As the lights dimmed I put on my red & green 3-D glasses and grasped my Mom’s hand in anticipation. The moon-walking, gravity-defying, all out electrifying Michael Jackson lit up the screen with his bursts of positive energy that turned everyone around him into dancing rainbows. “It’s not real,” my Mom said laughing as I reached out to touch the small fuzzball that appeared to float inches from my face. I tried to grab it’s cute little tail as it flew back onto Michael’s shoulder.
The year was 1993 and I was six-years-old watching “Captain EO” on my very first trip to Disneyland. The little fuzzball is almost all of what I remember of my first viewing of the 17 minute film. Now, 17 years later, I had the privilege of watching the movie again which has now been named “Captain EO Tribute” in honor of the late Michael Jackson and his devoted fans (which includes me). Nelson Mandela once said, “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” For me however, this experience was quite the opposite. Yes indeed, much has changed since I first watched the film; my age for one thing and Jackson’s passing, but the way the film made me feel has not changed one bit.
This film was created in 1986 by masterminds Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas and as an Avatar of it’s day cost an average of $1.76 million per minute to create. What’s absolutely stunning though is that the same energy and excitement I felt two days ago was exactly how I remembered it when I was six-years-old. Michael Jackson’s talent is something so indelible that it transcends audiences’ imaginations over an entire decade. The theatre roared when Michael Jackson lifted from the floor in his intricately designed white captain suit and continued to do so every time he began a choreographed routine to the sound of whips and salt shakers. I feel as though his talent is so great that even if Captain EO were released today for the first time it would still be embraced by audiences all over the world.
The little fuzzball has always been a happy memory I’ve shared with my Mom, now I’m thankful that Disneyland has given me the opportunity to remember exactly what that memory felt like.
Check out “The Story” on Wikipedia to get a full synopsis of MJ’s amazing performance here- or better yet make a trip to Disneyland and watch Captain EO for yourself before the tribute ends!