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I guess I'm so wound up about the movie insertions into Pirates of the Caribbean because I'm coming at it from the perspective of a (maybe former, now) Star Wars fan. The original trilogy wasn't perfect by any means, but it had a great, cohesive story; the elements, both emotional and visual, were well balanced between highs and lows (allegros and adagios [allegri and adagii?] might be a better metaphor); the movies' structures and the structure of the overall trilogy had had a flow and symmetry that lent them/it grace. And that structure was tight. There's not a single element in any one of those three movies which does not serve the flow, the balance, or the story.

Very nearly every change in the original trilogy, right up to the last "director's cut" version, by itself, was not necessarily a bad thing. For the life of me I will never understand why they altered R2-D2's dialogue in that one scene in Star Wars, but it by itself did not detract from the movie. It was not the discrete changes that were the problem, rather it was the accretion of those changes that disrupted the structure of the movies. By changing some things, but not others, Lucas rendered the movies asymmetrical and disrupted the flow while adding very little to the story. One change, one scene addition, probably won't do that, but a whole bunch of them will.

Both the new trilogy and the new version of the original trilogy suffer the same problem: a disruption of flow based on over-emphasis of certain elements. The story no longer flows organically because the emphasis is on Action, Fan Service, and Special Effects, not the story. All the adagios have been hacked out or glossed over in favor of ever longer and more intense allegros.

Pirates of the Caribbean, as a ride, achieves much the same balance, flow, and grace as the original Star Wars trilogy. The filmic sensibilities, as well as the storylines and flow, of the great Disney dark rides are covered more thoroughly than I could do in Wednesday's Re-Imagineering blog update by Mr. Banks. Be sure you read the comments, which are equally enlightening.

So I worry that sticking in all this stuff not accounted for in the ride's original structure, changing the story completely to revolve around this Jack Sparrow bloke, will break the ride the way sticking in all the bright, splashy special effects and liberally sprinkling Boba Fett all over everything broke the original Star Wars movies. It's wonderful, Imagineers, that you're plussing the ride. I loved the changes in the mid-90's (except for the trays of food part, but that was minor at best), but they were a few small plusses. It's nice that you've found eight (or nine or ten) things you can change to make the ride bigger and cater more to your guests' desires of the moment, but what about the thirty-five or forty things connected to those eight changes? Have you thought about where these changes will leave those elements? Will the ride still flow? Will it still be balanced? Will there be any adagios left to counterpoint the allegros? Will it still be beautiful?

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