Saturday, August 16, 2008

Things I Hate: Should "Great" really be in the title?

So, since I'm such a filthy cynic, I've decided I want a new feature on this blog: Things I Hate. This little number is a totally honest observation about something either well-loved (i.e. "The Country Bear Jamboree" needs to fucking be refurbished), or something that everyone has a complaint about (seriously, what the fuck is Chester and Hester's Din-O-Rama even about?). That said, this week's complaint goes to:

Balls to the people who came up with the concept for this ride. A bit of history: "The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter" was an amazing attraction housed in the Interplanetary Convention Center in Tomorrowland. The plot? You're witnessing a demonstration of spectacular new technology from an ambitious - and sinister - intergalactic conglomerate. In the demonstration of X-S Tech's new Teletransportation device, you are greeted by what you believe is the company's chairman. Unbeknownst to you, Murphy's Law (every Imagineer's best friend) has intervened, and a hungry, clawed, winged, pissed-off motherfucker of an alien has been beamed down, right in front of your sweating faces. Before you can say "Spinlock", the alien has torn its way through the teleporter tube, an X-S Maintenance worker, and the power cords, all while it touches and snarls at you in a darkness only outer space can match. Just as you think you're lunch, one of X-S's scientists finds a way to lure the alien back and blow it the fuck up into satisfying chunks, to the relief of everyone in the tiny theatre-in-the-round.
Sound exciting?
Fucking right, it is! It was exciting, dark, a tad funny, suspenseful, and (most of all) terrifying. And the best thing? It was in the Magic Kingdom. The theme park where kids can ride Dumbo, fly with Peter Pan, shake hands with Mickey Mouse, and see a bunch of malfunctioning robo-bears guffaw their way through a blugrass extravaganza had a show where the blood of an innocent maintenance worker is poured on you while his screams are heard up above. It was the perfect escape from all the cutesy shit parents (or grown-ass folks looking for a good time) were surrounded by on all fronts. Unfortunately, the powers that be at WDI felt this attraction was too much. Walt wouldn't approve. It was terrifying to kids and even some adults. Never mind "It's Tough to Be A Bug"--that has synergy. We can gas children with fog while black widows and hornets attack them mercilessly, but they're surrounded by familiar characters.

There are no familiar characters in "Alien Encounter". So let's fix it. Let's create a show that seems more kid-oriented because of synergy, but is in essence the same fucking show.
What I'm saying here is, the huge change at "Alien Encounter" was NOT because of the content of the show. There are plenty of scary shows in Disney World. No, the changes occured were because right now, Disney is trying to Disney-fy all of the attractions there that are totally original. "The Living Seas" became "The Seas with Nemo and Friends". "El Rio de Tiempo" became "El Gran Fiesta Tour - Starring the Three Caballeros". Hell, even "it's a small world" is about to have it's artistic balls cut off in order to add an assload of Disney characters (as well as a "Hooray for America" sequence, but more on that later). Before we know it, "Journey Into Your Imagination" will remove Figment and toss in the Genie from Aladdin. "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" will replace the "Twilight Zone" atmosphere and shift to a "Suite Life of Zack and Cody" theme. Why not? It's cheaper than having to pay CBS all the time, and there's synergy galore!
However, Disney couldn't give "synergy" as a reason for changing a beloved attraction. The people won't understand, and the ones that do will be insulted. So they did something more insulting: they blamed the renovation on the content of the show. It had nothing to do with that! The show has all the terrifying effects "AE" did. Sure, there were no gross gags, like Maintenance One's death. But in place of that, a grosser gag: The little shit burps chili dog IN YOUR FACE. You're still in the same motion-restricting harnesses in the same darkness in the same theatre. The only thing that's changed is the plot (you're a security guard?) and the preshow (the once amazing character S.I.R. is now a bumbling, unfunny, annoying security chief robot whose name ends with the digits "90210" and - when he gets scared - takes a cue from "Finding Nemo" and claims "I think I just oiled myself." Har har har.). This show takes a concept that was great - scaring you using literally every sense you have - and dumbed it down so much it's reminiscent of an old "Family Guy" joke about Christina Aguilera: "You're an insult to every one of my senses. Even taste."
Disney did not want to have guests scared by an outsider, so they hired a cheap familiar entity to do it. They wrote this overnight, threw the show together - complete with poor animation and a finale that makes the whole show so pointless, it's like a spit in the face for spending the last 15 minutes there - and are reaping the benefits. Where an amazing show with the creativity and genius Disney lovers have come to expect once stood, there is now a piece-of-shit excuse for a merchandising opportunity. God knows you can sell more plush toys of Stitch than Skippy.
*Sigh*...when will Disney learn the theme parks are not mere extensions of fads the company holds rights to, but entertainment mediums of their own? They're beginning to remind me of another company...

1 comment:

RabidLeroy said...

No wonder why it's apt to refer to the attraction as Stitch's FAIL Escape.