"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.