Coaster Kingdom

Graphic-Free Review

Focusing on fact, Wild Wild West was a 1999 Barry Sonnenfield flop. The brassy claim of $200 million taken at the box office was watered down by the fact that $170 million was spent on special effects and a star-studded cast. A somewhat hammy plot left a bad taste in reviewersí mouths and kept the audiences at bay. What could have been an extravagant summer blockbuster came to fruition as a botched re-make of a 1960ís television series.

Wild Wild West stared two bickering special agents in post-Civil War America by the name of James T. West and Artemus Gorden (Will Smith and Kevin Kline respectively). Their mission was to seek and apprehend Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh), a bitter maniac who lost his lower-half of his body in the war who kidnaps a group of scientists employed to create a super-weapon in order to cease the newly re-United States from the president.

Even before Wild Wild West hit the silver screen, the Roller Coaster Cooperation of America (RCCA) and Intamin with the creative genius Werner Stengel  modelled the first Wild Wild West ride at Movie World in Bottrop, Germany, on early Cyclone designs such as Astrolandís historic Vernon Keenan Cyclone coaster.

Wooden coasters are now a fashionable part of the best parksí line-ups as opposed to a poor-mans alternative to a full-size steel coaster. When the wooden coaster is the ride of choice to accompany larger steel coasters for the very largest theme park operators, you perhaps come to realise that the wooden coaster is now a staple part of a line-up rather than a passing phase.

Movie World Madrid opened with three major coasters (Stunt Fall opened soon after), the second largest of which was the wooden Wild Wild West. Despite being the same in namesake as the original at Germanyís Movie World, Madridís version was an original design, again from RCCA and Intamin with Stengel at the drawing board.

Wild Wild West forms a golden backdrop to the weathered timber-framed buildings in the Wild West Territory at Movie World. The conical turns and structure of this coaster almost appear to be the rugged landscape of the Wild West in the distance forming the horizon to this bleak township.

The entrance to Wild Wild West is incredibly subtle; through the open doors of the Last Trust Bank. Inside, the room is bathed in a ghostly silence with the empty teller windows at the back and a deserted Post Office counter. Beyond the iron bars of the teller windows you walk through an open safe door before you exit back out into the daylight.

Soon after, you re-enter the building. After walking through a brief undecorated hallway, you enter a room with more pomp and extravagance than Buckingham Palace. Decorated in padded blue and gold wallpaper, the room is lit from above by a beautiful chandelier the size of a horse-drawn stagecoach and furnished with Gold-trimmed chests of drawers decorated by busts and ornate oil paintings.

At the top of a flight of stairs, the queue circumnavigates a mock coaster car with one seat atop a comic-book style spring. The station is a fairly large affair with riders counted through a turnstile. Whilst it is up to you where you sit, you can only fill available seats, so you are not afforded the chance to queue for the extreme front or back.

The station layout is fairly confusing as each car has itís own Ďpení, further split into three sections for each row. It makes it hard identifying what seats are empty, and if at the front or back of the car how to get there through a labyrinth of fencing.

Wild Wild West is equipped with Intaminís fairly decent ore cars. Three tiered rows per car afford every rider with a good view, and the seats and restraints are very comfortable. Lap bars invite stapling from staff, though, and the seatbelts use Intaminís reliable but ever-so-fiddly pinch-and-pull buckle, which can slow loading.

Sat in the none-too-substantial cars, the merits of Intaminís rolling stock become apparent. The low-sided cars really add to the feeling of exposure, something you rarely get on wooden coasters, and the restraints are as snug as you want them to be.

Leaving the station, you roll over the transfer track before swooping down to the left accompanied by whoops of excitement from riders. You smoothly engage on the lift, and quickly climb up to a height of 120 feet.

The view at the top is much like sailing a boat around the edge of a whirlpool before youíre dragged into the cyclonic vortex. You gradually spiral down clockwise towards the ground, getting faster, faster heading towards the lift hill structure now at ground level, still sharply banked to the side, you burst through the wall of wood into an upward spiral still going clockwise.

You regain about two thirds of the lost height before swooping back down in a smooth turning drop towards the ground and then climbing back over a large mountain of wood. Still banked to the right, you climb over this huge hill, drop smoothly back to the ground again before peeling through an 85ft turn-around.

A drop back to the ground in the opposite direction sends you reeling skywards, subject to a little earthy vibration before you swoop downwards into a counter-clockwise spiral, climbing back up into the structure of the overhead track and tunnelling through several parts of the structure.

The train breaks free from this spiral into a fairly promising series of bunnyhops, all of which fail to deliver, and the exit of one is trimmed before a last headchopper from the main turnaround sends you barrelling to the left and climbing onto the final, and rather sharp brakes.

Entering the station, encouraged by staff, most people heartily applaud Wild Wild West before embarking on the saga of unfastening the seatbelts and exiting the ride.

Lukewarm reviews aside, an average snapshot of riders on Wild Wild West will return many happy smiles. People are in love with the ride. Itís good to see people loving a wooden coaster, but when it comes to explaining why, things become quite a bit harder. Are they in love with the earthy sensation of Ďshake, rattle and rollí associated with wooden coasters? Are they in love with the crude and brusque transitions from element to element that you normally find on wooden coasters? How about the powerful negative G-forces that people cheer with excitement on Superman: Ride of Steel elsewhere in the park? No. Despite being a wooden roller coaster, Wild Wild West possesses none of these qualities.

Doesnít leave much to like, surely? Wild Wild West is a ride you have to bear with. Itís a grower and really focuses on the sensation of speed without inheriting a feeling of recklessness like Tonnerre De Zeus.

WWW shares many characteristics with a lot of the other great family coasters in Europe. Fun is at the very heart of everything Wild Wild West stands for. The ride shares the same impeccable pacing as Big Thunder Mountain and Trace Du Hourra, and speed is never fleeting, but nobody should ever have the feeling that theyíve dipped their toes into something they shouldnít.

Wooden coaster purists will have a hard time comparing WWW against the greats such as Tonnerre De Zeus, Megafobia and even in terms of airtime Stampida, but judging Wild Wild West on itís own merits you will find a really fun ride.

As dust rolls across the Western Territory, itís high noon. Will Smith (James T. West) stands at loggerheads with Werner Stengel (Rockabilly Rollercoaster). Who will win this shootout? Who will leave families shooting their pistols in the air with unanimous delight? Werner Stengal, thatís who.

Marcus Sheen

Wild Wild West

Including Giovanola
Congo River Rapids
Expedition Ge-Force
Indiana Jones
Lethal Weapon Pursuit
Ribena Rumba Rapids
Rio Bravo
Tutuki Splash
Wild Wild West

WBMW Madrid
Park Reviewed 
Batman: La Fuga
Riddler's Revenge

Rio Bravo
Stunt Fall
Superman: Ride of Steel
Wild Wild West

New Woodies
Robin Hood
Thunder Coaster
Tonnerre De Zeus
Wild Wild West

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Your Thoughts
Joli Islendingur

I loved it! I don't think this ride is too short, and if you want a more "relaxed" ride, I'd suggest the Loggers Leap. There is plenty of floating around there. The Tidal Wave is based on the short track, the big drop and the even bigger splash and I quite like it that way