France – July 21st – féérie

Extraordinary Voyages of Jules Verne

Designed by David (pyrotechnics) and Joël (soundtrack) Hamon. FireOne firing with 99 32-cue modules and 3000 cues

A few sprinkles are rain didn’t dampen enthusiasm amongst the capacity audience for the anticpated return of féérie following their debut in 2007 with a much enjoyed pyrotechnic reworking of the story of Romeo and Juliette. With another story telling them, this promised to be an interesting display, particular as sound designer Joël Harmon’s seven year old son, Leo, was to provide the narrative aspects of the display.

After the countdown, the display began after a short introduction by Leo. The initial thematic element of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was emphasized by angled mines of blue stars breaking from left to right and vice-verse across ramp 3. The choice of colours in this segment reflected the nautical aspects with shells of blue also.

Synchronization was good throughout the display, though some moments were not quite as tight as others and one or two mis-placed effects marred an otherwise flawless performance. Good use was made of all the display area with a good interplay between the different levels and firing angles, generally filling the sky from top to bottom and left to right. Nautical effects were well exploited, with nautical fountains bursting to small mines and many firings of “Magic Carpet” effects, covering the lake with either single or multi-colour bengals, depending on the thematic context.

Five platforms forming ramp 5 were used very effectively as they fired comets in all directions horizontally over the lake. These, combined with the Magic Carpet effects were captivating. Wheels, fountains and set pieces in the shape of hearts completed the portfolio of effects used on ramp 5.

Some people noted that they thought this wasn’t a very colourful display but I disagree with this observation. I found the use of colour to be very effective throughout the display. Whilst there might not have been a lot of different colours, the colour combinations that were used were very effective, as the colours were vibrant and appropriate for the thematic elements being highlighted. David had mentioned in the interview that he hoped to avoid too much repetition and he largely achieved this, though maybe strobes were a bit overused. Very bright and colourful photoflash mines and shells were very memorable.

The theme of the display was interesting and was well reflected in both the choice of music and the fireworks effects used. This was the second display this year, though, to feature audio from the first Apollo moon landing! The narrative elements were tastefully done and short enough not to interfere with the momentum of the display. The finale was interesting in that it built to a climax, to cheers from the audience, who thought the display was over, and then continued further with very broad fans of white comets with studata shells above, ending in pink stars trailing down to the lake. The audience certainly appreciated the display and gave the team a well deserved standing ovation.

I also enjoyed the display but found that it needed a few more WOW moments. This year’s competition is shaping up to being one of the toughest in recent years and it’s really hard to predict who will be on the podium – all the displays we’ve seen so are would make credible Jupiter recipients.

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