Monday, February 20, 2012

D52 - Week 8 - Make Mine Music

Kevin's more-than-two-bits:
There's a disclaimer at the beginning of the DVD of Make Mine Music that we watched which mentions that it has been edited for content. It turns out that an entire 7-minute segment called The Martins and the Coys was cut. If one watches Make Mine Music without seeing that short, does it still count as having watched Make Mine Music? How does that work canonically? Having just watched it illegitimately on YouTube...I wasn't missing much. The Wikipedia entry says that it was cut due to comic gunplay, but I imagine the hillbilly stereotypin' and spousal abuse wasn't looked on too well either.
Blue Bayou one-word review: Boring.
All the Cats Join In: Was anyone else disappointed that this didn't feature felines? And when you think of jazz music, what comes to mind? White kids, right? Animation-wise, I've gotta admire it. I'm a sucker for cartoon characters being drawn by and interacting with cartoon pencils (and the erasers of those pencils). It's fun and has a great energy to it (though I guess anything would seem fun and energetic after Blue Bayou). But in terms of humor, it certainly shows how much comic sensibilities can change over many decades. Whereas the sight of a teenage boy dancing with his girl holding her upside-down as if she's a mop might have been funny at the time, now it's just plain baffling.
Without You one-word review: Depressing.
Casey at the Bat one-sentence review: Oh, why can't real life baseball be as fun to watch as cartoon baseball?
Two Silhouettes one-word review: Nice.
Peter and the Wolf: I can't help but wonder if putting this to moving images defeated the purpose of the piece itself. I thought the whole point was to use the sounds of each instrument to visualize the action in your mind? As I watch the cartoon after time I find myself paying more attention to the animation and absent-mindedly ignoring the instrument-character associations. I think I rather prefer experiencing Peter and the Wolf with just my mind's eye. Even if now I find it hard to not imagine them all in that Disney style.
After You've Gone one-word review: Neat!
Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet: Near the end of this short, when (SPOILER ALERT?) scissors are taken to Johnny Fedora to create ear holes, I find myself thinking, "AAH! Doesn't that hurt?!" Then it occurs to me. I'm sympathizing with a cartoon hat. It's weird how I care more about this fedora than any of the human or animal characters in the rest of the feature (yes, even Peter). Maybe it's because it's a non-human-or-animal. For a moment I think, "What if the hats I've worn throughout my life had feelings? Have I mistreated them so badly? I'm so sorry if I have!" Then, again, I realize how incredibly silly that is. Still, the story is charming and the song is great. It's easily, as far as I care anyway, the best reason to watch Make Mine Music. It should've been the very last short of the set, to leave you with that ooey-gooey happy feeling. Instead, there's The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met. It's funny how I remember this one. I'd seen it twice (the second time as recently as last year, I reckon), and I remembered full well that Willie (spoiler alert...) dies at the end, but I thought that he dies after getting to live out his dream career. What a bummer that it only happens through a fantasy sequence. It's not sad just that he dies, but that he dies without ever getting to sing at the met. And how disappointing that there's no follow-through on the set-up of the title itself. Imagine if you watched a movie called, I don't know, The Search For the Golden Orb, but they never actually find the golden orb. Also, another example of the comedic change of the times: Willie's separate vibrating uvulas were possibly funny then. But now... more unsettling. Wouldn't you agree?
Favorite characters: Note to self: Shop for one fedora and one blue bonnet.
Least-necessary character: Oh yes, thank you Mr. Seagull, for leading the harpoon-happy hunter to your "friend" Willie the Whale.
Overall: We're still going through the shorts-collection period, folks. If you can compare Saludos Amigos and The Three Amigos to eating at a couple of ethnic restaurants, Make Mine Music would be more of a potluck. Not everything is great, but the variety is the strong point itself, since you're bound to find something you like in it.

Amanda's bit

I'm a little curious, possibly enough to research it further, as to how the Disney Studio managed to grow during this shortstravaganza period. Is there profit to be had in making short films? Were each of the shorts run separately before features? Were each of the shorts run in rotation on television? In any case, I'm very impressed with the business aspect during this era.

I speculate that the studio is continuing its endeavors to experiment and embrace new technologies as well as find ways for the new to work beside the old, and I respect that a great deal. Beyond Fantasia however, which comes right to the forefront and admits that it is a concert, I feel that cohesion is still so very important to making a successful, memorable feature. On the other hand, this collection had a few very strong stand out chapters which easily grew greater than the whole. Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet has been burned into my brain since before I can remember. Casey at the Bat was a classic poem that I knew as a child and chuckle about still today. While I agree that I prefer Peter and the Wolf in my imagination than played out for me, I cannot deny that little Russian Petey is the one that I think of first.

Favorite Character: I'm sorry Constable Hat! I thought you were someone I knew!
Least necessary character: I must admit, I found the Two silhouettes so incredibly boring, I very nearly fell asleep. I'm not sure how my favorite animation studio took a piece of ballet (which I normally find very engaging) and made it a snoozefest.
Overall: The bits justify the whole, but if I could give you the edited for Amanda's taste version, you'd probably enjoy it even more.

Amanda's Extra: This era of Disney is a modge podge of little bits with barely any theme. It seems appropriate here then to add to my always growing stash of afghan squares. Nothing is more bits and pieces than your classic Granny Square. It's got the little scraps of yarn to remind you of the original project that you loved so dearly...possibly right next to that awful hand me down yarn that you made into an itchy hat when you couldn't say "No thank you Auntie; that sort of yarn doesn't suit my taste." Either way, it'll make a kitchy cute blanket someday.

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