Monday, March 19, 2012

D52 - Week 11 - The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

[This post is incomplete until Amanda adds her bit, but perhaps pre-posting it will coax her into sharing the project she made for this week.]

Kevin's bit
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is comparable to Fun & Fancy Free in that each film is made up of two half-hour (ish) cartoons. But the introductory/connecting segments in TAoIaMT are much shorter than the ones in Fun & Fancy Free, and I'm happy with that difference. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad wastes little time in getting to the point, just like its title!
Mr. Toad's adventures isn't altogether very adventurey. I haven't read The Wind and the Willows but going by this version I'm surprised it passes as a children's story. Not that there's anything naughty. I just can't imagine children being interested in a story based mostly around legal proceedings. Unless it's the kind of kid who'd have a copy of Robert's Rules on his shelf next to his teddy bear. The only real action comes when Toad and friends have to get the deed back from Winky and the weasels, which is unfortunately ruined with clichés (count them!) such as the back-and-forth opposite-direction-running-as-the-sought-after-item-constantly-switches-hands. Were they clichés at the time? Maybe not? But that doesn't change how it's watched today. And it's a bit of a shame that a couple of them (mainly Toad and Mole) do seem to have the potential to be likeable characters (I find Mole more memorable in Mickey's Christmas Carol), but just don't have enough to do. I do, though, enjoy the depiction of Toad's mania, in that he's so enraptured by the idea of motorcars that he bounces along the road sputtering madly. I find it funny.
The best thing about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is its main character. Let's compare Ichabod to another animated short film star who was silent albeit for narration - Bongo the Bear. The problem with Bongo's design is that, well, he's just an average cartoon bear wearing some clothes. He might as well be one of the extra bears in the forest crowd. Ichabod, by contrast, has an interesting-ass design. So I have to wonder even more why Ichabod is seen barely, if at all, as merchandise or a park presence. As far as I can find there is no DisneyPark costumed Ichabod Crane meet-and-greet character. How hard can it be to find someone with ridiculously exaggerated proportions? But Mr Toad got his own ride (that still exists in Disneyland)! Why couldn't Ichabod be incorporated into The Haunted Mansion (which seasonally sports a Nightmare Before Christmas motif), or say, a cameo in Snow White's Scary Adventures? It's not that Crane is one of the best characters ever, but compared to Toad...come on.
And though I get that's - I think - played as a joke, it is off-putting how concerned he is with his potential wealth accumulation from marrying Van Tassel. Because he's supposedly the guy we're rooting for to get the girl, right? And supposedly we don't want Brom to get the girl, because...uh...because he's not the good guy we're focusing on. I didn't even get that Brom was even really a jerk, up until the point where he winds up to punch Ichabod square in the face, anyway. Because until then, what exactly does he do to make him an unsuitable suitor? Just that he competes with Ichabod for her affection? That he enjoys a drink? Oh, I know. It was when he prompted a dog to howl, much to Ichabod's chagrin! THAT INSENSITIVE ARROGANT JERKHOLE.
I wonder how the climactic scene manages to be scarier than most adult-oriented "horror" movies. Is it because the uncertainty of something horrific happening is scarier than some dude in a mask swishing a knife in front of your face? Is it because Ichabod's expressions of fear are more engaging to watch than some lady screaming as loudly as she possibly can? Or is it just that the former half of the cartoon is filled with the opposite of spookery?

Favorite character: Ichabod would be a great (non-speaking) spokesperson for hard-boiled eggs. The hand-drawn pies and turkey legs don't really do anything for me, but man, whenever I see that hard-boiled egg, I want one something bad.
Least favorite character: Darn it, Katrina. Stop stringing along two very different guys who are both competing for your love and make a choice. Who do you think you are, Bella Swan?
Overall: "The Adventures of Ichabod Crane" easily wins over Mr. Toad's mild ride.

Amanda's bit
Boy howdy, I'm late in my posting here!  So this was yet another although the least chopped up of the chopped up movies in our line-up.  I am first to admit that I was unaware for a very long time that The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was ever paired up with something else!  In my mind, it is easily entertaining and memorable enough to stand on its own.  I found myself less than surprised that I could sing along with Bing Crosby as he crooned not only as the voice of Ichabod himself, but also as the narrator.  That's some memorable stuff right there.  Does this segment stand up to the test of time? Yes.  Does it deserve to be coupled with Mr. Toad? No.

Toad, Mole, Rat and What'sisname... the Badger guy... Along with Cyril the horse and the many unnamed weasels just never managed to get much of a story across to me.  There was clearly some sort of plot line and a bunch of gags, but I was never given much of a reason to care about anyone.  Like Kevin said, legal proceedings are boring.  While horses cross-dressing might be funny, jail breaking is less so.  Going strictly by the plot, why am I sad if Toad Hall is lost?  Does anyone live there besides Toad?  He seems to want to travel the world anyway, so what difference would it make.  And for crying out loud, Toady, is it really necessary to get as excited about any new fangled thing?  I was under the impression that you were an adult with a house and bills and whatnot.  Are you actually a 7 year old boy who obsesses over the next trading card/trading figure battle game and you need to buy them all? No.  Shame on you. Geez, at least Ichabod left a legend in his wake.  What did you leave, Toad?  Smog. Thanks a lot.

Favorite Character? Chubby Girl in Sleepy Hollow.  She wants a man and she's putting some effort in.  Good for you, woman!  Go Get'em!
Least-Favorite Character? Toad.  Grow up and get a job, geez man.
Amusement: I like to imagine that Mr. Rat is Basil of Baker Street's great great uncle.  I imagine that pipe smoking and deerstalker hat wearing runs in the family.

1 comment:

  1. "Stop stringing along two very different guys who are both competing for your love and make a choice. Who do you think you are, Bella Swan?"



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