Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oh Dear God, No

This morning, I was looking at my Twitter feed, not really expecting anything serious to catch my attention, when all of a sudden I found myself spewing chocolate milk ALL OVER my computer because HOLY CRAP WHY:

"Bob Iger and Tom Staggs just announced a long-term creative partnership with James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and Fix Filmed Entertainment to bring the fantasy world of AVATAR to life at Disney Parks. And it'll all begin at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort."

Really? Really? Excuse my extremism, but isn't this idea a tad bit insane? I know "Avatar" made boatloads upon boatloads of money all over the world for maybe 15 consecutive months, and it was a favorite among people looking for our generation's "Star Wars," but is this seriously a fine way to go? This partnership makes absolutely no sense.

I'll go ahead and put this out there: I hated hated hated "Avatar." I thought it was tacky, over-rated, boring, long, dumb, loud, and obnoxious. It lacked any real original thematic ideas, and while the world of Pandora had some interesting creative concepts, it just wasn't enough to keep me enthralled for two hours. I'm a huge James Cameron fan, I love "Aliens" and "Terminator 2," so I was excited beyond belief for this movie up until seeing it, but it left me feeling disappointed. Thinking it was a fluke, I went one more time to make sure I just wasn't letting a bad mood or something affect the experience. Nope. I disliked it more the second time. It was just....bleh. I didn't understand why everyone in the world was so obsessed with it, and why it was so well-received among sci-fi film fan circles. It just wasn't all there.

But this isn't a review of "Avatar." Just know that I hate it. So I'm not crazy about this idea. But tons of people love "Avatar," so they'll eat this up, I suppose. It just doesn't make sense that of all of the movies in the entire world to base a theme park land off of, this is the one. Sure, it made more money than anyone could have imagined, but that can't be enough of a justification (for TDO, it may actually be). I can easily imagine what the attractions will be like here, and it all seems so...Universal Studios-esque. Not that I'm ragging on the Studios, but it just doesn't seem like Disney Parks to take a movie that's not Disney-made and base an entire land of a theme park on it. And Animal Kingdom, of all parks! I know it ties in well with the "conservation" theme, but in a park that's built on a lot of simple, legitimate, non-gimmicky ideas (and some terribly gimmicky ideas - Chester & Hester, I'm looking at you) it doesn't seem sensible to slap an entire land based on "Avatar" in the middle of everything.

I'll give Disney Parks credit - they did a damn good job of concealing these plans from the public until they were ready to make an announcement. Everyone was hoping for an Animal Kingdom expansion at some point, but I don't think this is the one they were hoping for. In an effort to combat the business Universal is doing with "Harry Potter," they decided to go with an idea that seems hastily thrown together and a bit ostentatious. At least construction won't start until 2013; we still have a few more years with Animal Kingdom as it is.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Au revoir, Balzac!

First Fantasyland, then HISTA, now this?! According to recent reports, the hilarious and adorable Balzac ball kiosks spread throughout Disney World are on their way out. This saddens me, folks! The Balzac stands have become an institution in the parks, not unlike Dole Whips or issues with the Monorail. Honestly, can anyone remember a time they were walking through the parks, enjoying the scenery, and weren't pelted repeatedly in the head and chest with inflatable balls of varying size? It was a magical experience! And of all the cast members trained to essentially perform in their own environments -- the bellhop at Tower of Terror, the Tour Guide on The Great Movie Ride, or even someone performing maintenance around Tomorrowland -- none were better at sucking you into the atmosphere than the Balzac salespeople. Standing around playing with giant balloons required such rapt focus, such attention to detail and nuance that any visitor to the park would immediately be enamored with their plight. And those amazing balls were so vividly designed! With nearly every color imaginable streaked across a single ball, the mere sight of one evoked a Technicolor nightmare - a streaming fury of unabashed contrast emblazoned across a spherical symbol of resistance and power, like a collage of LSD-inspired fireworks thrown onto the heaving shore of our collective subconscious. The only thing that improves this piece of pure art is the word "Balzac" scrawled across the face of the ball, written with sharp, jagged edges, piercing the eyes with a mere glance. The fiery letters burn into the retina like the first time one reads Kerouac, or sees "Citizen Kane." It's a beautiful nightmare, twisted and raw, an orgy of fear and joy and hope and hatred.

I, for one, will miss Balzac and all it brought with it. If we could get something that comes close to filling the void left by these kiosks, we should all consider ourselves incredibly blessed.

My GOD, I want one of these.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So, I've gone and done it...

Just a brief update as I knock out a new article ("Why it takes so long for me to write - a look into laziness") - I just launched a Twitter, which I plan on using to write thoughts on smaller goings-on that a blog post is just too big for. You can follow me @projectxblog.