Avatarland at Animal Kingdom...Why?

Monday, January 16, 2012 11:49 AM

This is been bugging me for quite sometime...

Why is Disney putting Avatarland at Animal Kingdom in response to Harry Potter Land at Universal when they have the Star Wars franchise at their fingertips? I can't believe that it's been this long and all Disney has for Star Wars is an updated simulator ride from the '80's and a gift shop.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 11:59 AM

I don't know that Lucas is that willing to give up a ton of control for anything Star Wars related. I doubt it's at their "fingertips" and they're extremely limited in what they can do.

I can't bring myself to see Avatar. I skipped over it in the theater, had it from Netflix but never watched it, and could even get it free via promotion that came with my Bluray player. I'm just not interested.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 12:14 PM

I was listening to a program on NPR one day and a popular culture expert was talking about the most popular of all things on earth, and believe it or not, Avatar came in second. Maybe that's why.

Incidentally, bananas came in first. Really.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 1:03 PM

So when does Disney unveil plans for Banana World?

I might be more interested in that than Avatar. Like Jeff, I've not seen it and have no real desire to do so, even though I consider myself a Cameron fan.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 1:36 PM

Banana World sounds like an amusement park in China.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 1:40 PM

RCMAC said:
I was listening to a program on NPR one day and a popular culture expert was talking about the most popular of all things on earth, and believe it or not, Avatar came in second. Maybe that's why.

I wonder what metric was used. Because outside of making a significant amount of movie at the box office Avatar seems to have little to no popular culture impact. No one quotes it. I assume most people would have trouble naming more than two characters (and just saying "the marine guy" and "Sigourney Weaver" doesn't count). The song over the end credits was aggressively forgettable and never saw the light of day on the radio. How many Avatar costumes have we seen the past few Halloweens? How about toys?

Again, I understand the movie made a lot of money, but it sure doesn't seem to have the impact of Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings. I wish Disney all the best if they insist on going through with Avatar, I just hope it's the right decision.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 1:49 PM

My guess is that Avatar's real value-add is the visual design/aesthetics of the world, plus a pretty rich potential set of flora and fauna. Could the SW universe have delivered something similar? Maybe. But, if that's the angle, the fact that the story was so forgettable is a plus, not a minus---it's a more flexible substrate on which to paint.

But, the other issue is that AK is the park that is in most need of help. It seems as though Studios is going to get more Pixar attention if the Monsters coaster rumor has legs, and it would be easy to imagine a clone of (some bits of) DCA's Cars eventually taking over the waste-of-space that is backlot. But, Avatar is tailor made for AK's existing vibe---lush, "tropical"---and could be a nice vehicle for some of the Beastly Kingdom ideas that got cut from the original design.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, January 16, 2012 1:50 PM
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Monday, January 16, 2012 11:01 PM

I'm not sure why people always want Animal Kingdom to be something more. I mean, it is, in my opinion, the world's greatest zoo. How is that not excellent? It will always be somewhat limited in terms of hours because of the animals, and that's OK. There are three other great parks to go to when it closes.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 11:24 PM

We always fill our day at Animal Kingdom and still don't feel like we did everything. It is also one of the most beautifully crafted theme parks in existence when you take time to notice the level of detail and artistry in its buildings and landscapes. Sometimes I think the quality of Animal Kingdom's themed environments is so well-executed (particularly Asia and the Maharajah Jungle Trek) that it is easy to overlook the fact that you are indeed exploring a man-made park.

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Monday, January 16, 2012 11:55 PM

Two things.

1. I agree with that Jeff that AK is a one of a kind caliber of zoos anywhere in the world. It is the best at everything that it seeks out to do (habitat theming, guest immersion, etc). However it's the fact that it was designed to be more than a world class zoo is why enthusiasts expect more from it. Putting Beastly Kingdom and other projects that were set to the way side... well, aside, the park itself is trying to be more than a zoo. Most other zoo's have been developing small scale attractions (rides and shows specifically) in attempts to be "more than zoos". AK while in a league of it's own, is a zoo park on the property of theme parks being much more than theme parks.

2. Tim, what the heck are you doing all day that you can't do everything?! It's called a fast pass ;)

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:38 AM

I really liked Avatar in 3-D, and saw it several times in the theater. I got it on DVD right when the DVD was released and have yet to watch it at home.

I think Avatar is perfect for a theme park.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:46 AM

Avatar was this generation's Waterworld.


IMO.

And personally, I would rather watch Kevin Costner take a piss.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:27 AM

There were people who liked Waterworld?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:01 AM

I'm totally on board with TimChat2. Avatar may have been a visually amazing (amaaazing) movie, but beyond that it was nothing. Its story is a tired rehash of a predictable, brainless plot. It's Pocahontas with space marines and aliens, with a little bit of Fern Gully thrown in for good measure.

The characters are also all but impossible to relate to because they're not believable - their stories and personalities are one dimensional and boring: That guy with cuts on his face? BAD GUY. BAAD GUY. Slimey business guy? Exactly that. No further words necessary to flesh out the entire persona of his character. The poor, crippled marine? A slightly (very. slightly.) conflicted good guy, but still a one-dimensional good guy. Don't forget a token Sigourney Weaver appearance because it's a space movie. It's almost insultingly trite.

...and all of that, all of that, is why I don't understand it from a Disney perspective, or at the very least, why it's even being compared to- or viewed as a response to Potterland. At best, it can only be a cool themed area and a ride or three. Without the immersive universe and rabid following, it does not and will never have the same drawing power. It just doesn't make sense to me, at least not on a Wizarding World scale or as its competition. It just seems like a lost battle from the start.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:50 AM

^^ Like Waterworld, one of the biggest budgets to ever come out of Hollywood, and it self-hyped itself to be the greatest movie epic of all time, only to be a terribly boring, forgetful film. Not terrible, just not very good.

Once we got it from Netflix, we could barely finish it. To each his/her own, but I thought it was just a mess that I could not wait to see the credits for.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:13 AM

I just don't ever remember people liking Waterworld. Only discussions I remember about when it was in theaters (and since) have been how horrible it was. I know a lot of people who loved Avatar. Actually I would say I know more people who loved Avatar than I know who saw Waterworld. :)

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:53 AM

TimChat2 said:
Because outside of making a significant amount of movie at the box office Avatar seems to have little to no popular culture impact. No one quotes it. I assume most people would have trouble naming more than two characters (and just saying "the marine guy" and "Sigourney Weaver" doesn't count). The song over the end credits was aggressively forgettable and never saw the light of day on the radio. How many Avatar costumes have we seen the past few Halloweens? How about toys?

Again, I understand the movie made a lot of money, but it sure doesn't seem to have the impact of Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings. I wish Disney all the best if they insist on going through with Avatar, I just hope it's the right decision.

Having seen Avatar, I think the inescapable corporate hype leading up to the movie was the only real contribution to its success at the box office. I have a hard time believing anyone would have taken much note of all the things that supposedly made this movie "special" (the technology, the video quality, the alien "language") if they hadn't been told about them beforehand. It has the potential to be a beaufitul park, but I agree, it won't have the same draw attributed to Harry Potter.

In the words of Alec Baldwin's character on 30 Rock, "The movie division has a James Cameron movie the whole world will see whether they like it or not."

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 12:15 PM

The direction the discussion has gone is pretty interesting.

When this first got mentioned everyone seemed pretty positive.

Then it turned into the normal back and forth discussion with people bringing up both good and bad.

Now, after simmering for a while, this thread is mostly a bitchfest where everyone is discussing why Avatar sucks.

I wonder if that trend is meaningful?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 12:28 PM

We've all had time to sleep on it. I agree with the sentiment that Avatar offers no long-standing cultural influence at all.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 12:50 PM

Waterworld made $264,000,000 (1.5 times its budget).

Avatar made nearly $3 billion (almost 12 times its budget).

I see the comparison in terms of how much each film cost to produce, but that has absolutely nothing to do with why Disney chose to pursue this franchise.

-Nate

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