George Lucas' and Michael Jackson's weird sci-fi movie lives again

Fans of a certain age may recall that George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Jackson, Avatar composer James Horner and Disney once collaborated on one of the weirdest 3-D sci-fi movies of all time: Captain EO, which was perhaps the first hybrid of film and in-theater effects in a theme park attraction (it played in Disneyland).

Well, it's back, now that Jackson's reputation has been resurrected in the wake of his untimely death, the official Disney Parks Web site reports:

Twenty-three years ago, at the height of his phenomenal entertainment career, Michael Jackson joined forces with Disney to create "Captain EO," a groundbreaking 17-minute 3D film experience.

We are excited to confirm that the classic musical spectacular that thrilled Disneyland park guests from 1986 - 1997, will return for an exclusive, limited engagement at Disneyland park beginning in February 2010!

The film, which will screen in the Tomorrowland theater currently occupied by the aging Honey I Shrunk the Audience movie, is notable for featuring Anjelica Huston as a heavily made-up space witch. Lucas executive-produced and Coppola directed; Horner wrote some of the music; and the film features two original Jackson songs.

The return of Captain EO is apparently the result of a fan campaign after Jackson's death. Not clear whether the film will be restored or enhanced or if it will appear in other Disney theme parks subsequently, but stay tuned. (You can get a grainy YouTube taste of it below.)

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