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Film / The Timekeeper

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A journey through time!

The Timekeeper, also known as From Time to Time or Le Visionarium, was a CircleVision 360 Film attraction produced for the Disney Theme Parks in 1992, shown at Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. The attraction takes the form of a demonstration of a time machine created by mad robot scientist The Timekeeper (Robin Williams). To share time travel with a wider audience, the Timekeeper also designed a flying camera robot named Nine-Eye (Rhea Perlman), so named for her 9 cameras that provide a 360 degree experience.

9-Eye is sent through time by The Timekeeper, so that she can send back the surrounding images as she records them in whichever era she ends up finding herself in. When sending Nine-Eye to the Exposition Universelle in 1889 in Paris to see Jules Verne (Michel Piccoli) and H. G. Wells (Jeremy Irons). When Verne scoffs at Wells' ideas of time-travel, he encounters 9-Eye and ends up hitching a ride into the modern world.

At Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland, the attraction was replaced with Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, while at Magic Kingdom it was replaced with Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.

The Timekeeper provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Audience Participation: Subverted. After sending Verne back to the exposition, the Timekeeper asks for volunteers from the audience to send with 9-Eye into the future, and the ones ultimately selected for the trip are a fictional tourist family.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The ending of the film has Verne and Wells riding in a functional flying time machine. When asked how they got it, they only reply "In the future, anything is possible."
  • Butt-Monkey: A portion of WDW's pre-show depicted how 9-Eye was tested for time travel — by being sent down a waterfall, sent into a barn full of explosives, and then being tied to the top of a launching spaceship. She also takes a bit of abuse during the main show as well, such as being nearly eaten by dinosaur.
  • Canon Welding: The WDW version of the film ties in with the retro future theme of Tomorrowland, with the building that the show is held in being labeled as the Tomorrowland Metropolis Science Center, and the show itself is said to be a demonstration of Timekeeper's machine.
  • Cultural Translation: Certain scenes are omitted in the Orlando version of the ride. A hot balloon ride in Russia's Red Square and a scene at a french airport were removed. A scene in New York City was added.
    • Most of the script of the original version was altered to allow for Robin Williams to riff off the material.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Timekeeper and Nine-Eye have their moments.
  • Large Ham: Timekeeper in the WDW version. Considering that he was voiced by Robin Williams, this was unavoidable.
  • San Dimas Time: When Jules is taken to the future, the Timekeeper is concerned about getting Jules back in time for a presentation he's making at the Exposition.
  • Special Effects: The Timekeeper and its original European counterpart Le Visionarium marked the first time that the Circle-Vision film process was used to deliver a narrative story line. This required a concept to explain the unusual visual characteristics of the Theater, hence the character Nine-Eye.
  • Starfish Robots: the Timekeeper looks fairly humanoid, but with Nine-Eye, all bets are off.
  • Tagline:
    • "The Timekeeper would love to take the time to take you on a trip through TIME!"
    • "A journey through time!"
  • Time Travel: Jules Verne follows 9-Eye into the modern world. Also, throughout the first half of the show, Timekeeper sends 9-Eye to different periods in history, including the Jurassic period, the Ice Age, and the Renaissance before ending up at the Paris Exposition.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Pre-show banter from Timekeeper includes him going "Look at this stuff, isn't it neat?"