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"In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don't get bogged down with precise descriptions... The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn't care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular."
The comic versions of Silent Hill, where the complexity of Silent Hill has been reduced to endless gun-battles, incoherent story lines, and hideous artwork. Arguably, the same can be said of the games past Silent Hill 4, which are designed by different creative teams than the originals. However, this may also be described as a developing case of Adaptation Decay.
Urbanus did this to the Netherlands in "De laatste Hollander" (the last Dutchman). And generally to Belgium itself, too (being a Belgian comic).
Judge Dredd has been criticised for using national stereotypes for all countries other than the United States (including Britain, interestingly). A couple, particularly Britain and Japan, have since been fleshed out somewhat due to a number of spinoffs taking place in them. Ireland takes the trope to its logical extreme, by being literally one big theme park.
Taken literally in The Sandman. In one of the last issues, Hob Gadling visits a renaissance fair. Given that Hob is 500 years old, he is offended and depressed by the inaccurate portrayal of medieval life.
One The Authority story written by Garth Ennis has a member of the SAS read a book a former teammate just published about his exploits, so filled with Hollywood-esque BS and Theme Park Versions of events he can't stop laughing: "What'd he do, pass seating contest when he was twelve?" When he meets the guy at his book signing, he laughs along with them, pointing at the adoring fans behind and commenting that "all they want is fuckingRambo".
Animated adaptations often turn the villains into Theme Park Versions of themselves.
Propaganda films, in general, are designed precisely not to educate but to stir up opinions. One famous example is Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of U.S. "Informational" films during World War II, which essentially depicts Adolf Hitler as a real-life Snidely Whiplash with trimmed ends and the Allied peoples as all being Always Lawful Good — even Stalin. Notably, he saved a lot of time by just translating Nazi propaganda films into English to make them look scary.
Darkest Africa is The Theme Park Version of Africa, an entire continent reduced to a few stock sets.
In the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie, the pod people came out of pods, which eventually ended up being trucked all over the place to spread the invasion. When the movie was remade in 1978, the invaders first came as spores which grew into flowers. But pods are still being trucked all over the place, because that was in the original, even though carrying around the smaller and less suspicious-looking flowers would make far more sense from the aliens' standpoint.
It should be noted in the film Jurassic Park, a movie about an actual themed dinosaur park with actual dinosaurs, not all the dinosaurs are from the Jurassic period; in fact most of them are from the Cretaceous period. (Cretaceous Park doesn't sound very cool, though, and the whole Jurassic-vs-Cretaceous thing is actually noted in the book: the guy bankrolling the operation says that they couldn't very well have a dinosaur theme park without a T. rex, Jurassic or not Jurassic.)
Lampshaded repeatedly when characters admit that their park is an exercise in idealism and does not accurately represent the period (or even the dinosaurs, for that matter). The saner characters repeatedly criticize Hammond for failing to conduct proper research, and these failures consistently lead to dangerous results.
One of the characters blatantly states that a lot of the dinos died in the Cretaceous period. The film averts this and seems pretty aware that Jurassic is just a cool name.
A common criticism of Avatar is that Jake Sully experiences, and is completely seduced by, at best a Theme Park version of Pandora - none of the dangers or downsides are real for him, as if his avatar is killed, he'll wake up alive and well in the projection pod.
Film versions of The Three Musketeers are often theme park versions, most notably in reducing the complicated character of Cardinal Richelieu into a Big Bad. The four musketeers usually get reduced to archetypes as well.
One needs only be aware of who directedThe Patriot to know that it's an action flick in period clothes and not a historical documentary. That said, pull up a seat:
It also includes plenty of supposedly historical clothing, with the result that several of the women are running around practically in the equivalent of their underwear. Oh, and with loose, flowing hair, despite the fact that infrequent bathing and dangerous (to long hair, anyway) working conditions made it necessary to bind one's hair up and wear a cap over it, just to keep it clean and away from the fire, the sickle, the ax, the animals, the gate, the hot kettle, and so on.
And good heavens, the public displays of affection — the movie is chock-full of anachronistic sexy smooches and embraces in front of disapproving parents, the army regiment, or the whole town. The lead and his romantic interest start kissing in public the first time they mention their feelings for one another. There are also a few instances of modern "sex humor" that utilize words or euphemisms which didn't yet exist or were uncommon at best.
The young woman, romantic interest of the lead's son, is much too "modern" in her outspoken behavior towards the townsfolk. She reproaches the men of the town during a wartime meeting IN CHURCH, and yet the shock and repercussions are at a minimum. Not to mention that her impassioned speech basically boils down to "Fight for your beliefs, guys!" with very modern turns of phrase. It would seem that none of these educated, thoughtful adults who have been living during a time of war had ever once paused to grapple with the philosophical questions of life, or the practical matter of whether or not they wanted to take up arms and join the militia.
The live action feature film version of the Japanese manga series Great Teacher Onizuka parodied this idea by showing the abandoned remains of a (fictional) failed theme park called "Canadaland." Flashbacks to the park's glory days were... embarrassing, to say the least.
While many of the movies in the Disney Animated Canon are Pragmatic Adaptations, they are often seen as Theme Park Versions of their sources due to Public Medium Ignorance. It doesn't help that most people are generally familiar with the actual Theme Park Versions, from the literal Theme Parks, spin-offs/sequels, crossovers, or merchandise. Considering the popularity of those Theme Park Versions however, the company obviously has no intention of correcting this mindset towards the original films, much to the vexation of fans.
Sex and the City 2 is set in a theme park version of Abu Dhabi, which was actually filmed in Morocco.
Almost any Arab country in a live-action movie is actually Morocco. It has a big enough desert to build sets in (far enough away from major cities), while being secular enough that nobody will come and arrest your actresses for not wearing burqas.
Quest for Camelot fits the trope description perfectly; pretty much everything that happens in the movie, happens because it happens in this sort of movie. The fact that it doesn't make sense for that particular thing to happen didn't stop the writers from putting it in anyway.
Pirates of the Caribbean can be said to be this for pirates and piracy, if only because it was based off an amusement park ride. However the franchise has notably opened up a lot of the general public's Small Reference Pools concerning piracy (such as the East India Trading Company) even if it often takes artistic liberties with them.
The film of Starship Troopers compared to the novel its based on. It has overly ridiculous propaganda, and infantry fighting with gigantic alien bugs with rifles, with the typical militaristic fascist theme taken Up to Eleven. This was wholly intentional, as the film was supposed to be a Deconstructive Parody of the book and what it represented in the same way RoboCop (1987) was to the culture of The Eighties. Unfortunately it ends up becoming a Shallow Parody when the actual battles take place, because for however many valid criticisms one can level at Starship Troopers -or Robert Heinlein's political views for that matter- the man knew how to write a battle sequence that was 100% free of Hollywood Tactics.
Pretty much every college-themed movie ever made depicts The Theme Park Version of college life. High School life, on the other hand, has actually managed to avert this since the early-80's.
The Show Within a Show in Pleasantville, supposedly an archetypal 50s sitcom, actually represents The Theme Park Version of 50s sitcoms. In all fairness, not only does Pleasantville contain strong elements of satire, but the entire disbelief of the outside world in the Show Within a Show is only introduced by interaction with characters from the "real" world. Considering that many sitcoms never refer to the world outside the town in which they are set, it's not really much of a stretch. In fact, if you want to compare 50s sitcoms like Leave It to Beaver with the actual world, it could be argued that 50s sitcoms are themselves the theme park version of 1950s America.
Ultimately, most fiction is the theme park version of Reality
Several Voyages to Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver is a beautifully multi-layered satire on religion, politics, science and human nature while also being a delightfully hilarious parody of various contemporaries and the travelogue genre as a whole. It is vicious, often mean spirited, funny on oh so many levels, and brilliant beyond measure. For some indecipherable reason, however, it keeps getting made into books and movies for children.
Notably, most of these bastardized versions cut out the second two books altogether (and occasionally don't even get as far as Brobdignag), which are where it starts descending from political satire into a satire of progress and human nature. It's pretty easy, after all, to make a land of tiny people and a land of giants into kids' fare, much harder to turn a land of sapient horses and feral, evil, raping and squabbling humans into kid friendly material.
J. R. R. Tolkien's works are a notable victim. In The Lord of the Rings, Mordor has a lot of fertile areas thanks to all that volcanic ash, the characters speak a wide variety of archaic accents and dialects, and victory is achieved through rejection of power. In the many books and films written "in the style of" Tolkien, their Mordor looks like Hell, characters speak Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, and victory is achieved through force of arms.
Brave New World applies this trope to Refuge in Audacity, in which it calls that trope "Savage Reservations". You can visit these places like a theme park. Take a moment to analyze that.
The novel England, England focuses on the creation of a literal Theme Park Version of well, England, on the Isle of Wight.
Used in Jenna Black's Replica. The Basement is a part of what used to be the state of New York. Anyone who is born here tends to be poor, undereducated, and make most of their money via illegal activities. There are several popular night clubs that are the theme park version of the Basement itself; many wealthy and better off tourists frequent these clubs.
The American version of 10 Years Younger pretty much forgets what made the show different from other makeover type shows. The British version made a point of stressing that the treatments that people get on the show were simple and relatively cheap, that ordinary people could normally afford. The cosmetic surgery was kept to a minimum with more focus on age flattering clothes, hairstyles and (for the women) makeup. The American version however has the guests go through extensive plastic surgery and play up the emotional affect of the age polls at the start to make it pretty much the same as Extreme Makeover.
Game of Thrones, acclaimed as it is on its own, has been accused of being this towards its source material A Song of Ice and Fire. Arguably a legitimate criticism as some trope-defying situations from the book series become victim of a far less complex interpretation in the series. For example, the books followed Catelyn Stark instead of Robb Stark (focusing on the mother of the traditional hero instead of the hero himself), but the series disregarded this and focused on Robb instead, relegating Catelyn to the sidelines.
Steely Dan's song "Aja" is a parody of this approach to Asian culture.
"Deacon Blues", from the same album, is a parody of this approach to jazz music and culture.
The entire “Exotica” genre, popularized in the 1950s by Les Baxter, is basically the Theme Park Version of a stew of various ethnic musics (largely but not limited to Polynesian and African music).
During the 80's, Hair Metal became The Theme Park Version of Heavy Metal music in general (For The United States at least). The fans reacted, and formed what is now known as "Extreme Metal".
Pop punk is the theme park version of Punk Rock and hardcore punk.
Myths and Legends
In Middle Eastern legend, genies are powerful and independent spirit beings; stories of genies serving humans are rare, and gain part of their sense of wonder from the implication that at some point there was a human magician powerful enough to force a genie into servitude. Servant genie stories — "Aladdin" in particular — have circulated in the West without the relevant context, leading to a perception that serving humans is a usual thing for genies; in at least one well-known film version of the Aladdin story, the plot resolution explicitly relies on the idea that all genies are by definition required to live in lamps and grant wishes.
Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows were highly succesful at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th. They claimed to be historically accurate representations of the era and spared no costs to give the audience what they wanted with Native Americans, cowboys, stagecoaches, dramatized gun fights and horse riding. In reality all of it was a romanticized version that nevertheless caught on in the general consciousness, especially in Europe where the cowboys and Indians era has always remained popular.
MMORPGs that are very linear and/or lack many of the player-driven gameplay elements are referred to as 'themeparks' since they lack the freedom of the Quick Sand Box. There is typically on emphasis on killing non-player characters compared to non-combat related activities, such as dancing, crafter-based economies, decorating, or socializing. However, even games considered 'sandboxes' tend to feature themepark elements, such as missions/quests and dropped-based loot.
World of Warcraft is a much smaller version of Azeroth and Outland than is generally depicted in the lore and in the previous games. While generally all the important details are there and in (mostly) the right places, all the continents are scaled down so as to not affect gameplay - creating the Theme Park Version of Warcraft. Funnily enough, it causes Sequel Displacement for the rest of the series.
There are other things wrong. Places are missing, as is one of Azeroth's moons (despite models of it appearing in Northrend Dungeons), Teldrassil looks like a humongous stump with a forest growing from its remains rather then the thriving tree it is in lore... The list goes on.
Espen Aarseth actually points out that the game's Azeroth is similar to Florida's Disney World in size and layout in addition to purpose. "Both contain different thematic zones connected by paths, roads, and rail-based transportation, which cater to differing tastes, age groups, or levels."
Spore does likewise for the cycle of life. And civilization... and, umm, Dune.
Bullfrog's Theme Park games are the theme park version of... running a theme park.
Nintendo Land is a literal example. The minigames that comprise it are based on various Nintendo games and simplified, with the premise that they're attractions at a Nintendo-themed amusement park. Rule of Fun is very much at play.
Most characters in Punch Out are over-the-top national stereotypes (even the Japanese ones,) with the Wii version showing them coming from The Theme Park Version of their respective countries.
Ace Attorney pares down lawyering to the bare essentials: evidence, witness testimony, cross examination, and yelling really loudly when you spot an inconsistency. No one's complaining.
Like Nintendo Land, the Super Smash Bros. series is centered around the long history of Nintendo's video game library and its various characters.
When The Simpsons go to Japan, they dine in a Theme Park Version restaurant of the United States called Americatown, complete with sarcastic waiters dressed as cowboys that state that they don't know anything as a result of America's educational system and also work in producing poor quality cars and inferior electronics.
In almost any episode where the Simpsons leave Springfield, their destination is the Theme Park Version. Notable examples include France, Australia, and New York City, but the standout is Capital City, the state capital of The Simpsons unnamed state that functions as a combined Theme Park Version of New York and Los Angeles, meant to invoke classic The Big City tropes.
The Expy (Tavington) received the villain upgrade, not Tarleton himself, just to clarify. In The Patriot, Tavington does not survive the war while Tarleton goes on to a career in politics, as shown in the film Amazing Grace. The Marion expy seemed to be a combination of a few milita leaders rather than just Marion.
Moreover, the war is frequently (and wrongly) depicted in starkly black and white terms as a heroic revolt against tyranny. The colonists were extremely divided on the issue of independence and the reasons for the war were... complex.
This is averted in High School Advanced Placement courses, which go deeper into the complexities of the causes and results of the war and the attitudes on both sides.
The Great Depression: The stock market crash did not cause the economy to collapse. At most, it was at the time the latest in a string of worsening economical conditions. Additionally, few if any stock brokers threw themselves from windows to their deaths. We have had stock market crashes, including some rather bad (by some estimations, worse than that of 1929, depending on how you consider the numbers) since then which have come in times of both economic bust and boom.
Huis Ten Bosch - a Japanese theme park that recreates The Netherlands.
And even more so with Madurodam, the Dutch theme park version of The Netherlands (in miniature).
The Window of the World in Shenzhen, China contains scale models and reconstructions of the world's most famous landmarks and tourist attractions. This makes it the Theme Park Version of global tourism.
Disney Theme Parks: In 2004, Walt Disney World opened "Disney's Saratoga Springs", a resort inspired by another tourist hot spot, Saratoga Springs, NY (best known for mineral springs, horse racing, proximity to the Adirondack Mountains, and being the tourist destination for rich Victorians from New York City). The resemblance is...extremely superficial. To demonstrate, compare "High Rock Spring", the Disney version (waterfalls and a pool)...and the real one (a rock with a spigot covered by a building).note If they wanted an impressive water feature to emulate, they could have picked the Geyser Island spring in the park...
Similar to the aforementioned Window of the World, there is Epcot's World Showcase, which features eleven pavilions, each representing the culture of one different country.
A Shaped Like Itself version: Six Flags St. Louis has an area called "1904 World's Fair" (the real thing was in St. Louis, after all), made up like an old-time carnival and no doubt lacking the safety or health issues that the original may have had.
Also, the vikings were extremely brutal and terrorist-like in Real Life, and would do vicious, horrific things to women and children with no remorse. There's a reason why everyone in Europe feared and hated them.
In an interesting inversion, the word "Xmas" for Christmas is often wrongfully accused of being this trope. The assumption is that the X is used to remove any implications of Jesus from the holiday. In fact, it comes from the fact that X is the first letter in Jesus' title (Χριστός or Christos) in Greek.
Take Valentine's Day. It went from being a tribute to a Christian martyr, to being an occasion for romantic lovers to profess themselves to each other, to being a kitschy affair in which schoolkids in completely platonic relationships give each other goofy cards with Superman or SpongeBob SquarePants on them.
Or Saint Patrick's Day. Just about everyone's forgotten that it's a Catholic holiday, not just an Irish one.
Same with Mardi Gras. Purely Catholic, but most of the people enthused with it nowadays are probably from other religions, if they even are religious at all. Some now refer to Mardi Gras as Fat Tuesday. (To be fair, that's just translating the French. Elsewhere, the holiday is very straightforwardly called "Carnival.")
Many large cities are frequently accused of attempting to become the theme park version of themselves for a wide variety of reasons.
A particularly strong example: New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The wealthier, touristy, photogenic parts of the city bounced back much faster than the poor parts of town. This effect was not totally intentional, but some accusations of sinister intent flew. The chief exhibit would be many people who openly pondered whether the storm wasn't a good excuse to tear down most (or all) public housing.
The opposing argument being, of course, that these touristy, photogenic parts of the city were where a huge number of the people who lived in the city worked, and the faster they got back on their feet, the sooner money could start coming into the city again.
If you have access to Google Translator you can see they label the last part of their history section as weakening of unipolar domination. Our other wiki calls it contemporary era.
Most of history, especially what you're taught in high school. It would take the whole school year to get a non-Theme Park version of any one war. Either one of the World Wars could easily eat up all the time allotted to history secondary education.
Some wars like the War of 1812 are so complex that even the theme park version is hard to understand so they are generally just mentioned in passing and ignored.
If you live in America, you also think that America has won every war it entered, with the possible exception of Vietnam depending on which side of the spectrum you're on. In fact, America has undeniably lost a few low-key wars in its history, the most crushing being the aforementioned War of 1812, where the British actually set fire to the capital. This might be why it's gone mostly unmentioned.
The War of 1812 itself ended as a draw under the Treaty of Ghent, both sides agreeing to end the war as status quo antebellum, or back to the way things were before. Neither side got anything out of it, so neither side can be called a victor. The Burning of Washington, even, was in retaliation to American Forces burning down York first, the then provincial capital of Canada.
The news of the treaty came after a large American Victory at New Orleans (which happened to be fought after the treaty was signed due to slow communication), leading most Americans to get the impression the war was won.
Also, you might also believe that World Wars I and II were only won because of America, and while America definitely influenced the outcomes, it didn't do quite as well in WWI as history books have you believe.
Some elementary and high school history classes focus on the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. This might have something to do with the fact that most teachers came of age during one of these administrations. (Other teachers and curricula somehow manage to never get past the Eisenhower administration, for similar reasons: there's too much risk of parents and school boards objecting to any possible discussion of the Vietnam War, Watergate, or the Iran hostage crisis.)
Wars. All of them, especially the World Wars. Wars usually have very complex and multiple political, sociological, economical and historical causes, all the sides have their specific goals, intents, virtues and depravities. However, in movies, popular consciousness, and even in history classes, they usually devolve into a theme park version of a fight between the forces of Good who only want to bring justice to the world, versus the Evil who are so evil that all they do is just for the sake of being evil.
Allied propaganda from World War II loved to demonize Adolf Hitler, showing him as evil through and through, while the Allies were always depicted as Always Lawful Good, even Glorious Mother Russia. Never mind that Josef Stalin was just as bad as Hitler (it has been argued that Stalin was even worse than Hitler) and that the Allied Forces' bombing of Dresden, Germany and the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki is now seen as highly questionable and controversial. But then, propaganda is never meant to educate, but to influence and to stir up emotions.
Taking World History as a course has The Theme Park Version written all over it, no matter how high up the classes are. The information has to be reduced so much that it winds up being completely inaccurate. For example, "Japan closed off its borders" will probably be the only indication you get of a complex economic, political and cultural decision that can be traced back hundreds of years before the final event.
In American film and literature, many Native Americans suffer from this trope. Pick any nation you like, and if you bother to do the research, you will find a complex society with all the trimmings: a working economy, clearly defined values and morals, a deep religion, a highly developed language, and a well-developed justice system. Yet some authors portray Native Americans as backward, childlike people who all talk like Tonto, and others portray them all as a nature-bonded Magical Native American stereotype who are mercilessly slaughtered by the brutish white man. It's difficult at times to ascertain which is more offensive.
Critics of Ecological Succession (the idea that agricultural land abandoned, or a forest after a devastating fire, passes through a series of defined stages until it becomes a thick forest again) point out that it was originally formulated in Turn-of-the-Century Western Europe, a place where most native large mammals - which would otherwise keep forests open and make fires less likely by "mowing the lawn" when eating - had been long exterminated by humans. In other words, our idea of what a natural, unaltered landscape looks like is barely more natural or unaltered than a farm field. It might have more species diversity, but not as much as it originally had.
Mexican History. You are taught some during primary school, only to have everything you believed be crushed once you enter middle school and especially on high school. Remember that incident about that boy who wrapped himself in the flag to stop the American invaders from taking over it? Guess the fuck what. It never happened. Heck, high-school history teachers mostly compare the real facts with what the "official" history says.
History period. Most of it comes from a eurocentric background, so any highschool-back history book you read will passingly mention the Middle East, India, Africa, and Asia while focusing on Europe and its struggles. You don't read 1200-1800-era Chinese, Arabian, or African authors too often, nor do you discuss non-European empires from those eras. Also, North America didn't exist until 1492. Hence why it's the "New World", regardless of how old it actually is. Can you think of any major events in Native American history before Europeans came over that doesn't have to do with doomsday calenders? Or of major scientific inventions and philosophical innovations outside of Europe that don't have to do with algebra, limestone batteries, or gunpowder? Let's just say that if you respond "There are none," you've successfully proved this trope correct.
Psychology. Just as much as biology and history, the version of psychology on shows like Criminal Minds, Bones and other shows is extremely simplified, misapplied, out of date, or outright wrong. First year psychology classes is usually enough to dispel most of the myths you'd find on TV, but for anything more than a smattering of the various areas in psychology you'd need to take a higher-level course.
Your standard wall calendar will do this to the months of the year, often taking a major holiday or something similar of each month and making a photo about it. Common examples in the US:
February: Valentine's Day, red and pink and heart-shaped everything.
April: "April Showers," raincoats and boots and umbrellas.
July: Independence Day, stars and stripes, Uncle Sam and Fireworks.
October: Halloween, costumes (Hot Witch is a favorite), jack-o-lanterns, and ghosts.
November: Thanksgiving, turkeys, pilgrims and Indians.
December: Christmas, trees, ornaments and Santa Claus.
The First Australians (or Indigenous Australians) are not the same as Australian Aborigines. The indigenous population consists of two main groups. About 90% are Aborigines, which pretty much everyone knows about. The rest are Torres Strait Islanders, relatively unknown outside of Australia and often forgotten within the country. This division oversimplifies the diversity of languages (hundreds within the Aborigine population alone) and cultures in the indigenous community.