Friday, June 5, 2009

The Chronological Animated Disney Canon - The Golden Age part 2

Loose End #4: "The Reluctant Dragon"

Film #5: "Dumbo"
It cracks me up how I had to watch "Snow White", "Pinocchio", and "Fantasia" on VHS but that I can watch "Dumbo" on DVD. According to legend, the only reason why this movie exists is because…

Well, let's just say that even Disney's biggest fans at the time didn't really understand where he was trying to go with "Fantasia" and the film didn't become an appreciated hit until it's re-release in the 60's (tellingly, a great number of experimental animated features were made and released that decade). "Dumbo" was a small-budget feature basically made to recoup the studio's financial losses!
The movie is about as lightweight as Dumbo would have to be in order to fly (heh). I like it, it's fun and it's cute but it's also admittedly not as memorable as it's predecessors. This is all except for two key sequences that make "Dumbo" more memorable than it otherwise would have been:
The first is the "Baby Mine" sequence and the events leading up to it. If you can make it through this without feeling anything, you have a problem.
The second is the infamous Pink Elephants scene! You gotta love it. Bonus points for being the center of one of those showbiz legends that's too good not to be true: It seems one of the animators who produced the sequence was asked, during an interview, "just between us, what were you on when you came up with the Pink Elephants?" And he answered, "Nothing. That's just how my mind worked normally."
Frankly, that scenario is a bit more unsettling.

Film # 6: "Bambi"
As close to a subtle tone poem as Disney has ever done. There's barely any dialogue at all, and much of the story is told only through music, color, and amazingly good characterization and animation. (Dear Dreamworks PDI, you're doing it wrong.)
And it's short! It tops out at only five minutes more than one hour. As with "Dumbo", you barely notice until it's over.
It doesn't take a genius to surmise that this is the favorite, favorite Disney film of Osamu Tezuka and Don Bluth. And I have to say, the courtship of Thumper is just about the funniest Disney moment ever.


Next Post: We dive into the first of Disney's Anthology Pictures: "Saludos Amigos," "Victory Through Air Power," and "The Three Caballeros". For more posts in this series, go here, or click the Chronological Disney Animated Canon tag below.


And tomorrow is Drawing Day! If you are going to be online tomorrow, help the Drawing Day team reach their goal of one million drawings uploaded in one day!

still sick and feeling like hell. Thankfully, as far as my doctor can tell, it isn't the Dreaded Overhyped Flu of the Year. It's just a sinus infection. A sinus infection that is making me feel miserable like a cold hasn't made me feel since I was a little kid. My fillings hurt.
But I am enjoying the antibiotics. If you are also sick, here is an extra: raise a mug of herbal tea and relate too hard to Goofy in this cartoon where his creepy earless Anthro George Geef persona fights 50's era chemical warfare against whatever outbreak was going on back then.

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