“Country Bears” opens July 26, the first of a slew of feature films based on Disneyland attractions.
And what a great idea that is! Disneyland holds unlimited film possibilities. Well, maybe not “unlimited.” Actually, many of the attractions are already based on films (the “Dumbo” ride, “Tarzan’s Treehouse,” “Indiana Jones Adventure,” et al). So this just reverses the equation.
Clearly, it’s not easy to find the film potential in the King Arthur Carousel. But if you look hard enough, it’s exciting to realize that one magical day, every attraction at Disneyland could have a film tie-in.
And, as usual, Variety is here to help. Here are some attractions that are simply crying out to be made into a film.
- “It’s a Small World” — A character study, directed by David Cronenberg, about a man slowly driven insane by the relentless title tune. Stars Ralph Fiennes, Judy Davis. Rated R for extreme violence and some puppet sensuality.
- “Adventureland Jungle Boat Cruise” — Crikey! Once again, Steve Irwin, star of TV’s “Crocodile Hunter,” battles deadly wildlife. This time, the wildlife wins. A real crowd-pleaser.
- “Disney’s California Adventure” — Ellen Burstyn and Sarah Michelle Gellar star in a comedy-mystery about a group of women who wander around in an amusement park that’s strangely deserted. aka “Divine Secrets of the Scooby-Doo Sisterhood.”
- “Mean Main Streets” — Martin Scorsese’s ultraviolent look at turn-of-the-century Americana. Starring Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning and Haley Joel Osment. Formerly known as “Gangs of Euro Disney.”
- “Big Thunder Mountain” — Gross-out comedy about teenagers who eat pork ribs and beans at the Bengal Barbeque, gumbo in New Orleans Square, and cotton candy, popcorn and Carnation ice cream in Fantasyland, then go on Disneyland thrill rides. Those ear-shattering rumbles you hear ain’t big thunder.
- “The Enchanted Tiki Room” — The film builds a strange sense of foreboding, thanks to yammering tropical birds, switched identities, strange sexual undertones and flights of dream-like fantasy (why is a Mexican parrot in a Tahitian setting?). Once again, David Lynch blows the lid off the dark underbelly of middle-class optimism.
- “The Parking Lot” — Hilarious, offbeat comedy as the Ozzy Osbourne clan wanders around for hours after forgetting where they parked their car. Directed by Tony Kaye.
- “Matterhorn” — Mike Figgis directed this semi-improvised film, shot in real time, in which a group of people stand around chatting for 90 minutes as they wait in line for the Matterhorn.
- “Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition” — Michael Ovitz gets into a shootin’ match with Hollywood’s gay mafia.
- “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln” — Horror/sci-fi film as small children are terrified by a robot man in a stovepipe hat.
- “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” — The spinning tea cups are center-stage in the rap musical about a mad hip-hop hatter. Starring Ice T as Iced Tea, Eminem as an M&M, Bernie Mac as Big Mac, and Meat Loaf as The Entree.