22 December 2007

Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh

MuppetVision 3-D, on either coast, is a must see every time I step onto Disney property. Even though I grew up on the East Coast, with the Muppets from Disney Studios’ Streets of America, I was looking forward to finding new Muppet details in California Adventure’s Hollywood Pictures Backlot version.

California Adventure’s movie, along with the theater interior, are identical. Waldorf and Statler are still spouting off, the Swedish Chef is armed and ready in the projection room, and, by the end of the film, there are still signs of destruction everywhere. I know you’re shocked, I was too. However, while there are some similarities outside of the theater doors, including a very similar overall layout, these attractions’ queues and surrounding areas couldn’t be more different if they were night and day. Let’s start with the queue film and move back outside as we go. Hey, we’re talking about the Muppets here, why would I want to do something normal, like starting at the beginning?

The queue film itself is also the same version that entertains us in Florida. On the other hand, the two queue rooms are strikingly different. While California has a few gags spread about the room, there is not the plethora of witticisms running amuck that I had become accustom to in the Disney Studios’ MuppetVision holding pen. While there were a few interesting suitcases belonging to various Muppets, there was not A Net Full Of Jello, or other thinking man’s gags.

As we continue our shuffle backwards, no running please, it’s hazardous to your health, and no moonwalking either, because, well, it’s moonwalking. Now we come to a hallway, the heart of Muppet Labs, and their various testing facilities. Among others, the Stress Testing and Artificial Reality labs are hard at work on both coasts. The only true difference here are the aesthetic styles of the doors, and even that in negligible. Continuing in reverse, we come to the beginning of the hallway, and the Muppet Security Office. Both are, apparently, on permanent lunch breaks.

The keys are both under the mats and, again, the only real differences here are minor and aesthetic. Oh, except for the fact that the MuppetVision in California Adventure is missing the fabulous directory that is choke full of Muppet Goodness, and soup, in Disney Studios’ MuppetVision.
Withdrawing ourselves to the outside queues is where the attractions take a serious departure from one another. Removing the surrounding visual elements for a moment, don’t worry, we’ll come back to them, just like we are coming back to everything today, let us just take the queues for what they are. In California Adventure it appears as if you are wandering through the storage area of MuppetVision. From a gaggle of gag barrels to the MuppetVision camera, there is enough to keep your eyes occupied here, and looking away from the actual building, so that you don’t notice how little was done to mask the gargantuan square building that forms the theater. In comparison, the Disney Studios outside queue is no longer in use, but, should you be able to sneak a peak around the corner, there are also jokes abound for you to discover, from ice cream sundaes to Muppet light fixtures. While entirely different in their avenue of thought, the two outside queues give guests enough laughs to tide them over until they reach the interiors or, in our case, the exteriors.

The most startling deviations between both MuppetVisions can be found here, amongst the exteriors and their surroundings. Surrounding the Disney Studios rendering are fountains, a shop, billboard advertisements, and other gags, such as the Gone to Lunch painters. On top of these, the building itself is themed perfectly to its surroundings, the brick façade and New York type park square find a harmony together that you come to expect from Disney. Yet, in the exteriors of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot MuppetVision, these classic thought processes seem to have been shoved aside. The facades that separate the main thoroughfare from MuppetVision have no actual tie to the Muppets, save the corner entrance which is, in fact, a theater boasting MuppetVision. Once around the corner the building itself is a plain boxy building with nothing to stimulate your sense of vision.
While I love MuppetVision no matter where I am to get my fix, it seems clear to me, after a lot of back tracking, that the version on the Streets of America is better suited to its surroundings. Hollywood Pictures Backlot’s Muppet Vision has some fabulous elements that are on par with many of the fabulous facets found in Disney Studios, but, in the end, falls flat like one of Fozzie Bear’s jokes. You can call me bias if you like, but I prefer my Muppets with a Florida Swagger, which, incidentally, can also be done backwards.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing!

I haven't don the DCA version, but I love the show building in FLA.