(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Captain EO)
Doug (vo): Does this count? I mean, it's...kind of a Disney film, but it's...also mainly a ride, but it's a ride where you just look at a screen, and then I decided, "Fuck it. It's my list, I do as I like. Apple Jacks." (The famous image of that commercial, showing a photo of the kids with the description "Apple Jacks '94" is shown) Captain EO, I guess, is what you would call a 4D movie. If you're not familiar with that, it's a 3D movie that also has elements around the theater that interact with you, like, say, smoke or lasers or flashing lights tied to the movie, stuff like that. But this one was very unique. It was starring Michael Jackson, produced by George Lucas, was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and was written by both of them...and this guy I never heard of. (A green arrow points to the third co-writer, Rusty Lemorande) I guess the idea is, Disney Imagineers just kind of thought this up and went to all these people and they said, "Sure."
(Footage of Michael Jackson as featured in this film is shown)
Doug (vo): And believe it or not, this was my introduction to Michael Jackson. That's right. I was six years old, I had never heard of him before, and this is the first time I saw him in anything. And I was blown away by two things. One, that he wasn't a woman. That legitimately surprised me. But I didn't care what sex he was, because of two, I've never seen anything move like him. I remember thinking, "How do his legs do that? How does he move that way? I'm a little kid, I have a ton of energy, and even I don't know how to move like that." It felt like the coolest alien in the world came down to Earth just to show us a bunch of cool shit he can do, which, I think the verdict is still kind of out on that.
Story[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): The story, if you can call it that, is very Michael Jackson, in that there's not really much of a story, it's more an excuse just to have some songs and do and be stuff he clearly just kind of wanted to do and be around that time. This time, he wants to be a space captain, with a bunch of colorful, goofy alien friends that are, uh-oh, in trouble 'cause they're caught by the Supreme Leader, played by Angelica Houston. But through the power of song and dance, he's going to change the world and make all these evil robot slaves into these... (Starts laughing) ...groovy, funky...oh, my God, what is this?...and even transform the Supreme Leader back into a beautiful goddess, because I...guess this world was robotized like in Sonic the Hedgehog, and it was originally Greek pillars where they, I don't know, sung songs and discussed Socrates...it makes no sense.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): I'm actually really shocked Michael Jackson had no part in writing this, because it 100% feels like he put this together. When you think of Moonwalker and Thriller and Ghost, they're not really stories as much as elements from the stories that he kind of liked when other, more talented people did them. For example, this is very clearly 80s sci-fi. It's Star Wars, it's Battlestar Galactica, it's lasers and smoke and evil robots with wires and sharp things hanging off of them. Honestly, if you want to sum up all popular 80s sci-fi at the time, I think it's all kind of here. There's not a lot of detail or story behind it, but that's kind of what you expect from a Michael Jackson music video, as well as his kind of weird, cheesy, awkward-isms that are just so much fun. They're ridiculous, but it's kind of like a little kid telling a story. It has its own unique charm to it. He literally uses dancing to change all the bad people into good people. I mean, come on, that's...that's adorable.
(Clips focusing on the character of the Supreme Leader are shown)
Doug (vo): I'll just say it, six-year-old me was terrified of Angelica Houston in this. It's so funny, because I always associate her with this very sophisticated woman who raises an eyebrow and has this power and control over these subtleties, yet I see her in something like The Witches and this, and I just love seeing her go so over-the-top. I look back and realize how ridiculous it was I was afraid of this thing. I mean, just listen to her talk.
Supreme Leader: So, then we both admit to your...stupidity!
Doug (vo): She's like Rita Repulsa being connected by Comcast. Still, I was six, this was in 3D, and it scared the shit out of me. But this is one of the earlier examples I can think of where something was really scary and menacing, but if you just wait through it, you can see some really cool stuff. I'm glad I peeked through my fingers to see how this was gonna turn out, because you know what? The stuff after was really, really cool. I'm kind of shocked this whole idea of dance...fu, I don't know, this idea of combining fighting and dancing at the same time hasn't caught on more. I feel like martial arts and dancing surprisingly go hand in hand, so I'm kind of shocked they don't see it in more places, but maybe I'm just not looking in the right spots.
(Several clips focusing on the film's sets and production design are shown)
Doug (vo): And the sets he dances across are incredible. Look at this. How much time went into these models or these costumes and pillars and smoke, and I just can't believe this was just for a Disney ride.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): So I guess it's weird to recommend this, as the idea is, you're supposed to kind of see it on this really long big screen with 3D and other little effects around it, but, eh, even on its own, it's still a cool-looking production with a lot of great effects and, yeah, Michael Jackson's amazing dancing. I mean, it can't be topped. It's impossible to take it seriously, but I don't think it's supposed to be. It's a silly way to waste 20 minutes, while also looking at some really creative visuals. It may be silly, but it's the awesome kind of silly.
(A scene showing Michael Jackson's Space Captain walking away along with his two alien sidekicks is shown)