Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Regrettable Captain EO

I saw Captain EO in its original run at Disneyland in the late 80's and early 90's. It ran out of steam and momentum back then. By the time it left, it was thought of as dated, silly, and very tired. Few people attended Captain EO by the time Disney pulled the plug and eventually replaced it with a new 3D film based their current hit movie franchise "Honey, I Shrunk the ...... "

Flash forward. Michael Jackson tragically passes away. For better or worse, he had a achieved mythic notoriety in his lifetime but no one could ever deny his musical genius. Honey I Shrunk the Audience has now lost its steam and momentum and few people bother to show up and watch the dated (but entertaining) 3D film. Disney needs to do something, preferably something that generates some revenue. Producing a brand new 3D film, especially one that is synced to a 3D theater is a costly proposition. But wait a minute - Disney flat out owns Captain EO. So now the executives and lawyers begin to weigh the pros and cons of bringing back Captain EO, knowing there are still legions of MJ fans out there who would be willing to pay the Disneyland hefty admission tag just to see their fallen hero one more time (and buy some conveniently available t-shirts and such on their way out of the theater). I had heard that in a private screening of EO in front of Disney executives, CEO Bob Iger had some major reservations about brining the film back but in the case good taste vs. some nice profits, the profits often win out.

And so the MJ fans came, lining up before dawn on opening day, and they continued to come for a couple of months or so. But then realization set in and people once again began to realize that Captain EO is very dated and silly beyond belief in the 21st century. Now the clamoring is to get rid of the thing for good but Disney without having any announced options has said it will play indefinitely mostly in front of a now half full theater audience most of whom leave the theater saying "I'm never going to waste my time with that again".

Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and my sister are huge Michael Jackson fans. Before going down to see EO, we all watched the great Michael Jackson documentary "This Is It" filmed shortly before his death. When Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and my sister left the EO theater on different occasions they both said the same thing "I'm never going to waste my time with that again".

So Disneyland is stuck with another albatross around its neck just like "Honey I Shrunk the Audience" and having an attraction that is begging to be put out to permanent pasture. Next week? Next month? Next year? For many, it can't be soon enough.

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