ONE | TWO
| THREE | FOUR
Part Five: The Magic
Lamp Theater & Sinbad's Seven Voyages (continued)
courtyard is the Magic Lamp Theater. Here is another attraction
with ties to existing Disney parks. This is a 3-D movie based show,
however it incorporates live actors and stunts much more extensively
than any past similar Disney attraction. Where as Honey I Shrunk the
Audience and It’s Tough to Be a Bug use many in theater
effects and anamatronics, and the Muppet 3-D show incorporates a live
costumed character, Magic Lamp goes a step farther. The show features
live actors on stage interacting with each other as well as the
audience. Behind the actors is the 3-D screen which acts as a backdrop
as well as a stage for the Genie to make several appearances.
After passing through the
entrance doors visitors to the Magic Lamp Theater will find themselves
is a very nicely detailed waiting area. It is a large circular room
surrounding a central platform filled with vases, baskets and rolled
carpets. Around the perimeter of the room are many movie screens that
appear to be windows looking out onto the night sky. The ceiling is
draped in fabric and the floor is an elaborate mosaic.
This room is
more than simply a holding pen, it in fact serves as the stage
for a preshow. Once the audience fills the room the lights dim and a
very articulated king cobra raises from the central basket. He is a
cartoonish fellow who spins around and hisses a tale of a great magician
and a magic key. He speaks only in Japanese but to help aid his story
telling the windows around the room display an animated slide show
illustrating his story. We are introduced to the magician as well as his
The snake itself is quite
well done. Not only does he move and speak but his eyes are made out of
two small video screens. Therefore his pupils dart around with a freedom
not possible otherwise. Sure, he looks a bit like Kaa from the Jungle
Book, but we can forgive that. A story of how the magician captured and
locked away the Genie is told and the lights fade back on. We are now
asked to head into the main theater, 3-D glasses in hand.
Like the preshow room, the
theater itself is wonderfully themed and detailed. It feels as if you
are in a giant tent, silken and velvet fabrics drape from the ceiling
and walls. Rich deep shades of reds and purples give a certain regal
feel, as if in a royal palace.
ourselves on deeply cushioned theater seats and turn our
attention to the traditional stage which sits before us. Soon the
assistant we met in the reshow shuffles on stage. This is a live actor
in costume and speaking live dialogue, unfortunately for the non
Japanese speaking people in the audience (basically myself and my wife)
the show is 100% in Japanese. The assistant speaks to the audience a bit
and eventually introduces the magician. The magician is also a live
Together they perform several
simple magic tricks as well as a decent stage illusion. The story of the
magic key is interwoven throughout the show as the assistant tries to
steal it back from the magician, thus freeing the magic genie. The show
proceeds in a cartoonish, almost Keystone Cops manor. Lots of slapstick
comedy that is easy to understand regardless of what language you speak.
assistant gains control of the key and frees the Genie. The Genie
is in fact the same character we know from Aladdin. While Jasmine and
Aladdin are not featured here, the Genie becomes the star of the show.
He is represented as a 3-D computer animated image that appears on the
large screen behind the stage. This screen has prior to this only
displayed images of the back of the tent and stage area... now the genie
floats and flies through it with aplomb.
He is very well animated and
the 3-D effects worked very well for me. I often have trouble with the
Disney 3-D movies. While Muppets looks great to me Bugs is often a
blurry mess. I am happy to report that the Genie always was in sharp,
crisp focus, even when he appeared very close to your face.
The genie proceeds to do
several gags and stunts before wreaking is revenge on his captor, the
evil magician. There are a few modest in theater effects such as bursts
of smoke and so forth and at the end of the show we get a literal kick
in our seats, a gentle reminder that it is time to get out!
Magic Lamp Theater clearly borrows from past Disney efforts it
really does not feel like the other 3-D movies in Disney’s arsenal. It
is in fact more of a live show than a movie. Not speaking Japanese is
clearly a hindrance, while it is not hard to catch what is going on, you
still feel a bit like you are missing the more subtle jokes and gags.
In the end the Magic Lamp
Theater is not as technically impressive as a show like It’s Tough
to be a Bug. It does not feature animatronic figures nor
particularly elaborate special effects. However it breaks new ground for
Disney by incorporating live actors, stage magic, audience participation
and 3-D film all in one solid attraction. It is not the highlight of a
trip to Tokyo DisneySea but it is a well done production that avoids
feeling too similar to the other Disney 3-D attractions. It earns 3 out
of 4 stars.
furthest corner of the Arabian Coast, and the entire park, is Sinbad’s
Seven Voyages, the main attraction of this land.
The tales of Sinbad have been
told many, many times over the years. His stories have made it to the
big screen so often that one could hold an all-Sinbad film festival.
Movies with Sinbad as the star date back to the 30’s and have been
made as recently as 2000. There have been comic book interpretations and
popular television shows based on the adventures of Sinbad as well.
Perhaps the best known images of Sinbad to today’s audiences are the
series of films made in the 60’s and 70’s featuring the magnificent
work of stop motion special effects master Ray Harryhausen.
Harryhausen was responsible
for famous pre-computer effects such as sword wielding skeletons
warriors or the mighty Cyclops. In films such as the Golden Voyage of
Sinbad, Harryhausen and producer Charles Schneer created a world of
wonder, myth and adventure in which Sinbad sets sail. It is the image
from these movies that I think of when I hear “Sinbad.” I imagine a
swashbuckling adventure filled with magical creatures and beasts, seat
of your pants adventure, and tongue in cheek humor. To some extent this
is what you will find at the Tokyo DisneySea attraction, but with a
decidedly younger, more family friendly twist.
When I first
heard of this attraction I was hoping for a Pirates of the
Caribbean style ride. Instead of a Caribbean raid I imagined full scale
audio animatronics of Sinbad and his crew battling Centaurs and Gryphons
across the seas. Disney has decided to take the basic stories of Sinbad,
his adventures and his encounters, and depict them in a more
cartoon-like manor. Gone are the human actors, replaced by small scale
cartoon figures. However the attraction does not shy away from some of
Sinbad’s scarier adventures and tales.
The attraction is housed in
an impressively large show building. It is designed to look like an
ancient desert fortress of sorts, now crumbling with the passage of
time. Upon entering the queue leads us past a series of paintings and
mosaics depicting Sinbad’s travels.
(Note: In an effort to show as much of
the interior of the attraction as possible most of the following shots
were taken as video grabs from my camcorder. As a result the quality is
a bit lower, but this allows you to take a peek at the queue and most of
the ride itself.)
The interior carries on the
detail found on the buildings exterior. Stone walls are supported by
wood beams, lights flicker in brass and copper lamps and wood railings
guide you on your way. The attraction is very high capacity so in a
short period of time we arrive at the load area. As with Pirates or
Small World, Sinbad is a water based attraction. In fact the boats
themselves are virtual clones of the Pirates boats, only this time they
are nicely themed.
It has always
bothered me that on Pirates of the Caribbean the boats you ride
in are just generic fiberglass vessels. Why not make them look like life
boats dropped from a pirates ship? Why not add some sort of detail? I’m
happy to report that they have done just that here. In keeping with the
overall feel of this richly detailed park our boats appear to be made of
wood planks (though they are, of course, fiber glass) the decks are
decorated with ropes and we carry a cargo of stolen loot.
Upon our departure the first
thing you will notice is how the realistic, aged and weathered feeling
of the building, queue and load area quickly give way to a brightly
colored, almost comic book like world. Gone are the muted tones of
browns and the rock textured walls in favor of bright blues and greens
on mostly smooth surfaces. It is clear that this attraction is not
trying to replicate reality, rather it is creating a fun cartoon world.
CONTENTS | CONTINUE