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

Review? Fun and Fancy Free

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SPOILERS

What Is It About?

Fun and Fancy Free consists of two segments.  The first is Bongo centering around a circus bear who longs for freedom. We see Bongo raised in captivity, performing tricks for the circus and getting treated poorly once he is off stage.  One day on the circus train, passing a forest, Bongo makes an escape and starts living in the woods.  Not use to the conditions, he experience adversity and is emotionally shattered.  However, things look up when he meets a female bear and falls in love, who gets competition from a romantic rival.  Bongo fails to interpret attempt of slapping him as a sign of affection and Lulubelle accidently slaps his rival instead, leading all the bears to celebrate the new couple.  Bongo learns the meaning behind slapping and challenges his competitor, outwitting him until they fall down a waterfall and his rival dies.  The second segment is Mickey and the Beanstalk as retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. The scene is narrated by Edgar Bergen and his ventriloquist dummies at a little girl’s birthday party.  We begin the story in Happy Valley, a fertile and lively land kept alive by a singing harp.  Once it is stolen, the land is plagued by drought leaving the citizens in poverty with little food and depression felt wide.  Most are forced to leave the land to avoid starvation with only three left, Mickey, Donald and Goofy sharing one loaf of bread and one single bed.   Donald suffers a hunger induced insanity and tries to kill their pet cow but is stopped in the bids of selling it for more food.  Mickey foolishly trades the cow for magic beans and Donald enraged throws them into the ground.  The beans grow into a beanstalk, carrying the house and occupations towards the sky.  They discover a magical kingdom of enormous size, with a great feast and the harp locked in a small box who claims she was kidnapped by a giant.  Willie the giant enters, displaying powers and captures the hiding heroes.  They try to trick the giant to escape capture but fail and become locked in the box with the harp.  To escape, the harp sings the giant to sleep and steal the key kept by the giant.  They are successful and make it down the beanstalk, cutting it down and the giant falls to his death. It is revealed at the end the giant still looks for mickey and is seen ripping the narrator’s house roof off before going to building to building.

Opinions

Fun and Fancy Free, like the other six packaged films that Disney produced through the 1940s all have interesting production history.  If we didn’t have these films, they wouldn’t have been able to finance Peter Pan, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland and who knows what would have happened to Disney if they hadn’t been able to survive the war. However, on this note, I am torn about Fun and Fancy Free.  I have different opinions on both segments causing me to have a dislike/like relationship with this movie. Let’s start with Bongo – Bongo has a soft melody singing through the entire narration. It is soft and very of the era, causing anyone to watch it to drift to sleep. The first time I watched Bongo, it took so long to get anywhere I was already bored before the story really developed.  What a story! This is the weirdest advocacy for either abuse or consented Dominatrix/Submissive foreplay ever. He lives a miserable life in the circus – only to get his dream and realise it was nothing liked he hoped – only to fall in love with a girl who teaches him to say love with a slap. The whole segment is bizarre and while the message is confusing and weird, you’ll probably won’t make it to the end of this segment to even enjoy it. Not there is much to like about Bongo. It was a bad mistake to have this start the two-part movie, starting off slow before you get to any joy is a bad decision and I doubt many kids would make it through. They’ll likely skip to the bit they really want to see – Mickey Mouse! While the story and animation is fun the live action narration is strange and is told with humour that doesn’t translate through time. It’s awkward and you grind your teeth for every moment you’ll endure. Once you get past this we are launched into such a dreary and depression environment. As someone who has a dark humour I was in laughter during the bread cutting scene of this short. They are in such dire circumstances and the short creates a realistic bleak world that I applaud them on.  When we met the giant, he is both entertaining and naive that you don’t really feel like he is a true villain. Therefore, you never feel his death really feels justified.  There’s a happy ending for both the heroes and this “villain”. I like the mickey short – it is entertaining and contains both catchy tunes with enough whimsy to keep kids entertained. I particularly loved the dark and bleak reality in this movie and they hit a lot of potentially unrealized humour.

The weird things

Slapping – Like I said this movie is either the weirdest advocacy for abuse or consented Dominant/submissive foreplay. The whole you say love with a slap. Express your affection with a slap. If you express your affection to the wrong person, it doesn’t matter society says you are theirs. The fact you can claim someone and if they’re taken it’s okay because you can just try and get them from that person. There is weird relationship standards and ideals floating in this movie. Sure, you can tell kids they are beard but hey remember they’ve been told it’s okay to kiss people who are dead.

The awkward things

The narrator, his dummies and the lonely little girl. This deserves its own section.  While it’s already weird that the girl is celebrating her birthday alone with 1 older man who’s not related to her. Sure, innocent times and everything…. but, the most awkward part is the way this segment intercuts with the animation. You wish it was over before it happened just so you can go back to the bits with Mickey. It is so unnecessary to keep cutting back to the way him and his dummies react to parts of the story and would have been better if he only narrated it instead.

My last thoughts

I have love-hate relationship with this movie. The pacing is strange and clunky. The narration is awkward and the morals are odd but overall, the last part with its charming songs, likable characters facing a bleak situation and overcoming all of this leads to an amusing and charming segment. Skip Bongo and go straight to Mickey and the Beanstalk.

Fun Fact

  • Bongo is based on the tale of “Little Bongo Bear” by Sinclair Lewis.
  • All the packaged films helped finance Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan
  • Originally both films were going to be developed as two separate feature films
  • In 1930s, Mickey Mouse popularity was behind Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Popeye
  • It was suggested at one point that Bongo was a prequel to Dumbo and some of the characters would appear in the film.
  • Fun and Fancy Free was the last time Walt Disney provided the voice for Mickey, only reprising it for the original run of 1955-1959 The Mickey Mouse Club.

Verdict

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 5/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 5/10 for overall era

Review? Make Mine Music

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

Make Mine Music is ten different segments set to various types of music. Starting with The Martins and the Coys, we are shown the story of two young lovers from different sides of the Hatfield-McCoy feud. Blue Bayou is two egrets flying through the Everglades on a moonlight night.  All The Cats Join In set to jazz tones, showing the youth getting swept away by music. Without You is a ballad of lost love.  Casey At The Bat is the story of an arrogant ballplayer whose cockiness becomes his undoing. Two Silhouettes features ballet dancers moving in silhouettes with animated characters and backgrounds.  Peter and the Wolf is story of Peter hunting a wolf with his animal friends, each character accompanied by a specific musical instrument. After You’ve Gone features six instruments parading throughout a musical playground. Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet tells the story of two hats falling in love, being separated and reuniting.  The last segment is The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met is about a whale who dreams of singing at the Opera.  As legend of the singing whale spreads, a man goes to rescue what he assumed are swallowed opera singers. Upon seeing the whale,  his crew stop him from harpooning the whale and Willie goes onto have a career within the theatre. Eventually, Tetti-Tatti kills Willies and he goes to sing in heaven.

Opinions

It would be easy to say that Make Mine Music is a knock-off Fantasia but it’s not. The two films differ in certain ways which will make the audience be able to appreciate both. Make Mine Music doesn’t have the classical musical influence and instead features animation to different types of songs. Going from soft melodies to the soul of jazz keeps this musical movie fresh and lively unlike Fantasia.  I appreciate the high level of artistry achieved in Fantasia, but in Make Mine Music I found myself more entertained and able to stay awake easier. I liked the jazz segments from this movie the most and was exposed to a lot of songs I hadn’t heard of before.  While Fantasia focus on epic stories with bold  images and animation, Make Mine Music varies in quantity and quality. My biggest issue with Make Mine Music is that some segments feel bloated in comparison to others ,especially Peter and The Wolf. The best shorts by far are Blue Bayou and The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met. The film goes on too long in some bits and can drag before the next segment picks back up the pace. The reason why these film exist has interesting context and makes a mark in history but as an accomplishment for the Disney classic, it is a hit or miss for some people. Kids will enjoy the upbeat vibe of this movie but like the visual more of Fantasia.

The History

During the second world war, much of the Walt Disney staff was drafted into the army and those who remained were called upon to government to make training and propaganda films.  As a result the studio was littered with unfinished story ideas and in order to keep the film division alive, they made six package films. Saludos Amigos, The Three Cabelleros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time and The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad.

Fun Facts

  • Blue Bayou used animation originally intended for Fantasia using Claude Debussy Clair de Lune as the musical piece.
  • The Martins and The Coys had gunplay sequences removed from home media version, only surviving in the PAL home media version
  • Nelson Eddy performed all three male voice for the The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met
  • Make Mine Music was largely unavailable on DVD and VHS.   Only this film and The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad have never had a release on Region 4 DVD in Australia

Verdict

 

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

 

Review? The Three Caballeros

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

The Three Caballeros is about seven segments connected by Donald Duck’s birthday and him receiving three gifts from his friends in  Latin America.  The first gift is a projected showing him Aracuan Bird. The next is a book about Bahia (Baia) where Donald dances the samba and pining for one of the girls. The third is a piñata presented by Panchito and tells Donald the tradition behind the piñata.  The segments start with the Cold-blooded penguin who tells the story of penguin who is fed up of the freezing conditions of the South Pole and decides to leave home for warmer climates. The Flying Gauchito follows the adventures of a little boy from Uruguay and his winged donkey.  Baia is trip though the state of Bahia as Donald and Jose meet locals and dance the samba. Las Posadas is the story of Mexican children is celebrating Christmas and re-enact the story of Jesus.  Patzcurao, Veracruz and Acapulo is a tour of Mexico, the different dance and songs. You belong to my heart shows Donald falling in love with singer Dora Luz. Donald’s Surreal Reverie is Donald going into “love is a drug” sequence. He envision sugar rush colours, flowers and dancing with Carmen Molina. Donald multiples and dances to Jesusita en Chihauha (a song trademark of the Mexican Revolution) before battling a bull on wheels.  Fireworks carry out the ending of the film and shows the different colours of the flags.

Opinions

Unlike Saludos Amigos which was a brief 42 exploration of the South America, The Three Caballeros invites us to enjoy 72 minutes of both Mexico and South America and therefore, I have a little more to say about this movie. It starts off okay and I particularly enjoyed the Cold Blooded Penguin short. This was my favourite segment out of the whole movie, narrated by Sterling Holloway and creates a humourous and light introduction to this movie. The rest unfortunately lacks the interest I had with Saludos Amigos. When we got the live action scenes of South America it was a look into culture of the 1940s but watching this film directly after Saludos Amigos, the shine from those live action scenes disappears. The film is a chaotic mess, switching tones so quickly and both the pistol wearing Panchito and cigar smoking Jose don’t add a lot to this movie. It is a film that tries to capture life and festive feelings. I feel it is a celebration film. As I never watched this as a child, I am sure all the bright colours and upbeat music would have kept my mind busy. However, as an adult, I struggled to make it through this movie.  It had not a lot to offer but the weird and constant jarring affections of Donald with female actresses and singers.

The Weird Things

  • Donald consistently wooing woman – So many of these shorts feature Donald trying to woo woman and failing or being rejected. He is instantly behold by them and tries to charm them. At one stage, being blindfolded and kissing Jose (open bird on bird/male on male kiss!) and then becoming drunk by the imagined kisses before the film collapses into a chaos. I think the ending was the one that really changes a lot of the pacing for the movie and it is so disorganized, you can’t really get any message from it.
  • If the two male birds kissed each other, can we count it as our first on screen same sex kiss? Certain countries had a fit over the addition of a subtle gay character in the live-action Beauty and the Beast but here we have in the 1940s, two male characters kissing. Suppose it’s a joke or a punch line but could I be so hopeful to count it? Yes, yes I can!
  • Stereotypes portrayed in the birds – While the live action moments steer away from it and I can’t pretend to be an expert. I feel the two birds of Jose and Panchito portray stereotypes of the Mexican and the Latin American culture. I imagine the countries would appreciate their countries, people and culture to be open represented on the screen.  But I feel the two bird characters are so on-the-nose in this day and age.
  • The Love is a drug sequence is a drunken, confusion.  I applaud the movie for trying to describe what I can only assume to be the initial lust stage of a relationship, but it is a mess. It portrays a psychedelic experience with the weird and rushed animation.

My Last Thoughts

I enjoyed the first segment of this film but everything else was dull. I appreciate Disney trying to show a different culture and expose Americans to the beauty of Latin America and Mexico. The film is colourful, upbeat and bright to distract kids but lacks substances to make it enjoyable as an adult.

Fun Facts

  • The Bahia sequence was cut from the 1977 theatrical reissue of the film
  • Walt and El Grupo is a documentary film about the making of the Three Caballeros
  • The film was produced as a part of the goodwill tour by Disney.

Verdict

  • Movie will be kept in the DVD collection
  • 3.5/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 4/10 for overall era

Review? Saludos Amigos

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What is it about?

Saludos Amigos gives us a glimpse into South America of the 1940s, intercutting live action filming with animated pieces. Broken into four segments and featuring Donald Duck, we start with Lake Titicaca and meeting the locals of South America. Moving to Pedro, we follow the story of an airplane engaging in his first flight and getting caught in a terrible storm across the Andes. El Gaucho Goofy, we learn the ways of native gaucho and lastly Aqualera do Brasile involves Jose Carioca (a cigar smoking parrot) introducing him to samba.

Opinions:

A lot of my thoughts of the two Latin American films will be very brief. This history surrounding why these films exist is more interesting than the content of the films. Saluos Amigos is the shortest Disney animated film at 42 minutes and I am glad it is a quick affair. I have to say the only thing I enjoy about this film is the live action sequences.  The exposure of seeing South America in the 1940s documents a moment in history and the past. It gives a look into a country that I know very little about and what it was like back then. It is very interesting to see the shots of the towns and the people carrying out their normal lives. The shorts are over the top and dull. I don’t think a single one was good and worth recommending. The live action samba with animated Donald duck is so out of place and weird. The character of Jose Carioca is so over the top and I think actually reflects poorly on Latins and South American culture. They chose to represent this beautiful nation with a cigar puffing, in your face parrot. It is honestly a very strange movie.

The History

The United States commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America as a part of the Good Neighbour Policy.  The Good Neighbor policy was a foreign policy under the administration of Franlink Roosevelt towards Latin America. The main principle was non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of Latin America. The US had periodically intervened militarily with Latin American to protect its interest, particularly the commercial interest of American Business. However, when the  US felt their debts weren’t being paid in a prompt fashion and its interest were being threatened, the military intervention was used to coerce the government of compliance. This made Latin Americans wary of US presence.  The Good Neighbour policy was created to establish a friendly relationship between South America and US. The policy sought to redefine the way Americans perceived Latin Americans, while maintaining hemispheric unity.  They intended to abolish preexisting stereotypes and urged to hire Latin Americans and make films to place Latin America in a positive light.  Several Latin American countries had close ties to Nazi Germany and the US wanted to counteract those ties.

Fun Facts

  • The film was so popular that Disney made The Three Cabelleros
  • Saludos Amigos was the first in the six package films produced.
  • The film inspired Rene Rios Beottiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America most ubiquitous cartoon character. Rios perceived that Pedro was slight to Chileans and created a comic that could rival Disney’s comic characters.
  • The segment in El Gaucho Goofy had the scene where Goofy smokes a cigarette removed but restored after many fans asked for the unedited version.

Verdict

  • Movie will have to be Kept (only to complete the Disney Animated Classic List)
  • 5/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 5.5/10 for overall era

Review? Bambi

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

Bambi tells the coming of age story, overcoming the survival of the forest and Man. A doe gives birth to a fawn Bambi, prince of the forest. He is befriended by an energetic rabbit Thumper and a shy skunk Flower. He is cautioned against the dangers of the forest and learns about the great hunter “Man”. One day while getting food, man shows up and kills Bambi’s mother, leaving Bambi to be mentored by his father. Years later, matured Bambi learns about love and slowly, one by one, each companion finds their mate. Bambi battles for the heart of Faline from an older stag and earns the rights to her affections.  He discovers the hunter camp of Man and escapes from the fire, warding off the hunting dogs and reuniting with his beloved in the safety of the riverbank.  Bambi becomes the Great Prince of the Forest and overlooks his twins.

Opinions

Bambi is amazing. I’m going to ruin the surprise but this is my all-time favourite Disney movie from this Era. Not only is Bambi beautifully animated but it evokes so much emotion from simplistic and well-crafted story telling. It crafts an excellent and complex story, touching on scenes with ease and the story moves seamlessly to one action to the next without slowing down. As a child, I remember being absolutely devastated by the scene where Bambi’s mother gets killed. The fact it is off screen and the silence after the moment passes really allows it to resonate with the audience. I also particularly enjoy the scenes where Bambi and his father run from the fires. The way we see the fires lick through the forest is both impactful and devastating. The characters have so much personality, especially Thumper who is the best character of Bambi. They are likeable and you enjoy seeing their journey from children to adults to parents.

Although I always though the length of Bambi was long and remember the film can be a slow burner, it’s an enjoyable movie. It has so many joyous and funny moments, and is easily rememberable for the big personalities it brings on screen.  After all, I think my all-time favourite quote is “Eating greens is a special treat. It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat. I made that last part up myself.”

The movie is beautiful. It holds up well and it is amazing to have a movie where the villain is so present in the movie without ever being seen. This makes the villain stand out because we never really know what they are – being both mysterious and dangerous and we only watch the consequences and ruin they do to the characters. We watch characters blossom from their innocence, learning the dangers of the word and becoming stronger.

Iconic Scenes

A little different here but unlike other Disney movies I didn’t get the strong morale themes or weird things. I thought I would point out scenes that are powerful within the movie

  • The scene where Bambi’s mother is killed. We know the threat, we sense the tension build and the hurry as Bambi runs. The silence as the gun fires and the loneliness of our character and fear of the unknown. Very powerful and heartbreaking.
  • Meeting Flower – I got to say, who though flower was a girl? I certainly did. I love how the character is feminine yet charming. It was a very interesting take and I am always surprised by how it was a boy skunk. “Oh, that’s all right. He can call me a flower if he wants to.” Iconic
  • Thumper and just about any scene he is in – From the bird scene to the greens eating scene. He’s an enjoyable, rebellious and smart mouth character who brings both humour and joy to the movie. I love how through him our character Bambi is pushed to experience new things and to take in the world.
  • The scene with the hunting dogs – I find that Bambi probably has a number of scenes that would scare little kids and this is one of them. The threat and the nipping at the ankles brings a certain uncomfortableness to the screen.

My Last Thoughts

Bambi is a beautiful story. It’s a Disney movie done well. It has all the scenes animated with realistic flares, a soundtrack that heighten the scenes without taking away from them. Moments framed with impact and emotion. The story gives depth to animals and makes us care for their survival. It creates stakes we can’t see but feel the consequences of.  It gives us moments with joy and sadness, scenes that scare and frighten. It brought life to forest and made us see it in a new light.

Fun Facts

  • Based on the book Bambi A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten
  • It was intended to be the second feature length animated film and first to be based on recent work.
  • Originally the story was intended to have six individual bunny characters similar to the dwarfs. Perce Pearce suggested they should have five generic ones and one with a different colours with a distinct personality becoming Thumper.
  • Disney cut 12 minutes from the film before final animated to save production cost
  • It grossed 1.64 million against its 1.7 million budget
  • Bambi received mixed reviews, mainly for the lack of fantasy elements and objection towards a dramatic story of animals during its intital release.
  • In 2011, Bambi was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.

Verdict

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 9/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 9.5/10 for overall era

 

Review? Dumbo

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

Dumbo tells the sad tale of an elephant outcast for his differences, finding the confidence to have faith in himself and becoming a sensation. It starts with a lonely mother elephant awaiting her delivery from the storks.  Once the baby is revealed to have larger than normal ears, the female elephants torment and shun them from their group.  Mrs. Jumbo defends her baby from the torture of boys at the circus but is locked up and deemed mad, separating baby from mother.  With no one to care for him, a mouse Timothy feel sympathy and becomes determined to make Dumbo a star.  Dumbo is made the top of the elephant pyramid stunt for the circus show, but misses his target and is made a clown for his failure. Miserable, he is taken to his mother and becomes upset.  Drinking a contaminated bucket of water, the pair end up in a tree and Dumbo discovers he can fly with the help of a “magic feather”.  Before his jump for the show, he loses the feather and has revealed to him that he could fly all along. Finally becoming the star attraction, Dumbo is reunited with his mother and taken around the world in the circus.

Opinions

Dumbo is a sad tale. You honestly forget how depressing of a life the little elephant has to led. Not only is he born into the circus – which is famous for animal abuse, he is shunned and treated like an outsider for his differences. He is separated from his caregiver, ridiculed as a clown and only is liked when he achieves fame. It is a really sad tale. My heart always quivers during the scene where Dumbo and his mother reunite briefly. There are some ridiculous and joyous moments in this movie to lift the tone and I believe children will find the story enchanting to ignore the sadness that Dumbo tolerates.  It helps that this movie is one of Disney’s shortest animated films standing at 64 minutes.  I feel the story is simplistic and well-crafted despite the reduction in the budget spent on the movie.

Overall, this movie makes me sad watching it. I despise a lot of the characters who inflict blank rejection against Dumbo. However, I love that at the heart of it, Dumbo overcomes these hurdles and get what he truly wants in the end (his mother). In this movie, we see some human influence but a lot of it happens off screen and as an audience we left only with consequences of their actions.  Dumbo, to me, holds a special place in my heart – while others will find it boring and not as good, the film shows a character struggling against adversity, believing in himself and getting what he wants.  I realise that in the end he had to get fame for the other characters to show kindness towards him or become an asset to the circus. However, I feel his journey is to find out that his difference wasn’t a burden, he could use it and gain acceptance.

The Weird Things

  • Oh lord, the clowns. The clowns are plain up weird and ridiculous and over the top. I don’t even think I found a single scene with them funny but rather just annoying!
  • Drunk Elephants – further to that point pink elephants.  As with other Disney movies, Dumbo features animals getting drunk. It is weird to have a movie openly express the drunken experience as well as a psychedelic trip. The Pink elephants sequence is a colourful and bright animated scene to distract kids from the weird truth. Also, how the heck did they get into that tree?! Who knows….

Lessons Learned

  • People may torment you and shun you for your difference but they can be used to your advantage – Like I said, I feel that Dumbo is a story of embracing and utilizing your differences to your strengths. An important message to remember. He is discouraged a lot through this movie, torments and ridicule because of his ears and his failures but he keeps on trying and he keeps having faith to be reunited with his mother. He believes in himself, embracing his difference and becoming someone for it. He gets what he wants.
  • There will always be adversity in life – this is a general vibe from Dumbo. He is constantly put through struggles but the strive to continue to try is a vital message.
  • Have the confidence to believe in yourself – Dumbo achieves his feat at the end of the movie because he has the believe in himself and despite everything, he can do it by recognizing those flaws and making them strengths.
  • People will only like you when you’ve become an asset – To end all of these positive messages on a low note. Dumbo only gets better treatment after he becomes a main attraction and the elephants only accept him after he is famous and needed by the circus. It’s a forewarning that sometimes after achieving something, people will become nice to you. Don’t forget what they did but don’t accept them with open arms. Dumbo only relishes his new life with his mother and not anyone else.

My Last Thoughts

Despite the sad and horrible times lived by Dumbo, his continued belief and assistance from those who care for him carry the character to new heights and a new life. Dumbo may be not a loved classic but it holds a special place in my heart.

However, another movie where except for Pink Elephants – a lot of the soundtrack is forgettable.

Fun Facts

  • Based upon a storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearls as the prototype of a roll-a-book.
  • Disney Studio was in serious financial trouble due to the war in Europe and Dumbo was intended to be a low-budge feature.
  • Watercolour paint was used to render the background. Dumbo and Snow White are the only two classic Disney features to use this technique.
  • Dumbo cost $950,000 to produce, half of the cost of Snow White and grossed 1.6 million during its original release.

Verdict

  • Movie will be kept in the DVD collection
  • 8.5/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 7/10 for overall era