Invading IPs - Time to Let It Go?

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For so long I've been an advocate for keeping IPs out of theme parks and choosing instead to opt for an original approach. I believe this not only keeps the door open creatively but I also believe this helps preserve a ride's longevity and relevance for years to come, sometimes leading for the ride and its theme to almost become an IP in itself (hello Pirates of the Caribbean!).

So naturally, Disney World and their more recent endeavours have me smacking my head against a brick wall. Attraction after attraction of rides based on popular characters from classic Disney movies. Don't get me wrong, sometimes this works. Fantasyland, for example, has always been a celebration of our most beloved Disney characters and hence it made sense for New Fantasyland to expand upon this with The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarves Mine Train. And that I can deal with.

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Perhaps most badly affected by this invasion of IPs is Tomorrowland - once a fantastical glimpse into what our future might be that was equal parts retro and innovative has now become a playground for robots, aliens and...monsters apparently as Stitch, Mike and Sully and Buzz Lightyear find themselves nuzzled amongst Disney World veterans like the People Mover, Space Mountain and the Carousel of Progress. And my god is it ugly. And bland. So bland. The whimsy and strangeness about what makes a classic Disney attraction great wiped out in an instant in favour of selling more merch. *Sigh*

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There was a brief moment, a few years back, when it appear Disney were finally seeing sense by removing the abomination that was The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management and replacing it with something as close to the classic original as we could ever hope to get. And a recent surge in demand for the nostalgic and the kitsch had Disney World fans wide-eyed in the hope that maybe, just maybe, we might see things go back to the good ol' days.

But alas, no sooner had the dust settled from the uproar over the introduction of an Avatar IP of all things over at Animal Kingdom did a certain delusional snowman and his frozen singing sister pals threaten to move in over at EPCOT.

Not my beloved EPCOT!
No. Not EPCOT. Not our beloved EPCOT, arguably the last 'pure' Disney World park untouched by modern Disney movie tie-ins. EPCOT was always special to me because there really was nowhere else like it. Everything there is so incredibly bizarre and weirdly kooky and off the wall, how dare something so mainstream, arguably the most mainstream of all the most recent Disney classics seeing as one can't seem to take two steps in this world without being confronted with some kind of Frozen paraphernalia, put up shop here.

From the moment it was announce I was against it. Worried it would tarnish the EPCOT brand, be an eyesore on the World Showcase, a tacky cash-grab that would lower the tone of the gorgeous Norway pavilion. Worst of all, when it undoubtedly smashes EPCOTs gate figure this would essentially be used as a gateway attraction for a full IP takeover of the World Showcase. Ratatouille in France, Mary Poppins in England and Aladdin in Morocco (apparently). Don't get me wrong, I love the subtle nods to each character in their homeland, but their beauty is in being just that. Subtle. Not a ridiculous song and dance that will attract five hour queues every day and clog up pavilions I had previously loved exploring. I wasn't having it. Not. On. My. Watch.

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But of course, it happened anyway. Of course it did. Frozen is the biggest thing to happen to Disney...well ever, so of course there will be a Frozen attraction and of course it will replace Maelstrom in the Norway pavilion. So I mournfully watched POVs of 'Last Ever Ride On Maelstrom' with a tear in my eye as I looked into the future of an IP crammed World Showcase and breathed a sigh of defeat.

And then Frozen Ever After opened, and not long later a POV found its way onto my social media feed. And I watched it. And like a pawn in their little game I fucking loved it didn't I. Every fluid movement of animatronic, every perfectly times musical cue every fine-tuned lighting effect. Absolute perfection. The characters are the most realistic I have ever seen and I laughed audibly with joy as I watched again and again the orgasmically fluid movement of the character's limbs and facial expressions. Fuck. I thought. They might actually be on to something here. Maelstrom-who? This is fucking incredible and I'd be a lying shit if I didn't say I wasn't now sat here gagging for a Beauty and the Beast attraction to be shoved in a corner of France. And like the little Disney bitch I am, I would pay for a ticket and I would bloody love it.

Goddamit Disney. You've done it again. Just, make sure you don't totally fuck up Pandora yh?


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