Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Let me start with some statistics here...

To all of you blog readers, I am ready to start with a general essay of the Wonders of Life and the exhibits that used to be present there. Basically, the theme of the exhibit is basically on the bright side of life, health, medical technologies and everything in between, explained in an imaginative and attention-catching manner. And that's just the summary. I'm going to start with a few explanations of each attraction within the pavillion, as listed below:

The Making of Me:
This film is devoted to the miracle of how we all came into the world - the miracle of reproduction and birth. of course, normally people shy away from the topic (due to the fact it's sensitive, and there is definitely a sign that advises parental discretion), but according to those who saw the preview before the pavillion opened, it was described as "delightful", and is the educational film "required for elementary schools across the country", as well as a good conversation aid for parents to explain reproduction to their young.

Martin Short, who stars in the film, plays a young man in his 20s - representing the soul of a person who hasn't been born yet - he tells the story of how he came into the world, as he covers topics of how his parents were born - how they met, and how they decided to have their first child - him. The film also explains the biological scale of repriduction - the thousands of sex cells on the race to meet the egg cell (portrayed as very attractive), as well as actual footage of foetus/fetus-en-utero, complete with his experiences during nine months of development. All in all, this is brilliantly executed in terms of educational films, and in my view, this one worthy of being released on DVD (if that happens!)

Body Wars:
One of EPCOT Center's first thrill-rides was this on-the-fence-sitter - Body Wars, directed by Leonard Nimoy (you may remember him as Spock from the Star Trek series), and starring three actors well known at the time - Tim Matheson, Dakin Matthews and Elisabeth Shue (who also stars in Pihranha).

Body Wars is basically a hybrid of a theatrical-experience and a simulator ride, explaining one potential future of medicine - that medical professionals (and crew) would board one of four mentioned Body Probe Vehicles and, a la Fantastic Voyage, miniturized and beamed inside the bloodstream of a volunteer. The mission featured on the ride would be to bring Dr Cynthia Lair (immunologist played by Elisabeth Shue) on board the vehicle, but however, what starts as a simple mission becomes a ride through the heart, lungs and the brain.

According to the countless visitors who once experienced this bumpy ride, you would have to put your seatbelts on, as the seats would jerk and jolt during the experience (hence the boarding precautions). Sure it is not uncommon for motion sickness to happen during the ride, but for those who enjoyed the ride, it's an experience they'd wish they would get over their motion sickness to ride again!

Cranium Command:

Another instant classic found at the pavillion - the military-operation equivalent of how the brain works, as explained by Commanding Officer General Knowledge (sounds toungue-in-cheek), who explains some well known facts about the brain to the sudience in the preshow. That is, until Buzzy enters the theater late, and is called up on stage concerning his punctuality.
In the next scene in the preshow, there is an interesting portrayal of the brain as an advanced machine - most likely as in the Air Force fleet, to juxtapose this correctly. In this case, Buzzy has been assigned to monitor a day in the life of a 12 year old adolescent boy - by piloting his brain! Of course, the adolescent brain is very iunpredictable, and it's definitely going to be a bumpy ride being the bumbling rookie pilot Buzzy is!

Photograph of Buzzy at Cranium Command: 2006 by Allen Huffman.

The show theater, which is basically a screen theater-cross-animatronics display, made to resemble the inside of someone's head. Of course, the show mixes some great facts of the brain, as well as dealing with the effects of stress on the body - in what clever way than to portray each organ in the body as a person doing a certain job (and the hypothalamus as the sadly overlooked robot, as he quotes 'No one ever wants to talk to me.') The show's significance is that the workers are played by actors who have previously starred in Saturday Night Live (successful back then in the brink of the 90s). No matter how dated you would think of this now, Cranium Command is definitely an instant classic, one that if the pavilion were to be reopened, would need special care to win back the hearts of those who lived Buzzy's antics of piloting the brain.

Goofy About Health:

What this show is about, it helps explain the scenario of adopting healthy habits, as shown in a scenario of Goofy, playing a victim of the stress of urban living, and prone to illness. This is definitely a throwback to the instructional videos (think How to Swim), especially with the narrator explaining every bit of the story (including the quote: “The doctor diagnoses our friend’s illness as the dreaded, but all-too-common, unhealthy living.” ) There is also a song featured in the exhibit - the Unhealthy Living Blues, in which I don't have the lyrics nor the actual (restored) song itself. (Oh wait, now I do!)

Of course, the theater diaplays excerpts of the classic short film featuring Goofy, made during a period of 28 years, so it's not common to encounter the various roles (and design changes) Goofy played during the time!)
This was also the opportunity for those who could not be able to ride Body Wars to wait for the rest who were at the ride.

So I guess that's about it for the summaries for each of the attractions, each with the photographs taking you to another site - Yesterland, explaining the bygone days of EPCOT center's prized attractions, and what had just happened when the pavillion became a convention center... Sad to see a treasure gone!

But no fretting please, because it's my challenge to write an article on each attraction, and with all the information sources I am gathering right now, it'll take a lot of time (considering that I am a busy person searching high and low for information!) Of course, for those who have intormation, and would like to contribute for the essays, then feel free to leave a comment!

Speaking of which, there is a poll on the blog site, which would help select which attraction from the exhibit I should write an essay on first. For readers who subscribe/follow this blog, please tell your blog-friends, because the more votes, the better the decision on which to write first.

In the meantime, I would like to show you an interactive exhibit, which frankly, a similar approach be incorporated in the pavilion should it be opened. The exhibit, showing at the Museum of Science and Industry is called You! The Experience. This would kind of remind you of one attraction I have not covered - Frontiers in Medicine, but this one I would happily speculate is an up-to-date attraction hopefully trying to fill in the void where the 'future' part of the Wonders of Life would've been.

Until then, catch you later!

*This article being written by a blogger, whose writing language is in Australian English, but also caters to American online readers by adding a word in their own country.

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