Disney announces James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ themed land and rides for Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World.
Read all about it here.
When I read that headline I felt seriously ill and went O.O and then wished ever so dearly that it was just a really, really late April Fools' prank or bad joke from The Onion, but alas, it looks like it's true. Anyone who knows me knows well my dislike for this film, and to this day some parts of it are favorite family jokes (nice crying, Zoe Saldana). But the worst part of this whole imminent disaster is that some people think this is Disney's response to Harry Potter at Universal. HARDLY. To put this in perspective, I finally was persuaded to make my first ever trek to Universal on our last trip to Florida JUST to see Harry. On the other hand, though Disney is my primary destination in Orlando, I will strive to avoid all traces of Avatar when it appears in Animal Kingdom. (It should also be noted that, ironically, Harry was originally discussed as part of Walt Disney World in the first place until JK demanded a little too much creative control for the Imagineers' liking.) It seems kind of like the most offensive thing they could do to Disney fans. Besides the fact that this film is thoroughly overhyped and overrated and extremely environmentally heavy-handed and completely unoriginal, it's absolutely NOT (NOT NOT NOT) Disney. Sure, there are a select few welcome non-Disney elements sprinkled here and there throughout the parks (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, American Idol, etc.), but not a whole land's worth of them. Harry at Disney would make a little sense at least, since it has the ABC/Disney tie-in and of course the similar theme of magic and family entertainment and such... Yes, this movie is Pocahontas meets Dances With Wolves meets Fern Gully (which is at least animated) meets Smurfs in space, and while ONE of those is Disney-related, it makes no sense. Pocahontas makes sense. A gimmicky, non-Disney rip-off does NOT. And, I submit that the only reason this movie broke any kind of records was because it was one of the first big 3D movies, so of course it will make a lot of money due to increased ticket prices. What if these planned two (TWO!!!) sequels are total bombs? What then, Animal Kingdom?!? What's the big hurry?? And anyway, since when is Animal Kingdom about freakish barely-clad blue humanoids who worship trees and brood among neon-colored glowing landscaping? What about the whole animal theme? Yeah, there are a few inbred dinosaurs running around Pandora, but they're so ancillary it's just too much of a stretch to give them credit for it. I get the ultra-environmentalism angle, though seriously, that's already really heavy-handed and king of overwhelming at that park as it is. Now it's just going to be unbearable! I'm sure there is a response to Harry Potter's popularity (which still could never dethrone Disney as the top tourist attraction in Orlando anyway), and I'm sure that there are even a few ways to increase long-term Animal Kingdom attendance, but this certainly is NOT it on either counts. Fantasyland expansion? Yes. Animal Kingdom expansion? NO. At least not in this woeful direction. I really didn't think it was possible for someone to come up with some reason for me to dislike Avatar even more. Maybe this ill-conceived plan will go the way of Port Disney and WestCOT*?... Or maybe even River Country... I can only hope.
Seriously, I am getting more and more livid about this as time goes by... I need to calm down. Writing this helped a little (I guess I haven't had a good blogrant in quite a while now, after all). What kind of cruel theme park world ends up with Harry Potter at Universal and Avatar at Disney?!? *cries bitter, bitter tears*
* Though at least WestCOT could have been cool.