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3D or No 3D? That is the question.

October 23, 2010

Even though I’m going to talk about the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot, I won’t be discussing the “Journey Into Imagination with Figment” ride. You know, the one with the guy from Monty Python no one under the age of 35 knows who the hell is — the one that was so bad, it had to be re-done after it was re-done — and still sucks balls compared to the original. I’m not going to discuss that right now, that’s a topic that deserves its own article.

The criticism in this article, and for the most part in this entire blog, is not aimed at Imagineering. Those fine ladies and gents are still coming up with great ideas and if given a free hand, would still be blowing us away with their creations. No, we’re sending the blame straight to where it belongs – to Team Disney Orlando (TDO) corporate suits. Like Kevin Yee says over at MiceAge, “declining by degrees”. These brilliant minds brought you Space Mountain with all new drive-by audio as an answer to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. “If we can dream it, then we can do it” is obviously not on the bulletin board in the TDO accounting office. But I digress, let’s get back on topic:  Captain EO.

Captain EO

Disney's EPCOT Captain EO | He's beautiful!

First off, I want to confess I was super excited when I heard Disney was bringing this attraction back in July. That said, is it really a good thing for Disney, fanboys like myself are drooling in anticipation over the return of a 23-year-old 3D movie. What does that say? Lowered expectations….check. What I would really like to touch on, however, is the continued presence of 3D movies in the parks in general.

As a guy, I love technology. Modern Marvels is one of my favorite shows, and to the chagrin of my ex, I could watch the history of concrete, transfixed for hours. One of the reasons I love theme parks is they use advanced technology to transport us to places and show us things which would not otherwise be possible.

Back in the early ‘80s when Epcot was Epcot Center, and the new park on the block, the idea was to get us jazzed up about the future. We learned in the future we were going to have cell phones, satellite TV, and the internet to communicate around the world and everything would be wonderful. What they failed to mention was each of these things was going to cost us another 70 bucks a month, but that’s not important. Right? Technology was going to make our lives better. We were going to advance as a civilization.

Fast forward to today’s Epcot. Where’s the optimistic hope for the future? Innoventions? Almost everything there is in the marketplace already. Where’s Horizons to tell us what the future’s going to be like? Ugh, don’t get me started on Horizons…again, another separate article. No, today’s Epcot is firmly rooted in the present. I think this is something that bothers most of Disney’s biggest fans almost subconsciously. I love Epcot. It’s my favorite Disney Park, but something’s missing and I can’t put my finger exactly on it. I think there’s simply too much commonplace in the parks, including the 3D movies. Go over to YAHOO!  movies and check the listings. I bet there’s at least one, if not multiple 3D offerings at your local multiplex right now. Not to mention, you can now buy a LCD 3D television for your home!

Over at Universal Studios, discussions about which attraction to replace next always seem to center around ET or Jaws. What about Shrek 4D? After all, a mere seven years after it’s opening, not only does it use outdated tech, but the ride film is available commercially! I can’t duplicate Jaws or ET in my living room, right?

But for now, I guess I’ll moonwalk over to Epcot and check out Captain EO every couple of months. I never do Shrek because in my humble opinion, except for the preshow gags, it sucks (could be the bitter Hitchcock fan in me). I know what you’re thinking. What about Mickey’s Philharmagic? Since it’s essentially a kiddie attraction, it doesn’t bug me as much.

Sometimes the good has to go out with the bad. So, hopefully, within the next half decade or so, 3D movies are completely eradicated from the parks and replaced with something more exciting — and innovative.

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