Link to Previous Part: The Disneyathon – Part 2: The Golden Age
Now we’re entering the Wartime Age. During this era Walt Disney Animated was struggling a bit so they started releasing these ‘packaged movies’. That’s a movie comprised of multiple shorter movies. You’re probably wondering why I’m covering these at all, you may be thinking they are not real Disney movies. Well actually they are as they’re on the official Disney Animated movie list and also I am a completionist and if I set a goal I follow it through. So in this part and the next part we’re focusing on the Wartime Age.
Our first movie for this era is Saludos Amigos and for a 40 minute movie it’s passable.
This movie was apparently made so the US could give South America a pat on the back for being good sports in the war. So this movie consists of the Walt Disney animated crew visiting some iconic locations in South America and then making cartoon shorts around each location.
There are 4 shorts in this movie with the first one having a narrator explaining the culture of Lake Titicaca while Donald Duck messes about in the background. It’s okay, I learnt a bit about this place and Donald Duck makes a good comedic relief.
Short 2 has a little plane flying around while a narrator tells you everything that happens. This is easily the worst of the lot as I immediately got annoyed that this old man had to hold my hand by explaining this super simple story. No need Grandpa, I understand what’s happening.
Short 3 has Goofy going to Argentina while someone explains everything. Eh, it’s the same as Donald’s short.
The last one is the best one as it starts out with this paint brush painting the scenery while some lovely music plays in the background. Then Donald Duck hangs out with this pretty cool Brazilian parrot and they have a gay old time. Also the narrator isn’t in it, thank God.
Overall I was mildly entertained. I can’t pick on it too much as it’s so short and it feels like a TV episode. Some effort has definitely been put into this which I can appreciate. My only real complaint is the over use of the narrator. A perfect 5/10. Don’t bother checking this one out.
So the next one is The Three Caballeros and I have very mixed feelings on this one.
This is another trip down south but this one is not quite as it presents itself. Donald Duck is back and this time instead of going to South America to learn about their culture he’s given presents showing what it’s like down south and I’m going to go through each one as I am extremely mixed on all of these.
So the first present has Donald watch a movie on one of those old film reel things. The first short shows a penguin wanting to leave the south pole and the second is of a boy finding a flying donkey. This is easily the most boring part of the movie as just like in Saludos Amigos it’s all unnecessarily explained as it’s happening. The second short is even worse than that plane short from the last movie. It’s so bad I was tempted to turn it off but I saved myself by flicking on my iPad because my time was better used there.
Up next Donald is reunited with the Brazilian bird from Saludos Amigos. This sequence has the two characters going inside a book and they join a Brazilian dance thing. (They probably say what it’s called but I was so disinterested that I can’t remember.) This scene is infused with live action people and cartoon characters which looks incredibly dated at this point. This does happen again throughout the movie. At other times it’s more serviceable but with this sequence it’s in very poor quality and it’s obvious that it’s filmed in some studio and Donald is just inserted onto a green screen.
I bet at this point you probably wonder why I am so mixed on this movie when my feelings all seem negative. Well in Donald’s last present we’re introduced to this Mexican rooster and this is where the movie starts to lose it’s marbles. It wasn’t great before but at this point it becomes completely nonsensical! So Donald and the two stereotypical birds go through the Mexican book and nothing makes any sense and the movie just gets more bizarre as they progress.
The only recurring theme is that Donald really loves girls, live action human girls. So Donald just chases after the birds and then it’s like an acid trip or something as the birds are pulling his feathers, playing tricks on him and God knows what else. I literally have no clue. The people who made this movie had given up by this point. It took a while for this to build up but once we got to the finale I was finally interested in the movie, too bad there was only seven minutes of the movie left by then.
In the end I’m seriously mixed. The singing and the musical side was probably the best part of this movie and of course the ending. I think in the end I’m convinced this is the worst Disney movie I have watched in this marathon so far as this movie is extremely boring until the last 10 minutes so I’m going with a 3 or 4 out of 10. Start about an hour in and watch it from there, if not you’ll need some of that stuff those birds were on!
We’re pretty much at the half way point in this era of Disney movies and I’m guessing you’re already bored with my responses to these movies so far. If you are, I recommend sticking around for this review as Make Mine Music is actually really good and I’ll explain why.
Make Mine Music is Fantasia done right. It’s the perfect length, it’s plays different types of music, the animation is unique and impressive and it’s interesting enough for kids to enjoy. So Make Mine Music is an anthology movie of music related shorts, all with different tones, animation styles and with no stupid overarching plot that ruins the pacing of the movie, which is great.
Honestly all of the problems I had with those other two movies are pretty much gone in this one. There are only two issues I have with this movie. The first one is that the opening short for the movie is really boring and doesn’t have the oomph to get me into it, but after I watched the movie I found out that there was another short originally before this that was cut from the version I watched because it showed characters comically playing with shotguns. I see their point but honestly it’s a bit of an over reaction and it’s a shame as it really damaged this film. My other point being the narrating which I did tolerate for shorts like Casey at the Bat but it was a real overkill for Peter and the Wolf as they even explain the music cues for each character which just really riles me up, STOP IT! I’M NOT DUMB, I GET IT!!
Otherwise they’re all really solid shorts. My favourite might be All Cats Join In as a giant pencil draws in the background around these college kids while they dance to some Jazz music and I absolutely love Jazz. This short was also censored a bit because it originally featured a woman getting out of the shower while flashing her side boob. Oh no! My child will be scared for life because they saw a naked cartoon character!!
Casey at the Bat was fairly entertaining and it defied my expectations which is rare for a Disney film. I also liked Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet which is a fairly creative short and the final short I really liked was Willie the Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met. It’s got opera and variety which, you know, a certain other movie lacked.
Overall Make Mine Music might be my favourite movie so far in this series and I think it’s super underrated. An 8 or 9 out of 10. This is the first movie I highly recommend you watch over any of those other Golden Age movies.
The last movie I want to talk about in this part is probably Disney’s most controversial movie to date. Song of the South is a movie that they like to pretend never happened but it’s kind of impossible when your finger prints are all over the crime scene. This movie won two Academy Awards back in the day. Splash Mountain (the best ride in Disneyland) is actually based on this movie and famous people like Whoopi Goldberg are asking for a DVD release but I don’t see Disney doing that.
Song of the South has been discussed for years as it’s considered to be heavily racist, for it’s time period and for how some of the characters behave like racist stereotypes. Again this debate has been raging on for years but what really matters is what I think! I think if I look at just the movie it will still smell like a really foul Br’er Rabbit crud.
This is the most cringiest movie I have seen in this series so far. I feel very bad for everyone involved with this movie, not because of the controversy behind it but for having been a part of this terrible story. All of the dialogue is bad, all of the acting is bad, the cinematography and the lighting is bad and even the animation in this movie isn’t particularly good.
The story has no real structure, subplots start and are then abandoned for a new subplot. First the main boy is crying because his daddy is going away, who knows where. Next scene he wants to catch frogs with his friend and then forgets that and wants to hang out with Uncle Remus. It’s also immensely predictable: ‘Don’t go near that bull or it’ll ram you down’. Two hours later ‘OH NO, little Jimmy was rammed down by the bull’.
I’m never too wrapped with child actors because it’s like tossing a coin. Oh my God the kids in this movie are so atrocious! I don’t blame the actors for their terrible performance or their terrible characters but they’re still terrible. All these kids are stereotypes and they are walking talking plot devices who are far from being real kids. While I’m at it, everyone in this movie is a stereotype.
Probably the only positive I can give to this movie is that the animation sequences are okay. They still look bad but they’re mildly entertaining. The music is great and this is the movie that gave birth to Zip-a-dee-Doo-Dah which is probably my favourite song I have heard in this series, it’s incredibly catchy and I love it. I also kind of liked James Baskett’s portrayal as Uncle Remus – he was the best actor in the movie and also played the best character in the movie. His animated character was literally the best part.
Overall the movie is bad and it deserves a 2/10. I’m glad I have finally watched it but it’s not a movie I would ever go back to willingly.
I have just recently made a Letterboxd account as it’s the perfect site for me because it’s focused on movies. Over there I’ll be working on a Disney movie ranking list where after each part I’ll add more movies to the list. So if you want to see how the list looks now click this link, if not I’ll see you in Part 4: My Official Disneyathon Ranking List
Link to Next Part: The Disneyathon – Part 3: The Wartime Age