Captain EO (1986)
You’ll love the way Captain EO makes you feel
When the name Michael Jackson is brought up, many things come to mind. His record-breaking album sales. His trademark moonwalk. His alleged obsession with plastic surgery. But, of course, in the later years of his life, a black cloud hung over his head. The general public wondered did he or didn’t he … acquire a license to keep Bubbles the chimpanzee as a pet. The domestication of monkeys is a serious issue, one that dogged Jackson in his final years.
Now while Jackson is probably best known for his music, he also had a stellar film career. So stellar in fact that George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola worked together on a film with him. That’s right, Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather and The Godfather II, considered by some to be the second and third greatest films of all time. What’s considered to be the greatest film, you may be asking? Why, it just happens to be the film I’ll be taking a look at this week, Captain EO.
Captain EO was a landmark film when it was released exclusively at Disney theme parks back in 1986. Unlike the lame 3-D films such as Avatar that we have to settle for today, Captain EO was a 4- D film. Not only was it in filmed in 3-D, but effects like lasers and smoke were used in the theatre to add an extra element. It is amazing how times have changed. Just a few weeks ago, I went to see The Smurfs at the local cinema, and you should have seen the looks that the toddlers in the theatre were giving me when I lit up my cigar. They definitely wouldn’t have liked the Captain EO experience.
Jackson portrays the titular character in the film. He is joined on a spaceship ride through the galaxy by Fuzzball (a two-headed bird), 1950s style robots Major and Minor Domo, and last but certainly not least, Hooter, a three foot tall elephant who appears to be made out of paper mâché. Hooter is played by Tony Cox, best known for his turn as Marcus in Bad Santa.
Once EO, Hooter and the gang reach their destination, they are quickly captured by the Supreme Leader (Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston), who threatens to enslave the lot of them. EO is left with two options: he can either put up his dukes and try his luck in hand to hand combat, or he can instead try to get out of the situation with an elaborate dance number. I won’t spoil it by revealing which option he chooses.
I highly recommend Captain EO. The film was executive produced by George Lucas, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and its music was composed by Michael Jackson. If that doesn’t sell you on it, nothing I tell you will. Except for maybe the fact that it is only 16 minutes long, so even if for some unfathomable reason you didn’t like it, you won’t have wasted much of your time.
But if you do think Captain EO is a “Bad” film, then you can just “Beat It.” Captain EO is a “Thriller” from start to finish. “Say, Say, Say” what you want about some of the creative forces behind this one, but they have a proven track record.
The good news is you don’t have to travel all the way to Orlando or Anaheim just to see the film in one of Disney’s amusement parks. Oh sure, that is what I did, and it is the ideal way to experience this masterpiece. But if you want to save yourself some airfare and admission charges, you could watch the film on YouTube, where multiple versions are available. So head over to YouTube and watch the film more than once – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”