Thursday, July 11, 2013

Disneyland Review: Captain EO Tribute

Stars: 1 out of 5
Pros: You can sit indoors for 17 minutes.
Cons: The show isn't really worth the comfort.
The Bottom Line
Only nostalgia
Is reason to revisit
Pure eighties flashback

Flashdance Back to the 80's with Michael Jackson

Captain EO was the first of Disney’s 3D attractions back when the technology was popular in the 80’s.  Since I was never a Michael Jackson fan, I never bothered visiting until they brought it back as Captain EO Tribute after Michael’s death a couple years ago.  I was curious enough to go see it, but I’m not really a fan.

This show is located in a theater in Tomorrowland.  If you are facing the entrance to Space Mountain, it’s on your right.  There’s usually never a wait, the only thing keeping you from getting in is the show ahead of you.

Basically, this is a 17 minute movie/music video that is in 3D and features some effects in the theater.  The story revolves around Captain EO (Michael Jackson) and his group of cohorts (a variety of puppets) who are on a mission of peace.  They land on a planet, where they are immediately taken prisoner and taken to the Supreme Leader (Anjelica Huston), a nasty looking woman who is more machine than human.  She sentences them all to harsh penalties, but Captain EO says first they come with a gift.  As he begins to sing “We are here to change the world,” the various soldiers and goons of the Supreme Leader get transformed into back up dancers, meaning they are now on Captain EO’s side.  But will this gift be enough to transform even the Supreme Leader?

Every single second of this show screams 80’s at the top of its lungs.  There are the effects, which was okay for the 80’s but pale by today’s standards.  There are the puppet characters.  There are the hairstyles and costumes.  And let’s not leave out the very 80’s music and dancing.  If you are feeling some 80’s nostalgia, you’ll love this show.  Otherwise, you’ll hate it.

The 3D effects look pretty good.  It’s not like the shows they do today where there is something coming out at you.  Still, they add some dimension to the show.

At one point, we get a blast with air and a few lights flash in the theater.  Other than that, the only real effect is the seats in the theater bouncing.  They shake when the ship crash lands, and they bounce again when the music starts in time to the beat.  It’s kind of fun, but quickly grows tiring.

I have some friends who are thrilled they brought this back.  They loved it originally and love it again now.  I, on the other hand, loved the replacement show they took out to bring this one back, so I was already biased against it.

The funny thing about nostalgia is, it really only works for stuff you already loved.  Since I am not a Michael Jackson fan nor saw this show as a kid, all I can see are the bad effects and cheesy costumes and dated elements.  If I were a fan, I’m sure it would make me smile and be all gooey inside.

I recently gave this another chance with a theater that was three quarters full.  There was some cheering the first time we saw Michael, which quickly turned to laughs or giggles when he spoke in his high pitched voice.  From there, the only noise I heard were laughs at some of the more dated elements.  The cheering was gone by the time the movie was over.

As an unrelated note, I can't help but think of the Borg from Star Trek as I watch this movie.  Yes, it predated the reboot of that franchise, but the Supreme Leader and her goons share much with those famous villains.

On the plus side, this is in a theater inside.  That means you are sitting down in air conditioning if the day is hot.

But really, that’s about the only reason I would recommend Captain EO Tribute.  The few moments of entertainment aren’t worth the time you’ll spend in the 80’s.

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