On a related (or unrelated) note, I thought of the mime at Seaworld who does his routine before each of the Clyde and Seymore shows. Very funny and well-done entertainment. In our current age of technological wonders, we can still find enjoyment in simpler and time-honored art forms.
But what they really need to work on was that Tom Staggs character.....he just didn't seem very lifelike to me....
Indeed, Mr. Newman beat me to the punch. Mr. Niles' offering made me think of the great Marcel Marceau. I'm somewhat self-conscious about offering praise to Monsieur Marceau. While working on 'Men In Black: Alien Attack' I'd heard the design team wanted to include a mime in the "zap-every-alien-who-moves" attraction. Not because the mime was supposed to be an alien, but rather because the fiedish creative types desired to learn how many people just wanted to shoot a mime.
But this topic is somewhat timeless. Remember the plot from 'Singing in the Rain?' Where a movie studio struggles with the challenges of ushering a valuable starlet from silent films to "talkies?"
Would Chaplin have ever become Chaplin had he spoken in 'The Kid' or 'City Lights?' Would a talking Harpo had upset the balance and chemistry of the Marx brothers -- reducing the rich and anarchic nature of their performance?
I know so many people who work in the entertainment department at Walt Disney World. And at every opportunity I remind them that what they do every day is every bit as big as broadway.
When I offered that opinion to a friend who does not work at Disney, he responded, "No, it's bigger."
I read somewhere that Disney is being very cautious about introducing talking characters to the parks. And I am condfident enough in the company to believe it won't pull the trigger until it is absolutely certain it would produce a positive experience for the guests. Espcecially since there has been no request by park patrons to add speech. This is Disney's own initiative. Their own choice.
What's more in a Youtube/camera phone world, caution should be the basis of any approach.
If people, especially children, were meeting Mickey with the moving mouth and eyes, I'm sure a few would be slightly "put off" more so than now.
Its a balancing act that Disney will need to thoroughly test to get perfect, but it is a nice addition, although I agree it would need to be part of every character meet and greet to make it work.
The only problem I foresee is that every Mickey now needs to be a talking Mickey. Kids that are initially introduced to this new character will need to be spoken to in future meet-and-greets, so Disney has to go all in with this new character for it to really work.
If Disney can make this possible, I think its only fair to give the speaking ability to other characters from non-Disney amusement parks, even beyond that to sports teams, TV shows and live theater. The possibilities are endless.But what I really want to know is how the technology behind talking characters actually works.
If it's done the right way, I don't think the experience will be scary for children. If the characters talk in the right tone and know how to deal with children and other people, it will work out just fine.
as for the specific video.. not sure the actor quite understood the character, the movements didn't really say Mickey to me..
(and yes, this may very well be the ONLY time I will refer to a costumed character as such.. they are REAL!)
Though I think the character dialogue was probably pre-recorded, this proves that there may be more talking characters on the way.