01 December 2007

Beetles, maggots, and cockroaches may exit safely

Deep beneath the roots of the Tree of Life waits a creepy-crawly, squirmy, shiver filled attraction. Well, maybe not as creepy or squirmy as one would think, but, It’s Tough To Be A Bug is definitely a crawly affair. It’s Tough To Be A Bug is not my favorite of the 3-D movies, a spot held solely and squarely by MuppetVision, it does occupy my favorite 3-D effects category.

Each of the various theme parks’ 3-D movies use special theater effects, from changing the environment with bubbles and arrow and cannon ball holes in MuppetVision, to the barrage of rodents in Honey I Shrunk the Audience, and even the rising stage and Donald’s exit in PhilharMagic. Bursts of air, smell-o-vision, and squirting water are also standard, so much so that, upon sitting down, I will almost immediate cross one leg over the other and use it to cover the sprayer so that I can stay dry. But the bench effects employed in It’s Tough To Be A Bug are second to none. The stinging during the fog attack is so convincing that I have seen many audience members attempt to find the bug that stung them. My favorite effect though is the rush of “guests” who are allowed to leave the theater before the rest of us.

This attraction, released just prior to A Bug’s Life, from which it takes its cue, seems harmless enough since it is populated by animated characters. However, I feel compelled to warn parents, as many others have, that the same effects
(the fog, stinging, and mass exit) that has made this attraction so enjoyable for myself, and others like me, for almost the past ten years are the same effects that can terrify small children. Movies have a profound impact on young children, and 3-D movies carry even more weight because of their realistic manner, not to mention the attention to environmental detail that Disney pays to every corner of their attractions. I have seen plenty of children leave the movie early or leave clutching to a parent just as I once did after my first encounter with Supreme Leader and her minions from Captain EO.

Just like all insects, it is best to know what you are dealing with before getting too close, while something may look harmless and attractive, it may pack quite the sting. And since we are talking about insects, perhaps we should watch out for them when we are wandering around admiring the sidewalks around the World.

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