Now that I’ve done “Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie”, it seems only proper to do “Best Movie Adapted from an Attraction”. Surely, this one must be easier. The choices are pretty slim. Please note -- I am not a movie critic or claim to be.
Of course, hands-down, no argument, the clear winner is the Pirates of the Carribbean series. As far as I know, the only other options were the Haunted Mansion movie with Eddie Murphy and Tower of Terror television movie. The Haunted Mansion movie tried…I think it really did, but just fell short…way short of what it could be. I have high hopes for Guillermo del Toro’s version of the Haunted Mansion movie anticipated to be out in the 2012 timeframe. Although, expectations are not good that this will be a young child-friendly movie based on del Toro’s other work (“Hellboy”, and “The Hobbit”). However, he could do for the Haunted Mansion what Bruckheimer has done for Pirates. The Tower of Terror movie starring Steve Guttenburg went the way of most Steve Guttenburg films. My apologizes to Steve Guttenburg and all his fans, but since “Three Men and a Baby” I don’t think he’s had much success.
Let’s talk about the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Marketing Genius. Pure Marketing Genius! This movie created a whole new level of Disney audience that I feel Disney was missing out on since probably the 70’s. That audience is the pre-teen, teen and young adult audience. For many, many years Disney was synonymous with kid-friendly cartoons. That generation, the GenYs/ Millennials, grew up on these cartoons but eventually grew out of Disney until Pirates came along. The timing and placement of this movie couldn’t have been any better. Disney picked well-known and popular actors that would appeal to all generations (my personal favorite is Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa). Using advanced technology special effects, the movies grabbed the attention of teens and young adults who had grown accustomed to large screen special effects, intense fight sequences, and imaginative costuming. And Disney does not forgot about the older generation with these movies either. The story line captures your attention and has details that go on and above the special effects.
By interweaving parts of the attraction into the movie sequences; and eventually deploying parts of the movie in the theme parks, Disney has created a huge force behind the Pirates of the Caribbean dynasty. Next time you are watching the movies, or riding the attraction, make note of the references. Some are obvious, like Captain Jack Sparrow in the treasure vault near the end of the ride, or Davy Jones’ face in the mist before the falls. Some aren’t so obvious, like Elizabeth Swan singing the Pirates theme song (drink up me hearties, yo-ho), and the dog in the jailhouse holding the key just out of reach from the prisoners in the cells.
The fourth movie in the Pirates series, On Stranger Tides, is to be released in May 2011. This is one I am looking forward to. After the third Pirates movie, At World’s End, it was time to get back on track with just a fun, good “pirate-y” movie. This looks like it. With it, comes a new pirate…a female pirate which opens the doors to a huge audience and more marketing than you can shake a stick at. Already in the theme parks, Pirate Princess merchandising is showing up and the newest Pirate Princess (Angelica) is making appearances with Captain Jack Sparrow in the park met and greet. For me, the casting of Ian McShane has Captain Blackbeard is an outstanding choice. He IS Blackbeard!