Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Don't know if you've noticed it, but it has been quite a while since we've heard about the awaited "Soarin' over the World" movie. Generally, in the forum rumors, everybody keep saying that the movie has been filmed, and should arrive at DCA or Epcot anytime soon.
On the DLP forums, most of the members were ready to bet some months ago that "Soarin over the World" would be the next big "E-Ticket" at the Walt Disney Studios - I even wrote an article explaining where the Imagineers kept the room at the WDS to build the attraction in the future. And then, it became almost official that a Ratatouille dark ride should be WDS next big E-Ticket and no-Soarin' attraction was schedule for the future.
Well, the reality of all this is a bit different. Soarin' over the World will definitely not be the next attraction at WDS, but it doesn't mean that it will never come at the WDS. In fact, if DLP executives didn't choose it as the next WDS E-Ticket it's simply because they couldn't do it. Why? Simply because the movie is not filmed yet, and won't be before 2010!
Last year, WDI imagineers began scouting locations around the world, and they will continue this year. Once the locations are choosen, they'll need to have government's authorizations to film from an helicopter, and in some not-totally-democratic countries it's not that easy and can take a long time. The shooting itself - except if they change the dates - is scheduled for 2010. There is probably different reasons for that. First, the new "grand opening" of Disney's Caifornia Adventure - the park who need the most a new Soarin' movie as the first one is already 9 years old - won't be before 2011-2012. And it seems that Disney and WDI want to "keep" the new movie for this new beginning of DCA. And Two: an economic reason. Lot of works will happen at DCA in the next two years, it's not going to be cheap this time and they are definitely more important to create a brand new park than a new Soarin' movie.
So, let's keep the date of 2010 for the shooting. Now, may be it don't looks like, but this "Soaring over the World movie" is going to be a real challenge for WDI imagineers. Why, you ask? Well, as in this new "Soarin'" movie we will soar "over and around the world" it means different filming in different locations, right? And here come the question of the best season. Very probably the filming should happen in spring or early summer, to avoid landscapes with no leaves on the trees of winter or summer monsoon rains in other locations. Not to mention that for some other countries, it will be another season than spring which may be the right one for filming.
Before i go further, a little warning as there will be some spoilers ahead.
Now, the big question is : over which location will we "soar" in this new movie? Well, WDI imagineers have chosen some countries and if they don't change their plans, prepare yourself to soar over England, France, Italy, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and for the U.S.A: the Grand Canyon - which, by the way, is a perfect logical choice, as it’s one of the most known America's natural wonder. We must not forget that the movie will probably be watched in different countries, on different continents - not only eventually at the WDS but may be, too, at TDS - and WDI Imagineers have to take this into account. Whoever you will ask in Europe or Japan, everybody have seen pictures of the Grand Canyon and know about it.
Also, there is no South America country in the list above - which doesn't mean it's not part of the Imagineers plans. They have the choice: Brasil and Rio de Janeiro's bay or Iguaçu Falls, The Amazonia forest, The old Inca Machu-Pichu fortress in Peru, all these would be spectacular locations to soar above...
However, the other part of the Imagineers challenge will be probably to avoid filming a too "obvious" Travelogue. It's not going to be easy, as each country have its own iconic place/city/monument and it's a little bit everyone's dream to fly above them.
Now, what is coming next is pure personal thought, as i don't know which place in each country will be filmed. I mean: i really don't know. So what you will read below is pure personal speculation, although the locations choice below could very well be the one that will be filmed!
Also, please note that the pictures below are NOT Disney pictures, but a photomontage that i did with aerial views and the "Soarin'" vehicle from the "Soarin' over California" press picture. I've tried to choose aerial views which give you the soaring "vertigo" feeling as close as it should be in the final movie - click on each picture to see them in big size to get the "effect".
Now, think about the India sequence, who wouldn't love to soar above the beautiful and romantic Taj Mahal?...
...or, for Italy, over the gorgeous Venise, the City of the Doges? Soaring over the Grand Canal would be great!
For England, will we soar over the legendary Tower Bridge? I can almost see the camera plunging between the two towers of the bridge...
...And for China, can we escape to soar above The Forbidden City?
But may be it's a wrong question. Everyone would love to fly over these historical landmarks, so where is the problem to fulfill our dreams? So WDI Imagineers shouldn't think if a location is too obvious or not, it's not the problem, really!
Then, because we will travel around the world, i'm ready to bet that imagineers will play with the time of the day. And, because each location do have a "better" time to be filmed, WDI Imagineers will be right to do so. Why not, for instance, begin the "flight" by the Giza Pyramids at dawn? I know very well the place, i've been there many times in my life, and the best time for magical light on Giza Pyramids is definitely at dawn. Also, Egypt civilisation is the oldest one of all the countries listed above. To choose for the opening sequence Egypt and a dazzling view of the Pyramids at dawn would make perfect sense.
As for the evening sequence, soaring over London by night - the old Victorian city, the town of Peter Pan and the Darling family - would be wonderful. And if they need a Magic Kingdom for the "fireworks" final sequence, there is Disneyland Paris, just a few miles down in the south!
Even better: the best would be to have a different ending for each park where the attraction will play in the future. Take Hong Kong Disneyland for instance. Hong Kong at night is dazzling, and then they could "cut" to a scene with fireworks over HKDL castle. Same for Epcot, or TDL or the future Shanghaî Disneyland. Different ending for each park will not only be logical, but also great for fans who will discover a not-totally-the-same version when they'll visit Disney parks in other countries...
But in each country there is also plenty of natural wonders like, for instance, the Grand Canyon. And WDI imagineers may prefer to film them instead of cities or historical landmark like the Forbidden City in Beijing. Or may be they will do a mix of both to help the audience to identify instantly the "country".
To come back to the release date, once the filming will be done in 2010 the Imagineers will still have to do the editing and the music score, fix everything right which takes sometime, some months...and all of this lead us to the end of 2010. And, as NO new attraction is opening in winter ( okay, except Star Tours in January 1987, i agree ) i think it's reasonable to say that a grand opening of "Soarin' over the world" won't happen before - at least - 2011.
One more thing, and i'm sure that most of you who've ride the first "Soarin'" will agree with me: Dear Imagineers, please try to do a longer movie - which should be the case anyway as a roundtrip around the world in less than 5 minutes would be reaaally too short - 7-8 minutes would be fine, if possible ten, it's never too long when you soar above all these wonders...even if we must keep in mind the attraction hour capacity. Also: pleaaaase keep - or adapt - the original and fantastic Jerry Goldsmith music score!
In the meantime, let's all be patient and wait with confidence until 2011, as we can be sure that this awaited "Soarin' over the world" will be an awesome experience!
NEW!: You can now discuss this article on the Disney and more English Forum on Mice Chat !
Soaring vehicle image on the pictures and HKDL picture: copyright Disney