Now, Now, don't think I didn't enjoy myself. It's VERY NICE to see the Captain back in his rightful spot in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. I was among the first people to see it when it premiered back in 1986 and was very happy to be in the first crowd today to watch him dance around the galaxy making the universe a better place once again. THE FILM - **** out of ****
I didn't want to post a review of the FILM itself since it has already been covered in the past. However, it is the centerpiece of the overall experience and I would be negligent if I didn't say at least something. The film itself holds up surprisingly well. The music, the dancing and even the special effects (for the most part) all stand their ground against the overly processed, CGI effects of today. Captain EO stands as a testament to the talent behind this attraction as a landmark achievement in theme park entertainment. THE NEW EXPERIENCE (Warning SPOILERS)THE FILM - **** out of ***1/2
The queue actually looks better than it did back in '86. The flat screens are a clean upgrade. The Yellow 3-D glasses left over from HISTA are reused here and, unless you are a total stickler for accuracy in your nostalgia, this is nothing to worry about. I would be upset if the glasses were in bad shape . . . but they are fine.
The overhead screens display an updated version of the Captian EO logo and cycle the same "futuristic" music from before. That was a nice touch. At the six minute countdown mark a new Kodak commercial runs on the screens and it is FAR better than that shrill video from HISTA. The next surprise is that they run, as a look back, the full behind the scenes pre-show trailer from the past. Again, wonderful.
The doors open and it is like taking a walk back in time. The theater sound system is once again welling with the space sounds of Captain EO. Somehow the theater feels smaller, although it obviously is not. Sitting down you face the screen and a remnant of HISTA greets you. The upper left corner is still slightly angled which ends up cutting off a tiny portion of the screen. Not a show stopper.
The movie begins and although the stars on the screen become three dimensional, the once breathtaking star field that magically appeared and seemed to surround your field of vision is no more. Sad, but again, nothing that kills the overall experience.
The movie once again whisks viewers away to space and projects them right into the middle of an aerial dog fight between our hero and the villains. However, the in theater laser effects are gone. This may be my only real gripe. Those lasers shooting out into the theater was always a real surprise and broke down the fourth wall sufficiently enough that you felt that you were IN the film. In its place is the use of the motion seats built for HISTA and repurposed for EO. The seats mimic the turns and moves of EO's ship and work to achieve the same effect. This got cheers from the audience. Later on during the film, the same effect is said to mimic the beat of the music although that did not operate properly when we saw it.
The movie ended and all stood to give the film a standing ovation. That was heartening. Yes it's dated, but it has become retro-chic now. The recycled show elements from HISTA are fine. They are not what you remember from the past, but this certainly doesn't mar the film or the experience. My biggest complaint is with the film quality itself. Again, something negligible to everyone but the most picky film critic (Including me). Disney boasted a new 70mm print with amped up sound. A reprint of a negative is different from a restoration of a negative. So even though they have a brand new copy of the film you can still see the age of the film. There are specs of dust and blotches here and there and in some cases the blacks appear more as a blue. It seems that they could have tried to do a bit more with that.
Regardless of my minor qualms, the Captain and the "Tribute" (as Disney is calling it) are just fine. It's not what you remember, but it's enough to take you back. And really, I think they did something very kind for the fans of this once extinct attraction.
WOW! I just saw Captain EO again.