“Captain EO,” the classic musical spectacular that thrilled Epcot guests from 1986-1994, has returned to Epcot for a special open-ended run. The attraction’s return provides new audiences the opportunity to experience the original 3-D production for the very first time, as well as a nostalgic look back for longtime fans wanting to see Michael Jackson in a rare performance created for the big screen.
Twenty-four years ago, Jackson joined forces with Disney, producer George Lucas and director Francis Ford Coppola to create a groundbreaking 17-minute 3-D film experience starring Jackson as Captain EO performing two original songs, and featuring Academy Award®-winning actress Anjelica Huston, and a cast of merry, mythical space characters with dual personalities who undergo magical transformations to become Jackson’s electronic band in conquering the forces of darkness.
The colorful Disney-created characters include: Hooter, the little green elephant-like creature who sneezes wild musical notes through his flute-like trunk; Fuzzball, the orange-haired space monkey with butterfly wings; the Geex, a golden-haired, two-faced personality with two left feet, one right foot and two shaggy heads named Idy and Ody; Major Domo, whose mirrored silver costume becomes a complete set of drums; and Minor Domo with his sparkling purple torso that turns into an electronic synthesizer played by Hooter.
For all its technology, “Captain EO” is first and foremost a musical spectacular and a thrilling space-fantasy adventure. The realism of the 3-D process once again makes it seem that Jackson dances right out of the screen into the theater. While it’s not possible to replicate some of the special effects elements originally in the theater, it will boast a new 70mm print of the film and sound better than ever thanks to acoustical enhancements made to the theater since the film last played there. The total effect is one of motion, color and high energy filled with Jackson’s musical brilliance and various illusions to create an exciting and realistic journey in space for the audience.
During the journey, Captain EO and his merry crew discover a colorless planet where they are confronted by the Supreme Leader (Huston) and her forces of darkness. Using the power of music, dance and light to fill the planet and the theater with all the shades of the rainbow, the EO crew turns the black and white land into a magical world of color and happiness.
The production of “Captain EO” called on Hollywood’s finest choreographers, set designers, costume creators and special effects artists – all of them excited by the challenge of shooting this kind of imaginative film in three dimensions.
“Captain EO” is presented multiple times daily at the Imagination pavilion at Epcot. It replaces “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” which is planned to return at an undetermined date.