Friday, February 17, 2012
D52 - Week 7 - The Three Caballeros
When the Disney crew took business trips to ... countries south of the United States, did they always intend that there would be not one but two feature films made from of? Was all of Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros together originally intended to be one longer feature, but later split into two? Or did they, after creating Saludos Amigos, decide that they enjoyed it so much they would do a very similar project for the next time? At least in this case, the live-action documentary-style bits are replaced with the much more entertaining Donald Duck. Even though they're movies-within-the-movie, at least we get to see Donald interacting with some of the bits.
The Cold-Blooded Penguin is made cute enough solely because Sterling Holloway serves as narrator. But after having seen a film like March of the Penguins, you can't help but realize the actual lives of real-life penguins are much more interesting. The Flying Gauchito would've fit in Saludos Amigos quite nicely (and would help balance the overall running times of each feature). Baia seems to be the type of segment mostly impressive for the novelty of combining live action with animation. Those who've seen the trick done often enough, however, have little else with which to be entertained. All of that excitement is then followed by the abruptly low-key tenderness of Las Posadas. Then Donald sexually harasses some ladies and some of the maddest of all Disney madnesses ensues. I don't even know where they were going with the insanity or why it was there, but...I rather like it, on its own. How did they even storyboard or draft out scenes like that?
-Where exactly do the Donald present-opening scenes take place? Donald's very empty bedroom of uncertain volume? Purgatory? An alternate dimension in which no other matter besides Donald and his friends and their possessions exist?
-Why are there no men on that beach? Do/did such female-only beaches exist anywhere in the world? If so, how inappropriate for T3C to have intruded on them from the skies!
-Nice cameo appearance from Fantasia's "The Soundtrack!"
Overall: Compared to last week's it does seem like more of the same, but at least wrapped in a nicer (and more substantial) package. Again, I enjoy it primarily out of Donald fandom.
Once again, I just can't get behind having a crop of short films being referred to as a movie. I appreciate each of the short segments on their own as really cute and entertaining bits of animation. I appreciate that the filmmakers at least tried to have a running theme to connect the segments (although I do have to mention that "our filmmakers taking a trip" and "receiving a box of presents intended to take you vicariously on a trip" seems a bit too similar for my taste), and I appreciate that it wasn't filled up with documentary style live action sequences. I absolutely appreciate that the many countries to the south of the United States had enough vitality to fill up a huge number of short films and movies.
Yet in the long run though, I would have appreciated it more if all these short films were allowed to shine separately. At the time, there was no Disney Channel and no VHS and so the studio was probably concerned about the longevity of each of these shorts as well as the monetary value they would each bring forth. This makes sense. Uncle Walt had by this time been discussing the idea of a theme park with family and close colleagues and in only one short decade Disneyland would open. On the other hand, perhaps the studio was simply bowing to demands. The many short films that preceded features at the theater were very popular. It's not so farfetched to think that at the time people were willing to pay full box office prices to see just the short films as long as there were enough to make the price and the travel worth the trouble. Seems like this might be an interesting thing to research in the future.
-Donald... can't fly?
-Even though this could easily have been just Panchito and Donald's film the way Saludos Amigos was Jose Carioca and Donald's film, it was a nice unifying image to see a figure representing all three sections of the New World. Donald as North America, Panchito as Central America and Jose as South America. Someone needs to get to work on something to unify the other continents. And then we can have world peace when someone then unifies those other movies. (No, I'm not so naive to believe that it will work, but it's a fanciful thought.)
Favorite Character: Definitely Panchito. I can't figure out why a lighthearted, energetic, party animal with a heart of gold like him never really caught on. Jose too is quite a lot of fun and yet both of them seem to have been banished to the Mexico pavilion at Epcot never to be seen anywhere else again. Shame.
Least necessary Character: Woman-faced Flower Hallucination. Donald really needs to lay off the partying. He never can just go out and have a good time. He always seems to go way way overboard.
Overall: Entertaining if you're particularly interested in Mexico, Central American and South America. Amusing if you like to watch a bunch of shorts in a row. Don't call it a movie. It's just so vain. Be proud to be a collection of cartoon shorts! There's no shame in it!
"We have the stars to guide us/ Guitars here beside us/ to play as we go."
And sure enough, a guitar is here beside me, but I needed a strap to play it comfortably. Why not give it a Central American flare by embracing and mixing the dark colors so that you might match "three happy chappies with snappy sarapes"?