Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"Doggone This Confusion!"
I suppose if I were more familiar with Disney's early output, especially Fantasia, I would be less impressed by The Three Caballeros. But as it happens, I came into this viewing knowing very little about the evolution of animation and was kind of pleasantly shocked at the cinematic imagination on display here. I'm wondering if the initial obligations to the OCIAA removed, or in the least lessened, certain obligations to narrative and even stylistic coherence, thereby freeing up the minds and artists at work here to really give us something special, for the most part.
It has such a wildly playful and insanely free-form style that its almost hard to watch. I'd be very interested to know what kids think of it. I was trying to imagine what it would be like to watch it as a child. It's funny to me that Disney tried to promote it to an adult audience by highlighting the "beauties" and the Latin music, because, in a way, I think it might be completely acceptable only to a child's sensibility. (I don't partake, but, I imagine it is also perhaps one of the great movies to watch while high)
A better film historian than me would have to chime in here, but, isn't the whole aspect of the "film" in this movie kind of ahead of its time? For example, in the first sections, the way it plays with the narrator/subject relationship. Some of the sportive ways it plays with the notion of itself as a film reminded me of Ophuls' La Ronde which is 6 years later and considered inventive for similar approaches.
It was refreshing, and I suppose somewhat disturbing, to see a cartoon animal so absolutely bonkers for human chicks. One of the reasons I feel asleep (totally "R.E.M asleep") in WALL-E was because I couldn't wrap my arms around the love story with all that metal. It's a little easier to swallow cartoon beasts in love(at least they can subtly add some femininity/masculinity to the designs), but nothing beats Donald Duck after "supposedly" Latin American women.
I only say "supposedly" because it looks like some of these scenes were shot near the Santa Monica pier with those locals. Regardless, we are sure to never again see so much lust on display from an animated character that doesn't say "Diggity, diggity, all right!"
These sequences go on for so long and are so obsession-filled, that it strikes me as hilarious that there would be a sense that this was keeping in line with the idea that it intended to "cultivate good will" with these other American republics. One walks away from the film with the impression that one of the major reasons to head down south, if not the main reason, is for the girls.
Without the burden of a narrative, and with imagination, inventiveness and stylistic freedom, this film approaches pure cinema. It can almost be called Avant Garde at some moments. This surprised me. It's really a shame that it is laced with this boring propaganda. The way it plays with film form is almost worth the viewing, if live action girls running for their lives from Donald Duck isn't enough.
(Title of post is from a line Donald Duck says as he is being teased by girls. A line I would never have deciphered had it not been for subtitles)