Ride / Men In Black: Alien Attack

Men in Black: Alien Attack is an interactive dark ride that is found at Universal Studios Florida. The premise of the attraction follows the story of the original Men in Black film, where the organization is looking for more recruits to add to its ranks. Both Will Smith and Rip Torn reprised their roles for the attraction, and Steven Spielberg served as a creative consultant.

Guests first enter what at first appears to be a World's Fair pavilion called "The Universe & You", but in the middle of the presentation see that it's just meant to be a disguise for the MIB headquarters. The guests are then taken into an elevator, and into the heart of the organization's operations where they are brought up to date on information regarding extraterrestrial activity, as well as getting briefed on their training.

After viewing an instructional video on the training called, "Doofus and Do-Right", guests are seated in vehicles that are equipped with interactive laser guns and get sent into training. Not too long after it starts, the training is interrupted when an alien invasion breaks out in New York City. The riders are forced into battle, where the goal is to blast away the aliens and earn as many points as possible. Along the way, they are pitted against an opposing vehicle and later on stumble upon a gigantic alien, which they are forced to press the emergency "red button" on the vehicle to deal with. The ride's overall outcome as to whether or not the guests achieve the rank of an MIB agent all depends on how well they score.

Development of the ride had begun immediately after the release of the original movie in 1997, when Universal saw the perfect ride potential in it. Early online insiders began spreading word of the attraction as soon as late 1998; and planning documents that were filed in 1999 describing the new attraction as an "alien-themed laser tag ride" had only further let the cat out of the bag. Universal officially announced the ride in October of 1999, a mere few months before it had its grand opening on April 14th, 2000.

Built on a budget of $70 million note , the attraction was at the time the biggest dark ride Universal had ever built, covering a space of 70,000 sq ft. It was also a record-breaker for Universal in terms of how many animatronics it contains: a whopping 127.

The attraction received lavish praise upon its opening for its sheer inventiveness, with it receiving a "Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement" by the Themed Entertainment Association. Although it is no longer being used in advertising, the attraction to this day is still viewed by many fans as being an Ensemble Darkhorseinvoked of the park, with most agreeing that it was way ahead of its time.

Despite the attraction's success, it is notable for being one of the few Universal attractions that has never been cloned to any of the other parks around the world.

Men in Black: Alien Attack provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Agent K is not in the ride, though this is Justified due to it taking place before the events of the second film.
  • Affectionate Parody: The posters in the queue line for "The Universe and You" were purposely designed to resemble the classic Disneyland attraction posters.
  • Alien Invasion: Played pretty straight in the ride's story.
  • Amusing Alien: The Worm Guys that can be seen hanging out in a lounge in the queue line.
  • BFG: Sometimes the employees can be seen carrying one around.
  • Big Applesauce: The invasion takes place in none other than NYC.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Several aliens in the ride are this.
  • Big Red Button: Every ride vehicle has one, and it's to be used only in "emergency situations".
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Very much present in the aliens in the ride.
  • Continuity Nod: Agent K is nowhere to be seen, as the attraction opened two years before Men in Black II came out.
  • Cool Shades: And just like the film, the serve an important purpose.
  • The Dog Is an Alien: Frank the Pug appears in the ride. If you shoot his collar, you'll get bonus points.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The ride vehicle will spin violently every time an alien hits it.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: Same as the film.
  • Extranormal Institute: The Men in Black facility itself.
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: As mentioned above, a red button appears in every ride car. Like in the film, you are told never to press it. However, by the end of the ride you face a giant alien that's immune to your weapons. Guess what you have to do?
    • A cheesy instruction video seen while in line on the ride explains exactly WHY you don't press the button; it's a nuke capable of frying the more Kaiju-esque aliens.
  • Golden Ending: The "Galaxy Defender" ending, which usually can only be earned if at least one person in the vehicle scores over 550,000 points.
  • Historical In-Joke: And a rather dark one at that. A bulletin board paper in the queue states that JFK's assassination was indeed a conspiracy, as he was going to reveal to the world the existence of aliens.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Despite there being a whole army of aliens throughout the NY streets, virtually none of them are able to successfully hit your vehicle.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Many of the aliens seen take on a rather insect-like look.
  • Internal Retcon: What is done to the guests at the end of the ride via Neuralyzer.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: One alien pleads to the riders, "Please! Don't shoot! Don't shoot!", only to reveal that you just walked right into an ambush and orders his cronies to open fire.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Again, what ends up happening to the riders.
  • Light Gun Game: The ride itself is this.
  • Masquerade:
    • One alien in particular attempts to disguise itself as Steven Spielberg.
    • Another alien disguises itself as a baby in a carriage.
  • Lured into a Trap: As mentioned above, one alien leads the riders into an ambush by pretending to be innocent.
  • The Men in Black: Speaks for itself.
  • The Mole: The riders in the vehicle beside you are revealed to be evil aliens in disguise.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on how high or low your score is.
    • Bug Bait: If you do absolutely abysmally, J will mock your performance before neuralizing you.
    • Cosmically Average: The most common ending for guests. You are told that you zigged when you should have zagged before getting neuralized.
    • Galaxy Defender: J praises your performance and it's said that your suits will be ready "next Wendesday". However, you still end up getting neuralized anyway.
  • Oh Crap!: The reveal of the gigantic bug at the end. note 
  • Person with the Clothing: The MIB, with their black suits and all.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The previously mentioned alien disguised as Steven Spielberg. The newspaper he's reading is saying something about Jurassic Park III.
    • There are three buildings inside the attraction that have shout-outs on their signs:
      • One building is titled "The I.M. Hotep Jewelery Store", a reference to Imhotep from The Mummy (1932).
      • Another building is titled "Flaming Moe's", an obvious nod to The Simpsons
      • Finally, there's a building with the name "Louie's Taxi Service", which references the Taxi show and its character "Louie".
  • Stealth Pun: If one shoots the alien disguised as Steven Spielberg, it will reveal that it has three heads, a joke on how the Dreamworks company has "three heads": Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen.
  • Swallowed Whole: This happens to the riders, until they blow up the big bug.
  • Welcome Episode: The queue line operates as this for the guests.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Do really poorly, and Agent Jay will sputter at your performance, suggesting that you get back in line to try it again, or point to where the "Men in Pink" attraction is.
  • Toilet Humor: Before getting blown up, the big bug lets out a particularly loud belch.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Most of the unarmed aliens in the ride don't make much of an effort to hide themselves.