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September 15, 2010

Rumble In The Jungle

ImgKING KONG1The whole family took our first ever trip to the Rainforest Cafe' this weekend.  We kind of stumbled upon it.  If you've never been, imagine a sensual, humid, tropical Rain forest.  It smells of earth and wet wood and decomposition and flowers you thought only existed in fairy tales.  The air is thick with moisture and the unknown.  You're enveloped by dark foliage.  The animals are gigantic and alien and wilder than anything you've ever encountered.  There are butterflies bigger than your head made up of vivid vermilions, cadmiums, lavenders, fuchsias, and goldenrods.

Now imagine that same seen done completely in plastic.  And animatronics.  Inside a mall.  

Welcome to the Rainforest Cafe'.

As My Wife put it, "How do they dust it?"

How, indeed?

We were pretty excited when we found it.  Something new to try with the kids.  We came away with mixed feelings.

Despite my bitter description, the audio-visual display was pretty tight, yo.  Screeching chimps, grunting, chuffing, gorillas shaking the plastic vines.  Trumpeting elephants, eyes a-light, ears flapping as they ready for a charge they'll never start.  

The Pumpkin man stared at those elephants, slack-jawed and blinking, while I contentedly tossed bits of pizza into his mouth from two feet away.

What I'm trying to say is, there was so much to see, the kids actually behaved.  In a restaurant.  Nary a spoon was whipped at a passing waiter.

Those poor bastards.  Not a place I'd want to be employed.  I'd walk away from my mortgage before I worked there.  A constant, artificial, jungle cacophony broken only by the sounds of tired parents demanding their money's worth.  I'd rather work as a sandal cleaner at Burning Man.  I'd rather work as a fluffer in a German Scheisse video.  I wouldn't work there, is my point.

On to the food. This is from their website: "Offers moderately priced food and beverage items . . . ."  If you consider 19 dollar chicken fajitas moderately priced, then sure, it's moderately priced.  And Betty White is moderately old.

The flavor of the food . . .well.  Consider this:

Instead of a chef, they had a magician.  A great magician.  And this great magician made all the flavor in the food disappear.  

It was all style, no substance.  But it was still enjoyable.  The Rainforest Cafe:  It's the Avatar of restaurants.

Let's see which one would win in a fight.

Avatar: Spellbinding 3D visuals.  Lousy, overpriced, movie theatre food.

Rainforest Cafe:  Ditto on the visuals.  The lousy, overpriced, food they made themselves

Point: Avatar

Avatar: Native peoples called the Na'vi.  Tall, improbably slender, beautiful, blue.  They are at perfect harmony with their surroundings.

R.C.:  The Native peoples are called waitstaff.  They're very human.  Half of them have probably attempted to take a dump in the alligator's mouth.  

Point: Avatar

Avatar:  If I had taken my kids to see it, they may have never recovered.

R.C.':  I'm pretty sure I could spend an hour picking through the sale bin at Spencer's Gifts while my kids played with one of the fake chimps.  Almost positive, even. 

Point:  R.C.

Avatar:  The Na'vi people are high on life.

R.C.  :  You can order large potent drinks like the "Rainforest Ricky," the "Tropical Toucan," and the, "Margarilla,"  making it possible to ignore your children as they scale the ten foot high salt water fish tanks in order to get a closer look.

Point: R.C.

Avatar:  "Every living thing that crawls, flies, or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for Jujubes." - Colonel Quaritch

R.C.:  "Place kinda freaks me out.  It's like a Chuck E. Cheese managed by Colonel Kurtz." -Jason Avant

Point:  R.C.

And the winner is:  Avatar

It's the first movie my wife and I had seen at the theatre since The Dark Knight.  We had no kids with us, and we smuggled in our own booze.  Congrats once again, Mr. Cameron!






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