Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Indiana Jones?

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectuacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios.  That makes this show almost as old in years as Broadway's longest running musical The Phantom of the Opera.  It's probably performed at least five times as many performances however.  What other similarities there are between the two I'll leave to another post. Now I certainly do not begrudge long running shows, but in all the trips to Disney World I've taken (all but one of which were after this show opened) I have seen the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular....once. That's right. Once. Years ago. (In the interst of full disclosure, I have never seen Phantom of the Opera at all.)  I made a slight effort to see Indiana Jones again last January.  My group and I got as far as the back row in the first two minutes of the show and then decided to leave and do something else because nothing on stage was exciting any of us and it was hard in a 2000+ ampitheatre to feel engaged with the one person narrating the show from all the way in the back.  

I do like the Indiana Jones movies. The first three anyway, I'm not sure I want to rewatch the most recent to decide if it actually has any redeeming values or not since I don't really remember it well.  The one time I was in Disneyland I never got to experience their Indian Jones ride and I wish that I could have done so. The stunts in Indiana Jones are memorable, and I bet if you get to be one of the 18 people who participate in the show it is an amazing experienc.  Yet this show has had zero interest for me in terms of repeatability.   Once you've seen and learned how someone runs away from a giant rolling rock, do you really need to see it again? I do remember liking that this show is also educational in nature about how these kinds of stunts are done, and I'm sure a lot of stunts are done the same way these days, but maybe they could show some then and now about how stunts have changed over the years? Now, I fully admit that I need to give this show another shot as it has been at least a decade since I saw it last. Perhaps there's more to the story than I remember and more entertainment in the audience participation bits than I recall.  Wikipedia tells me that this was the first theme park show to use a computer based control system to trigger all the show effects, which is kind of cool. But after 22 years, isn't it maybe time for a facelift?  Maybe those controls could trigger some new effects? 

On the otherhand, I'm hesitant to suggest messing with Indy on the sole basis that I wouldn't want something to come out that in any way resembled Universal's stunt show attempt "The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad" at Islands of Adventure.  That show I did have the misfortune to see last summer and it's a half hour of my life that I will never get back.   I won't even offer you the full video, just a trailer, but if you'd like to see the kind of show that gives theme parks a bad name it's this glittery, pyrotechnic heavy and utterly devoid of any real artistic value show. Actually it kind of reminds me of the current iteration of Spiderman: Turn of the Dark.

Giving Indiana Jones another shot and a better full out review is pretty high on my list for the next trip I take to Disney World, but until then I have to wonder why it's had 22 years of staying power.  But, happy birthday to the show anyway! 

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