A documentary that focuses on a dangerously legendary water park and its slew of injuries and crimes along with child safety concerns.A documentary that focuses on a dangerously legendary water park and its slew of injuries and crimes along with child safety concerns.A documentary that focuses on a dangerously legendary water park and its slew of injuries and crimes along with child safety concerns.
So, yes, this documentary was an immense nostalgia trip for me and when I heard rumors and later saw early previews, I became incredibly excited for the release. My only fear was that it would disappoint and fall flat, as these things so often do after you've built them up in your mind and romanticized the memories.
Fortunately, my fears were completely unfounded. This documentary absolutely nails it, from the content to the commentary, from the crazy risk of the rides to the ultimate reward of immeasureable fun. Chris Gethard provides a fun, familiar and accurate historical narrative blended with contemporary perspective, which asks in hindsight, how this was allowed to go on for so long!? Other talking heads with first hand experience enrich the story with extraordinary tales of their own. And there's plenty of archive video footage to send you right back to the 80s and 90s.
If you weren't "lucky" enough to be embedded in this wacky world, you'd be forgiven for thinking a pinch of salt is required when listening to some of the anecdotes but from my own time working at the resort over the course of several seasons, I can testify to the complete credibility of the Action Park story as presented here. Working on the Tarzan swing, I'd need to rescue ten or more kids a day who despite the warnings, "the water is ice cold... if you're not an excellent swimmer, do not attempt this ride", would happily risk death and launch themselves into the abyss. Then there were the others who were too scared to let go and would swing back into the platform.
My favorite quote that sums up the entire film is "this was the last decade of unsupervised fun for kids". There is inevitable tragedy in this account of a legendary waterpark that simply couldn't exist in given today's standards for safety. For a "survivor" like myself, it raises the philosophical question, "Sure, we live in a safer world but at what cost"?
- Aug 30, 2020