The happiest place on earth just became a little less joyful in my book.
I was not amongst the millions of people to plopped down $18 per ticket in order to make “Avatar” the highest grossing film of all-time. I waited until my dad got the film on Netflix and watched it on our 28-inch Sony tube television in a measly two dimensions. Over two hours later my suspicions were confirmed — the film was drastically overrated. “Avatar” was nothing more than a mainstream artistic endeavor made on a computer.
The Academy of Film Arts and Sciences agreed that James Cameron’s film lacked a certain substance, and they rewarded his ex-wife with Oscar glory, while his film took home a paltry $2 billion at the box office.
Now it seems Cameron’s insufferably simple minded parable on colonization and imperialism is going to become a trilogy. However the worst news is that Disney World plans on creating a theme park in the likeness of Pandora.
Disney said it plans to build multiple-attraction lands based on the film’s fictional world of “Pandora,” including themed shops, restaurants, rides and entertainment. It’s the same approach Universal Orlando has taken with its wildly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has fueled huge attendance and guest-spending gains since opening in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park last year.
“Avatar is just a set of worlds that is really rich and offers so much to explore, we thought that offering a land-based approach gives us a much better opportunity to explore,” Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs said in an interview following the announcement.
Disney said it would begin construction of Animal Kingdom’s Avatar land in 2013 and expects to open it to guests about five years from now. A company executive indicated that the price tag would be approximately $500 million.
Cameron said he initially thought Disney would want to build only an individual ride based on his film.
“I quickly realized that their vision for this thing is far beyond what I imagined,” he told reporters. “It was kind of thrilling that they wanted to do a land and really bring the world of Pandora to life.”
This entire project has made me lose some respect for Disney World, a place I thought could do no wrong, a place where dreams come true. I’ve never dreamed of being a giant blue person, it doesn’t seem appealing. But more importantly, this is Disney’s lame attempt to duplicate the success Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter has had since its opening.
What they haven’t realized, as the the Orlando Sentinel helped point out, is that although a lot of people flocked to the theaters to see “Avatar,” there isn’t the same emotional connection to the subject matter that Harry Potter fans have. The Harry Potter series of books and films spanned over a decade and multiple generations of people. Avatar was just another popcorn flick, albeit a rather a good one. Harry Potter is a lifestyle.