Do the EPCOT Movies Need a Reboot?

Today’s article is inspired by follower who commented that the movie in Canada needed a reboot when I wrote about it earlier this month. I started thinking about the movies in the France, China, and Norway pavilions.  How dated are these movies?  I have seen the movies in France and Norway.  I haven’t made it back to the movie in China so I’ll be talking about that one in more general terms.  I’ll go through each pavilion’s movie and then talk about them as a group.  Grab your popcorn and sit back as we explore the movies of the World Showcase.

Hotel du Canada at night
Hotel du Canada at night

The Canada pavilion is home to the newest of the World Showcase movies.  O Canada! first opened when the park opened in October of 1982.  The movie received an update in 2007 in response to pressure from the Canada Tourism Commission because of a steady stream of complaints about the dated video that the pavilion was showing.   However, in the update, there are still some errors especially when it comes to hockey where it shows a game featuring the Quebec Nordiques who moved to Denver in 1995.

The movie is now narrated by comedian Martin Short.  I don’t mind the movie since it’s a country that I’m familiar with living only three hours from the Canadian border and it’s engaging enough to watch and get out of the sun for a little bit.  My only complaint with the movie is there are no seats due to the 360° nature of the film.  I have a hard time standing still for prolonged periods as it hurts my feet and I end up sitting on the floor about half-way through the movie.  But other than that, I think it’s a good movie and Canada was proactive in updating the movie instead of keeping a dated movie like our next pavilion.

photo courtesy of wdwinfo
photo courtesy of wdwinfo

Tucked in the back of the France Pavilion is Impressions de France.  This movie debuted on the opening day of EPCOT as well back in 1982.  The movie has not been updated since then.  It shows.  A lot as happened in France in the last 32 years and none of this is reflected in the movie.  My wife, for a time, routinely traveled to France for work.  She says it’s an entirely different country now than what the movie reflects.

There is no official reason as to why the movie has not been updated.  Walt Disney World has a lot of Canadian guests or American guests, like myself, who frequently visit Canada and see what Canada has become.  France, most likely, has fewer guests per year and fewer Americans visit France than Canada.  So, there are probably fewer complaints to the France Tourism Bureau and less pressure to update the movie.  However, Disney should be pressuring France to update the movie.  A 32-year old attraction doesn’t generate a lot of interest.  The theater is rarely full or even half-full.  It’s a great place to catch a quick nap.  The movie, definitely, needs a reboot.

photo courtesy of my take on Disney
photo courtesy of my take on Disney

The China Pavilion is home to another World Showcase movie: Reflections of China.  This is also a 360° Circle-Vision presentation.  It is also the only movie of the four that I have not seen.   Maybe on a future visit, I will take the walk back and watch the movie.  It debuted on opening day, as Wonders of China,  and it received an update in 2003 when it was renamed to Reflections of China.  The running time of the movie is shorter than the Canada by about six minutes so maybe I could stand for the entire presentation.

It took China over 20 years to refresh this movie.  Maybe this refresh should have come sooner.  I don’t remember viewing the original movie and I’ve never seen the new movie so it’s really not my place to comment on the merits of the movie.  But, I will give the people of the China credit for refreshing the movie and making it more up-to-date.

photo courtesy of wikipedia
photo courtesy of wikipedia

Norway’s movie comes at the end of the Maelstrom attraction.  Guests go though the attraction in a boat.  At the end, there is a short six-minute movie on Norwegian culture which optional viewing for the guests.  Most guests choose the option of not watching the movie.  I have never seen the seating area full or even half or quarter full.

photo courtesy of jspence
photo courtesy of jspence

The main reason could come from the fact that the movie has not been updated since the attraction opened in 1988.  Again, it’s an old movie that most people have seen.  It’s not an engaging or interesting presentation.  After seeing it once, most people don’t have the desire to see it again.

This attraction has been frequently rumored to undergo a complete reboot into a Frozen attraction.  None of rumors have speculated whether or not a movie of some type would still be present at the end of the attraction.  That’s how much of an afterthought this movie has become.  People talk about rebooting and refurbing the attraction and forget about the movie.

In general, I would like to see Disney tell the tourism bureau’s of the countries that their movies need to be rebooted/refresh once every 10 years.  Film-making is constantly developing and new techniques always come out.  The movies could use some of these new techniques.  Also,  a lot happens in a country in decade both good and bad.  The movie can still show the culture of the nation but also how the country is attempting to move forward and what new things the country has to offer.  The movie at the end of Malestrom is tricky because does it get treated as part of the attraction or on its own merits.  If it continues to show Norwegian culture after Malestrom or a Frozen experience, it should be continue to be rebooted and refreshed on a routine basis.

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Thanks for reading!

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