Monsoon-A-Day: ‘Captain EO’ 1986

Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day.

Day 23

In the late 1980’s, Disney recruited George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola (And something called Rusty Lemorande, I’m assuming it’s a foreign soda company) To create a short film to play at their parks. I’m assuming it was made to capitalize off of the success of Star Wars but my question is, Why didn’t they just make a feature length film?

Disney just felt like throwing away an exorbitant amount a money one day because this 17 minute short cost a whopping 30 million dollars. Which at the time, Was the single most expensive film ever produced.

How.

Why?

But i’m getting ahead of myself.

The film begins with a spaceship filled with a group of ragtag aliens lead by Jackson on a mission to deliver a map to “The Supreme Leader”. The first thing you’ll notice about the crew, Is that they’re terrible. It feels as though they just took whatever puppets were laying around the Henson workshop and decided that was good enough to sell toys.

 

The map they’re supposed to deliver, Was eaten by Hooter (Hooter is the green abomination in the wife beater in the pic) But they decide to carry out the mission anyways. They get attacked by some other ships for some reason but thankfully they arrive at the planet unscathed. Except for Hooter, Who still looks like gods abortion.

The Planet looks like the borg planet but everything is made of trash. For a 30 million dollar movie, The sets all look like musical sets. Like something out of Starlight Express. But shitty.

They make it to “The Supreme Leader” and she immediately wants to throw them into the dungeon. And that’s before she finds out that they don’t have the map. I don’t understand the hostility. His mission was to go to that planet and give her a map. She knows this and even acknowledges it but immediately calls them trespassers and tries to lock them up. If the map isn’t the inciting incident, Why the fuck even include it in the first place?

She sends soldiers after them but Michael Jac– I mean Captain EO has a trick up his sleeve. Would you like to guess what the trick is? I bet you’ll never guess.

He can sing.

He uses his incredible dance magic to turn the trash soldiers into neon glowing back-up dancers.

 

Then the major song begins. You ever wonder why you never heard “We are here to change the world” on the radio when Jackson passed? It’s because it sucks. The movie turns into a terrible pepsi commercial for about 5 minutes and he fixes the planet’s problems with his magic mouth words.

The end.

Again, I can’t stress this enough. This fucking movie cost 30 million fucking dollars. Thriller came out 3 years before and cost 500,000 dollars. That video was so good, That not only did it have an Oscar qualifying run,  It was selected for The National Film Registry.

I don’t understand where the money went or why they decided a music video that takes 14 minutes to get to the music was a great idea.

This film is for Michael Jackson completionists only.

 

Bonus Film

Arcade Attack is Pseudo-Documentary about the fandom between Pinball players and Arcade players. It came out in 1982 and is the best short film you’ve never heard of.

Between the interviews, shots of vintage arcades are interspersed throughout and it essentially becomes nostalgia porn. You’ll miss the days the were long dead before you were ever born. A graveyard of neon lights and the ghosts of high scores.

The interviewees are the second main draw. There’s a player addicted to Defender who legitimately believes the game is alive and then there’s the rockabilly, Elvis loving, confederate flag wavin’ pinster who is obsessed with pinball. So much so in fact, He has a tattoo of the game he’s playing on his back. It’s all very weird.

But it gets weirder.

Without giving away what makes the short spectacular, There’s a twist. A twist that turns it from being another regular run-of-the-mill doc to one of the most ambitious films to ever be forgotten.

If this film was made today, The director would already have a 5 picture deal at Marvel.

Skip Captain EO and watch Arcade Attack. It’s a masterpiece.