After more than a decade, a classic Disney 3D show has returned to Disney themeparks to thrill a new generation of Michael Jackson and ride fans.
Given the resurgent interest in Michael Jackson after his untimely death from a drug overdose in 2009, the Disney Company has resurrected his legacy for a new generation. And having worked with the pop icon 25 years ago, they had all the elements they needed to tell a new story.
In the Imagination! Pavilion at Epcot, talented filmmakers have re-imagineered the classic 3D production of “Captain Eo,” a Star Wars-like parable starring Michael Jackson and a colorful crew of robotic and fuzzy space creatures.
The original 17-minute film, which debuted in 1986 at Disneyland, was made by Academy Award-winners director Francis Ford Coppola and executive producer George Lucas. The production, estimated to cost $17 million dollars at that time, was produced using the special Disney 3-D or dual-strip 3-D technology.
According to Thomas Smith, Social Media Director for Disney Parks, the attraction “Honey, I Shrunk The Audience” was closed to accommodate the revival. Captain EO played at Disneyland through 1997, where it reopened in March 2010. The highly anticipated event attracted fans such as Justin Bieber and Ryan Seacrest (pictured above) to Tomorrowland.
The original Disney creative group teamed the filmmakers with composer James Horner to make what’s essentially a long-form music video of young spaceship pilot Jackson, who is sent to deliver a gift to the Supreme Leader (Angelica Huston) of some planet.
In an homage to “The Wizard of Oz,” Jackson leads a merry band of misfits from his spaceship to the Supreme Leader’s lair, then dazzles her and her retinue with his music and dancing. Two of the songs Jackson composed for the film,”We Are Here To Change The World” and “Another Part Of Me,” became hits.
The refreshed Captain Eo is now presented as a 70mm print using current 3D technology. The theatre is equipped with motion-controlled seats and very engaging sensual effects. Acoustical improvements made to its sound system guarantee that fans of all ages will be able to appreciate Jackson’s music and beat.
For many, the best part may be the 6-minute waiting period outside the theatre, in which a behind-the-scenes video is shown of the production of the original film. Much less intimate than the posthumous “This Is It” documentary of Jackson’s final tour, it nonetheless gives viewers an up close look at these artists — all sporting that 80’s long hair — engaged in the creative process.
Families will find that Jackson’s enormous talent, even in this somewhat dated and derivative story, still shines through.
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