Something really big is coming to American Dream (really!)
The Giant, the world’s tallest moving statue, will lumber into New Jersey mall
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American Dream, the humongous shopping, entertainment, and dining complex just outside New York City, is already audacious. The country’s second largest mall (behind the equally outrageous sister property, Mall of America in Minnesota), it is home to the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, the DreamWorks Water Park, the Big Snow indoor ski slope, an indoor skating rink, and about a gazillion places to shop and eat. Now comes word that The Giant at American Dream will loom large at the New Jersey spot.
At a height of 54 feet, or nearly six stories, The Giant, which is set to debut January 2025, will strike a commanding pose in one of the complex’s courtyards. According to its developers, the striking figure will be able to morph into anybody through the use of a matrix of sophisticated LEDs embedded in its exterior. Plans call for the statue to spring to life every hour and transform into famous people, including modern-day celebs as well as historical figures, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abraham Lincoln.
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I’m not sure whether it is correct to identify The Giant as an animatronic robot, but it will have limited arm and head movement. It will also be able to speak and sing, although it will feature a projected mouth rather than a mechanical one.
It appears that mall visitors will be able to watch the show for free. But I’d imagine there will be a fee charged to those who want to participate in the accompanying The Giant Exhibition. There, guests will be able to enter what are described as “volumetric scanning pods” and create a dimensional avatar of themselves. Participants will then be able to manipulate their digital clone and place it in a variety of augmented and virtual reality environments. And get this: For what I’m guessing might be an additional fee, guests will also be able to have their scanned likenesses displayed on The Giant for the hordes of Foot Locker and Hot Topic bag-toting shoppers to gawk at. It should give new meaning to living large at the mall.
Because it will be at the shrine to consumerism and capitalism that is a mall, The Giant will also be used as an, um, giant billboard to hawk stuff, or what the press release announcing the attraction refers to as a “platform for brand celebration.” The American Dream also plans to use the figure as a backdrop for concerts and events. I don’t know if it’s in the works, but it would be quite a spectacle if The Giant could somehow be incorporated into musical performances and take on the persona of artists.
The attraction is being developed by The Giant Company, which is based in Ireland. The American Dream will be the site of its first installation, and the company says it has plans to build additional giant figures at locations around the world. It also says it is creating an even bigger, 82-foot-tall Mobile Giant that could temporarily appear at festivals, sporting events, and other happenings.
The following video from The Giant Company isn’t about The Giant at American Dream, but the renderings give a good sense of the wild concept.
I could see giant figures like these at theme parks, either as standalone attractions or, perhaps even more intriguingly, as part of dark rides. Imagine a contemporary take on Adventure Thru Inner Space or Body Wars but in an enormous show building that could feature a huge character with its arteries, nervous system, and internal workings pulsing as it beckons miniaturized guests.
Who would you want to see represented as The Giant? Would you want to scan yourself and be projected onto The Giant? How might you envision the concept be used at parks?