Review? Melody Time

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SPOILERS

What Is It About?

Melody time is a seven film animated shorts set to various musical numbers; similar to Fantasia and Make Mine Music.  It is the fifth packaged film made during the 1940s by Walt Disney company to keep the animation department financially viable. Starting with Once Upon a Wintertime, we follow two romantic lovers ice skating in December. The man shows off and has a near tragedy only to be rescued. Bumble Boggie is a solitary bumblebee trying to ward of a musical frenzy. The Legend of Johnny Appleseed is the telling of John Chapman going through the mid-western America planting apple trees. Little Toot is about a small tugboat who wants to be like his father, always getting in trouble but redeeming himself by saving a boat. Trees is a poetry recite as we see beautiful animated Trees and the nature surrounding it. Blame it on the Samba is Donald, Jose and Aracuan bird introduced to the pleasures of samba. Pecos Bill is about a famous Texas hero Pecos Bill raised by coyotes and became the biggest and best cowboy ever. We see how he put gold in the mountains, created the rivers and painted the hills. He falls in love with a girl who gets stuck on the moon and explains how the wolves always howl at the moon.

Opinion

The recurring thing I get with Melody Time more so than the two other musical anthology films Disney does is a sense of history. This film features two songs centering around American legends – the first being Johnny Appleseed. When I first watched this film and not being from America, the legend was intriguing so I looked into further.  I think that deserve recognition. When a movie makes you interested in knowing more about the legend it is based upon. The main reason I was intrigued by the Johnny Appleseed part of the film was not the song or the actions, but the one part about being liked within the Native American community.  You may feel I speak out of terms since I’m not American, but the truth is that the history between Americans and Native Americans is not a pretty one. To claim that a pioneer was accepted in their community immediately makes me question the authentic of that claim. I had to know if there was any truth to it especially with the history of the two cultures. These claims always reveal another layer within the relationship between the two groups of people and how their society worked in these times.  The short in Melody time was a little dull, but the legend had enough intrigue to make someone want to pick up a book and learn about the past. The second was Pecos Bill – unlike Johnny Appleseed, this was by far the most outrageous. It claimed he put gold in the mountains, created the rivers and rode a twister. The most insensitive part for me was the part when he chased the Native Americans through the mountains, painting it with their tribal war paint. It was just so outrageous (the first part of the song/short) I struggled to like it and the end slowed the entire pace.  The highlights for me was Trees and Bumble Boogie. Trees was just a beautifully animated sequence – highlight artistic qualities and serenity while Bumble Boogie was hilarious and entertaining. Little Toot, by far, had the best morals of all the shorts. However, overall, out of the three, Melody Time is so average. It excels in a few shorts and everything else is okay. It’s not a bad musical anthology film. It just not particularly rememberable.  However, as each segment started fresh – it doesn’t suffer from heavy middles like some other movies and there is bound to be something everybody will like.

Fun Facts

  • Melody Time was the last feature film to include Donald Duck & Jose Carioca until Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • Pecos Bill was heavily edit. They cut most of the sequences featuring Bill smoking a cigarette therefore removing the entire tornado riding scene.

Verdict

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 4/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 4.5/10 for overall era

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