2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Epcot's Impressions de France
Published: March 8, 2010 at 8:57 AM
Long-time Theme Park Insider readers will remember that I've been championing this film for years, having written in 2008 that 'Impressions de France' is the best movie ever made for a theme park. Here's what I wrote about the film then:
The twenty minutes that most theme park films get simply isn't enough time to tell a nation's story. So you're left with a simplistic, overly earnest work that tries to charm like a puppy in a pet store cage.
Epcot's Impressions de France wins by refusing to play this game. No traveler ever really learns the story of a nation. At best, he or she absorbs a few instructive impressions about the land he or she has visited. And that's what Impressions de France offers -- impressions.
Impressionism, of course, is France's gift to art. By eschewing narrative for impressionism, director Rick Harper played on France's home turf. And he also created a work that would not grow stale after a few viewings. Effective impressionism reflects the viewer as well as the artist, allowing a work to change and develop in a viewer's eyes over the years, as that viewer brings something different to each encounter with the work.
Impressions de France takes us on a visual tour of the nation, set to the music of French classical music composers, including Debussey and Saint-Saens. The film closes with Saint-Saens' Organ Concerto, as we rise up the Eiffel Tower - a moment that remains, for me, one of the most thrilling in any theme park.
Impressions de France is the work of producer Bob Rogers and director Rick Harper, seen here in front of the Impressions de France storyboard, in a photo provided by Disney Legend (that's an actual title) Marty Sklar:
Obviously, I'm thrilled that Theme Park Insider readers have embraced this film, too, and voted it to a number two seed in the tournament. I'll try to keep my campaigning for it to a minimum going forward. :-)
Oh, whom am I kidding? I love this film. Please share your thoughts about Impressions de France, in the comments.