10 May 2012

City in the clouds

A few weeks ago, we felt a disturbance in the Force. The hosting duties for Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios seemed a bit heavy on the clones, and that disturbance grew as the list of guests was released. This week, however, all is right with the universe, the Star Wars universe that is. From May 18 through June 16, guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to have themselves frozen in carbonite.

Here’s a little historical and film perspective. In The Empire Strikes Back, Episode 5 but the second released Star Wars film, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO are captured by Darth Vader on Bespin’s Cloud City. In order to entrap Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader has set a trap for him that will involve freezing him in carbonite for transport to the Emperor. Unsure that a human could survive the process, Han Solo is used as a test subject, leading to the ultimate ad lib exchange of Leia calling out, “I love you,” and Han responding with, “I know.” The freezing process succeeds, Han is locked forever in a grimace of extreme pain, and is sent away with the bounty hunter, Boba Fett, only to be released in the next film, Return of the Jedi.

The idea of a living human individual being frozen alive struck a chord with moviegoers everywhere. In fact, aside from the mail-in Boba Fett, Han in carbonite is one of the most enticing action figures to the average collector. All of which brings us back to the experience being offered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a part of Star Wars Weekends.

Using the latest in facial scanning technology, a three dimensional image is captured of a guest. That image is then used to mold a figure, slightly larger than the average action figure, which is sent to the guest in about 4 weeks.

Every child who grew up enamored with the world of Star Wars, including the movies, the television movies and cartoons, action figures, comic books, novels, etc., has dreamed of wielding a lightsaber or being frozen in carbonite. Lightsabers have been around for decades and continue to evolve into more sophisticated weapons, err.., I mean toys. The concept of being frozen in carbonite, however, has long eluded the Star Wars horde, until now. I can honestly say, from deep down in the geekiest corners of my heart, that this is one of the coolest concepts I have ever seen.

My only complaint is that the Carbon-Freeze Me experience is only available for a limited time during Star Wars Weekends. For those of us saddled with the inability to get to Walt Disney World between now and then, we can only live vicariously through our friends and hope to use a Jedi mind trick in order to nudge the powers that be into keeping this concept going. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that those who frequent parks across the globe are also hoping, and rightfully so, that Carbon-Freeze Me comes to their corners of the world.

Carbon-Freeze Me hits all of the right notes for a Star Wars fan, and I am overjoyed that the iconic scene has finally found some life in this world. It has been a long time coming, and Star Wars Weekends is the perfect venue to launch it. I only hope its lifespan is more than a month. Help me Iger-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!

Information on cost and how to register for the Carbon-Freeze Me experience can be found at the Disney Parks Blog.

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