HOLLYWOOD – Our intrepid Austrian correspondent, Rescue Dawn director Werner Herzog, visited Disneyland. This is his report.
First of all there is one matter that I fear must be resolved, or at the very least clarified.
Disneyland is not a land as such. Not the way Iceland, or Greenland, or – Lord helps us all – even England are lands. That is large country sized extents of terrain.
No. Disneyland is more like a large park situated near the town of Anaheim in California.
So we begin our journey with lies.
And unlike the aforementioned lands, you have to buy a ticket to enter this ‘land’ and the ticket is very, very expensive. But buy a ticket I did, for I was determined to use my utmost strength to understand a phenomena that had up until now eluded the transom of my being. I started with Space Mountain.
It was spectacular. A roller-coaster inside a building. Exhilarating and claustrophobic, precisely the emotional state I was in directing Christian Bale.
From there I went for a breather in a place I have always enjoyed sleeping. The cinema. But what’s this? Michael Jackson in some ill-advised acting role? Captain EO? I ululated in the way Arab women do when in the deepest grief and fled. ‘Executive producer George Lucas and director Francis Ford Coppola changed the world when they released Captain EO in 1986,’ boasted the promotional material and I well believe it. A darkness entered the universe that has yet to be identified or eradicated.
Some comfort was to be attained by climbing the Matterhorn I hoped, but this proved to be a grave disappointment. Rather than encountering the dizzying adventures of my youthful mountaineering adventures in Bavaria, the Matterhorn turned out to be simply another roller-coaster and the Pirates of the Caribbean was revealed to be a complete rip off the wonderfully original Johnny Depp/Keira Knightley movies. How can they sully that wonderful franchise with such dire commercial spin offs? Ditto the Haunted House.
Finally I took refuge in ‘It’s a Small World’. There was something stunning in the slow water cruise through a miasma of barely comprehensible sentimentality. I was Marlow heading up the river to confront Mr. Kurtz, the Hollow Man of exploitation and modern malaise. The children sang the Sherman brothers’ song at first as an anthem and then as a method of torture. It was water boarding for the ears and I was soon screaming along with all my fellow passengers.
I exited the ride a changed man. A sadder, frailer, more defeated version of the Werner Herzog of before. I was also, I am ashamed to say, very much under arrest.