally anecdotal, but I’m guessing this is and will be a pretty common reaction to Mission: BREAKOUT. It is undeniably fun.
An argument can be made that Disney theme park attractions should aspire to be more, or that it could’ve been even better and/or more fun if a fresh concept were designed for Guardians of the Galaxy from the ground-up. I think those are fair points.
In this case, though, I think the attraction succeeds primarily because its tone and the experience so closely aligns with that of its movies. It’s one of those things that just works.
So, for those who have asked whether Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT is better than the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror…I’ll sort of punt on that. I do think it’s more fun than its predecessor by a slim margin, but I think Tower of Terror is a better-quality attraction.
With that said, I don’t think Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT’s substantive experience is without fault. There are elements of fan service in the queue that seem like a bit much to me.
Imagineering has been doing this more and more in the last few years, from an increasing number of S.E.A. tie-ins to self-referential elements in attractions (Matterhorn and Star Tours are good examples).
I have mixed feelings about this. It can be fun and I’m sure is done with the best of intentions by those in Imagineering who are also fans of the parks, but it also comes across as a bit of a design-crutch. Fans eat up these references unflinchingly, without much scrutiny. In some cases, it feels like these references are a substitute for originality. As with sequels, what’s the point of an original idea if people are just as happy with a retread?
I suppose I’m just as distracted by the subterfuge of a “shiny” Figment or XS-Tech memo as the next fan. I thought seeing some of this stuff was “neat” even if I did feel a bit suspicious as to its inclusion.
In this case, I’m more or less fine with what was done. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT has an irreverent, self-aware vibe through and through, and brazenly including a bunch of material from the Disney Archives suits the attraction.
Of course it’s not going to answer the existential “how” and “why” questions beyond their representations, but that seems to be the general ‘wink and a nod’ style of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
That’s basically it for this ‘tale of two reviews’ for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! I’m guessing the split nature of this review means it won’t be well-received by either Mission: BREAKOUT ‘camp.’ I still really wish Marvel Land were all built at once, from the ground-up in a way that’s unobtrusive to what has otherwise become a thematically-cohesive park. I also wish this attraction did not come at the expense of Tower of Terror. Even with a mentality of “what’s done is done” I feel those are fair critiques, and even as Mission: Breakout is fun, I cannot help but think ‘at what cost?’
Despite that, I’m pleased with the ride experience on Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! It was more fun than I expected it to be, and feels like an entirely new attraction, not just a reskin of Tower of Terror. In terms of tone, it completely nails Guardians of the Galaxy, and is sure to be popular–especially with Marvel fans–as a result.
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EDIT: I meant to include some strategy and tips for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT in here, but thanks to my tangents at the beginning, this got a bit long…and I forgot. I’ll include that in my forthcoming ‘Summer of Heroes’ post.
Have you been on Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT? What did you think of the experience? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Any critique of your own to offer? Any questions about the attraction? I’d love to hear opinions on this–especially differing ones, so long as they’re respectfully presented!