T-Rex to Tiberius, the Time Elevator Experience
ROME - While my co-workers slogged away, proofing articles on Italy’s corruption, I slid out of my chair and took sanctuary in the multi-sensory cinema experience of the Time Elevator in Rome. Just one look at the floating, talking, Augustus head in the corridor told me I was in for a treat. Make sure to grab your crackers before entering, because this place oozes cheese.
The Time Elevator experience comprises of three movies with accompanying 5D effects: An Ode to Life based in the age of dinosaurs, The History of Rome, and a horror show reserved for parties, Escape from Bane Manor. Showtimes are every hour, and the experience is available in 6 languages.
Snuggled into little red theatre seats, brandishing our 3D glasses and snacks for the movie, the Ode to Life transported us billions of years into the past. We witness the first organisms on the Earth evolve into the terrifically intelligent human beings we are today. Tiny children cackle as the Velociraptor leaps over the branch and into our faces, while adults and kids alike shudder as arachnids creep onto the screen. Dinosaur spittle is thrust out at us as water dribbles from the sky in the auditorium, and we dive down ravines while following the flight of a Pterodactyl. It is the kind of experience that a polished mother would despise, but for those who are children at heart, joyous.
A thorough exploration of The History of Rome would require a tome. A mad Italian professor strides around wielding his magic time machine gadget, Michelangelo breaks down into tears while painting the Sistine Chapel, Caesar's life is cut short by some fantastic Italian-American actors: it is the perfect escape from the real world. There is history, yes, but the primary aim for these films is entertainment. Adults laughed at the brilliant dramatics, and children stared with wide eyes as the screen burst into flames during Nero’s reign. The movie took us on a journey from Romulus and Remus's furry mother, through the Renaissance and the Fascist era and dropped us off in the 21st century, ready to view Rome.
Director Serafino Mauro has grand ideas for the Elevator. He describes renovation plans for 2020 with vigour: “there will be a great museum just across the road. There will be a room designed as a gladiator’s arena, an area detailed like a Roman house, opportunities for the children to dress up as real Romans.” He gestures to the wigs perched on his mountain of paperwork, he opens the back door of the office to reveal rows upon rows of period costumes. I glance at my drab office outfit, and feel an urge to squeeze myself into a toddler-sized imperial toga hung neatly on the rack. I resist, but just.
The Time Elevator was as expected, an early 2000s video with special effects, and in that way it delivered all I sought in my morning away from the desk. In planning a trip here, just don’t forget your kids - they are your excuse for actually having fun as an adult.
The Time Elevator Roma’s website is linked here: http://www.time-elevator.it/?lang=en