This past weekend we got the opportunity to check out the Legacy of Arrow documentary prior to its wide release this Friday. Below Gregg and RD will share their thoughts on the documentary hopefully without giving too much away. And of course, once it's released on Friday we will be posting the links to the online streaming.
The Legacy of Arrow begins long before most people's exposure with the company when they were a BIG part of Disneyland's opening and of course the creation of The Matterhorn in 1959.
I really enjoyed the opening part of the documentary and learning a bit about the company before it was "Arrow Development".
There was much I didn't know about how the original factory was built and some of their early attractions in the bay area.
There was a lot of great rare footage from the early years of Arrow which was fantastic to see, much of which I hadn't seen before.
My biggest issue was the Disney segment of the movie. While the Disney connection is/was important to the ultimate legacy of Arrow I do have to say that I felt a little too much time was spent on this aspect of the company.
I think this is one part of Arrow that has been covered extensively in other things and I personally would have preferred to have it not take up so much of the film.
That said, the way it was presented here was amazing and I think Disney fans will enjoy the stories.
But at the end of the day, this part of the film concentrated more on Disney than on Arrow. if this was a Disney documentary that would have been great.
Other than coasters, Log Flumes are my favorite kind of ride, and I know I'm not alone. For me, the development of the Flume and Mine Train was my favorite part of the movie as it showed the true innovation and brilliance in what Arrow was doing.
Of course this wasn't without a few hick-ups and bad protoypes. It's is still amazing that in the days before computers they were able to do some of the amazing things they did with just design, build and test.
I'm not sure if they knew it at the time, but they totally changed the Amusement Park industry with the rides of this era and I hope their legacy of building unique rides continues with other companies in the future. The film does a great job of highlighting this innovation in the 60's and 70's.
The partnership with Vekoma was the part of Arrow I had very little previous knowledge about. I've always been more about going out and having fun, not caring who built what and in what year.
But seeing how they partnered with Vekoma which turned out to be a very bad thing in the end (for Arrow and for our necks) was enlightening and I have to say, kind of sad. .
When Arrow built Magnum XL-200 there was no way of knowing that kind of signaled the beginning of the end. It was such a tremendous success and essentially started the coaster wars. It seems the only company that didn't benefit from this was Arrow itself.
Still, it's so fun to look back on rides we can all remember seeing built by arrow and their ultimate competition Intamin and B&M.
The filmmakers have managed to take us through the entire history of Arrow in just over an hour, and it seems like it just flew by. It was entertaining, enlightening, informative and most of all showed off some of the best things about this industry we all love.
In 100 years people will still be looking back on the rides Arrow created (probably not riding them) and hopefully seeing the input of this company in their 1,000 foot tall 42 inversion coasters.
Overall, this was a pretty good documentary - with some insane shots of defunct rides & some prototypes which never made it off the Mountain View grounds - and interviews with some of the people who were closest to the project itself.
The format works nicely - though it should have been broken down a bit more by era. Personally, this is where it falls apart - namely the time-jumping order of attractions mentioned (one that caused my hair to stand on end: Vortex opened before Dragging Iron...) as well as being focused perhaps in the wrong directions.
Some of Arrow's greatest legacy attractions were covered quite well - including Matterhorn, Loch Ness Monster, Big Bad Wolf, Runaway Mine Train & others - but again, I find some things could have used a better focus & attention.
Let's take Matterhorn, for example: The concentration seemed to be more on Disney's influences, and less on Arrow's contributions - while at the same time not focusing on the RIGHT Disney influences and on how they mixed together with Arrow's innovations. Bob Gurr described the process perfectly in a presentation he gave to the Walt Disney Family Museum back in 2013, and I feel he should have been used quite a bit more in the descriptive process of Arrow's design & build of the first tubular steel coaster.
At the same time, some of Arrow's mistakes were focused on while others were completely forgotten - and the focus was shifted away from some, and towards others.
Just about every coaster-fan knows about Kings Island's original BAT - and the notoriety it developed over the years for being a testy design that failed miserably. And yes, we heard of the infamous Arrow Bobsled prototype - and its own failures to succeed. The same can be said of a few of the prototype systems involved - including the Suspended Corkscrew - as well as some of the more daring log-flume elements. Very little mention of the Spillway element's history is missing - where only ONE remains in the USA - having been removed from most parks flumes which had them.
Yes, I'm being very picky - but anybody who reads anything I write knows that. Details are important when you are talking about a major history piece. And here is where I go bezerk. The focus of the documentary such as this is that it should be on Arrow - but not to put them on a pedestal as the greatest company in the history of ever.
I have a LOT of respect for Arrow (My #1 coaster worldwide is an Arrow...) but some of the claims of their being the only major innovator in steel coaster technology are far-fetched, especially in light of Schwarzkopf's master works installed throughout the USA at the VERY same time & junction - some of which have outlasted their Arrow neighbors by many years (See also: Whizzer vs. ShockWave at Six Flags Great America.) In a way, this takes away from the objectivity of the documentary format, turning it into a publicity article for a company that now survives primarily in memory.
Overall though a lot of what we see is some very good & rare footage - and some outstanding interviews with a few of the key people involved with Arrow's history. Some things could be revised, others omitted, and detail focused elsewhere would produce a much more refined and more cohesive production.
So what is the ultimate legacy of arrow? Let us know in the comments below once you've seen the movie. We'd love to know your thoughts.
We want to thank the filmmakers for allowing us to review the film prior to it's big release tomorrow. If you are even remotely a fan of theme parks or coasters you will absolutely enjoy this. Those involved should be very proud of what they have created and we can't wait to see what they come up with next.
Our suggestion, use a YouTube app on one of your gaming systems/AppleTV as it looks really great on the TV, no issues with resolution, etc.
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