Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh Dear God No

I like my longer posts. They are fun to read. Yes, fun to read for me.

The Youtube time wasting of importance lately? Watching SOME (but not all) of a number of animated movies and specials that the devoted have posted in all their glory. Well, it certainly better than whatever video diary entry or "scary montage" (as I've had my videos described as) one may think of making.

It all started last week, when for reasons I can't remember, I looked up Gollum on Wikipedia (I'm not a fan of Lord of the Rings, so don't look at me like that). While there, I was reminded that those holiday-loving folks at Rankin-Bass made an animated adaptation of The Hobbit in the 70s. I decided to tune in, and watched a select few parts of it, namely the Gollum section (obviously), and the ending.

It looks like a Rankin-Bass animated movie. You know what a Rankin-Bass animated thing looks like, so I won't go into details about that (and if you don't, well, I'm lazy and that's the actual reason I won't go into details about it). One thing that struck me was the way Bilbo was presented. I actually read about half of The Hobbit years ago, and Bilbo always struck me as a grumpy whiner, while this animated version seems more like a jokey fellow. Gollum more or less resembles what I pictured him in the pre-Peter Jackson days. I don't remember what it is that made me visualize him so reptilian. Maybe some of you uber dorks can help?

I have seen bits and pieces of Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings (which technically follows this), and the rotoscoping is rather off-putting (but seems a bit more visually in-line with the definitive versions, even if Aragorn looks like a viking). I haven't decided to watch the Rankin-Bass follow-up to that. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. I'm a rebel like that.

After that, I followed it up by looking for another full-length movie to watch. Unfortunately, the one I decided upon was Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. I'm sure you must know of this one. It's been a part of my worthless psyche for years now. For the unwary, it's a special made in the late 80s/very early 90s where a bunch of cartoon characters popular forever or at that time specifically (how else can you explain the presence of ALF?) teaching generic teenage (it could be YOU!) that drugs are bad and have bad effects on you, while George C. Scott Mary Jane Smoke Monster eggs him onto harder stuff. It's all very Reagan-era (even though it was preceded by a message from Bush the First and his wife BARRRRRR HE DESTROYED MY MEMOIRS!) The most entertainment you can get out of it is hearing characters like Bugs Bunny, Winnie the Pooh, Huey, Duey, Luey, and Michelangelo of the TMNT talking about drugs...and George C. Scott doing the voice of a Mary Jane Smoke Monster in a business suit (alas, no "AARRRRRRRGH! MY GROIN!") See, I just made two Simpsons references in order to make this funny (X-E could write several paragraphs on it and still be funny, but I'm not that Matt).

One thing I DID find humorous about the whole enterprise is that, after trying to convince aforementioned teenager of the badness of drugs via upbeat, delightful song, it doesn't seem to work. So to get the point across more bluntly, the Toons decide to use a combination of shock imagery and a simulation of a very boring bad trip. That'll teach them kids not to be like Hendrix!

So, here, I'll subject you to the whole thing:

Well after that debacle, I decided to aim a bit higher. So where do I go? Chuck Jones, of course.

What Chuck Jones, you ask? An adaptation of Riki-Tiki-Tavi, a completely unrelated story in The Jungle Book by Rudyard "Isn't British Imperialism Awesome?" Kipling. It's a pretty well-known story, so I'm going to have to say "Fuck you" to everyone who doesn't understand what's going on.

It's a surprisingly 'dark' story, I guess. Well, dark in the way that the titular character just sort of slaughters villainous snakes left and right, and other elements. He also clearly goes insane when doing so, and it's animated appropriately. Chuck Jones, more so than even Rankin-Bass, has a style you can easily identify. I'm unfortunately not a true animation buff, so I can't really expand upon that any further.

Another thing: apparently, the songs of the bird are in the book, too. Because birds 'sing', obviously this very non-Indian sounding bird (who said that the animals need to sound like the people of the region, huh? They could just as easily sound like the white people occupying and enslaving the region!) singing about every event known to man. Oh, Kipling, why don't you get some Indian kids to go pick your cotton.

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