I thought I'd celebrate the NFL's triumphant (?) regular season debut in Canada last night with a visit to Canada of my own! Well, sort of. Actually a visit to Epcot's Canada!
Intro: Tucked in the back of the rocky and beautiful gardens of Epcot’s Canada pavilion is “O Canada!” A “Circle-Vision 360” production, the original film was completed in 1981 using Disney’s unique technique that surrounds the viewers with screens. The film traces its history all the way back to Expo 67 in Montreal so it should come as no surprise that FORTY YEARS LATER it was starting to feel dated and thus was updated with the addition of Martin Short and some new footage for the fall of 2007.
Queue: We hang out in a mine of some sort waiting to be led into the theater. If you’re here and there’s actually a line then you need to consider visiting Walt Disney World sometime other than Christmas and the 4th of July.
Show: We open up with a blizzard and the voice of DON PARDO telling us that in Canada it is cold and snows 365 days a year and everyone lives in igloos. Martin Short interrupts to correct this description and provide a real view of Canada from a real Canadian – himself! Don Pardo (OK, that might not have really been Don Pardo, but it sounded like him) leaves for the France pavilion.
We head to Niagara Falls to check out the far more impressive Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. Then we visit New Brunswick and follow a train across the west coast of Vancouver for beautiful gardens and the almost century old trees of the nearby forest. We check out some Canadian wildlife like polar bears and moose.
Some folks snowboard and ski and even CURL. Martin Short loves curling…apparently. We switch to the famous skating scene from the original film with people skating on all sides of us. “In the winter our favorite form of transportation is skating.” Alright, Martin Short, if you’re going to get mad at Don Pardo for perpetuating stereotypes then you don’t get to do it yourself. To further this point, we get to watch some hockey.
Its time for more sports like whitewater rafting, sailing, and baseball (complete with Joe Carter winning the World Series!) Because if there’s something Canadians have embraced over the last decade it’s been BASEBALL!
We move on to check out some Canadian cities like Victoria and Vancouver, BC, home of the Canadian film industry! “Vancouver doesn’t look like anywhere, it doesn’t even look like Vancouver!” (Bonus points if you can tell me where that quote’s from!) Next up is Calgary, gateway to the Rocky Mountains and home of the Calgary Stampede rodeo. (What? Nothing about Bret Hart? Posh!)
We move on to the “sophistication” of Toronto and “the cradle of French civilization” in Quebec. Listen, if I wanted to see French people I would have left with Don Pardo! Martin Short then stops to plug Cirque du Soleil! Really? Synergy? Here? Now?
We get some pictures of Canadian entertainers like Jim Carrey and Mike Myers before we’re introduced to “the real stars of Canada”: the Canadian people. “This would be a perfect place for a song,” says Martin Short and, what do you know, the Mounties surround us and the new and improved version of “Canada (You’re A Lifetime Journey)” by Canadian Idol fourth season winner Eva Avilia begins. The musical montage includes some of the more breathtaking Circle-Vision shots from the original film including the Rocky Mountains and the breathtaking Canadian sunset.
We return to Niagara Falls and Martin Short tells us to head right out of the theater and go due north to Canada! He, however, has to go use his Fastpass for Soarin.
Thoughts: If this sounds 100% like an advertisement from the Canadian Tourism Commission, well, it is. But it’s a really good one! Like, seriously, as I was watching this I was thinking “you know what, I really want to go to Canada” (when I wasn’t making up maple syrup jokes in my head.)
Martin Short is funny but not annoying and the film is a perfectly enjoyable way to spend ten minutes at Epcot.
Overall Rating: *** ½
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