Saturday, August 18, 2007

Steampunk Sampler Platter

In the "Steampunk: Nemo's Nautilus" post I mentioned that Disney has more opportunities than it may realize with the Steampunk style/genre in the parks. I'm sure when I use the term Steampunk it doesn't immediately bring to mind a specific visual reference the way mentioning Art Nouveau or Film Noir would. So this post is just a random sampling of Steampunk goodness to get the feel, more specific ideas relating to Disney next time.

-Weta Rayguns, Weta is the infamous Visual FX house based in New Zealand that is responsible for Lord of the Rings and King Kong. Greg Broadmore at the Weta Workshop has come up with this line of Rayguns, or as they have been branded "Dr. Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators.

The Raygun website (linked above, make sure you check it out) is an amazing assortment of spoof advertising that is very creative and very Disney-like. They have created enough back story in selling these Rayguns for it's own film. Check out the "spoof-o'-mercial" they made below.

-The Sculptures of Stephane Halleux . I love these designs, they almost read as props right off the set of a stop-motion animation film. The vehicles and characters would easily lend themselves to be interpreted into a Steampunk like ride. There are a lot more amazing designs on the website, make sure to check out the link above.

Random "Objects de' Steampunk:" If it has lots of bolts, gears, gadgets, metal, is steam powered, or requires the use of cool looking goggles to operate- it's Steampunk! (Laptop image courtesy of MonkeyFarm.)

Top Steampunk-esque films... These would be near the top of the list: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Wild Wild West, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, City of Lost Children, Back to Future 3, and certain aspects of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hallow.

- The Edison restaurant and bar in Los Angeles (website worth checking out if you can't get to the real thing.) Self described as "a lounge alive with artifacts from it's history as Downtown LA's first private power plant; a celebration of an era of invention and imagination- the blending of science, art, and industry."

There are a many angles that Disney could pursue with the Steampunk genre. There is enough latitude within the style to go in many directions, be it very dark and edgy, or whimsical and very family friendly. I think it's even rich and broad enough to have it's own land.

But, assuming a "Discovery Bay" actually does end up in the Frontierland land area, I hope Disney would at least sprinkle in some elements of Steampunk, if not actually going all out and really sink their teeth into some of the antiquated future themes.


Anonymous said...

I don't like the name "Steampunk."
From now on let's call it "Victorian High-Tech."

Cory The Raven said...

Sorry, I'm a little late on this post... I found this place from Imaginerding's link to your photos from Paris...

I hate the term "Steampunk" myself as well. It used to mean just Victorian-style Sci-Fi, but has seen been coopted by the Goth/Industrial/Punk scene as just another costumed alternative subculture, and I pretty much guarantee that you'd get this highly specialized group complaining about how Disney was coopting their scene.

But that's a nomenclature thing... I prefer "Scientific Romances" myself, with the poetic, Vernian "Voyages Extraordinaires". And yes, there is so much that Disney could do with it!

I would die to see Discovery Bay realized at either Disneyland or Califronia Adventure (where the San Francisco Harbour theme would fit). I'm also hoping to visit Japan in the next year or so, where going to DisneySea is high on the list. I'll also be in Paris for about 12 hours in January, which may involve a visit to DLP (after the Eiffel Tower of course).

Anyways, if you're into Scientific Romances, you might enjoy the blog I'm starting up in November. And there will be a Disney Month!

Drew said...


Thanks for the comments. Let me know when your blog is up and running, I look forward to seeing it.

Seems your not alone in the distaste of the term Steampunk. Despite the name I agree Disney is missing the boat on the genre. I have one more post related to the Steampunk topic about an actual ride idea. I have been on the fence as to actually posting it or not. I think Disney would/will go for more "branded" ideas ( ie Lone Ranger) for developing Frontierland anyway. Oh well!

Cory The Raven said...

Hey, if it brings us "The Lone Ranger's Western River Adventure", I'd be fine with that! ^_^

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Galen Gallimore said...

There has already been a 'steampunk' type ride, if you will, at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - Questor! Not sure if it's still around...

When I first learned about 'steampunk', and yes, I'm not crazy about the name either, I immediately thought of Questor.

Dreamfinder and his airship are another decidedly victorian sci-fi/fantasy element already...oh, wait, that one is gone too...

Steampunk has been described as 'what if Jules Verne's creations had happened in his lifetime'. Makes me think of the old man himself floating in his ship on the way to the moon in Horizons. Perhaps if Horizons II comes along, a look back at tomorrow can have a steampunk, er, victorian sci-fi feel.