1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Review 8/9 - Make Mine Music & Fun and Fancy Free

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Disney Animation Review 8/9 - Make Mine Music & Fun and Fancy Free

Disney Animation Review: 8-9/53 - Make Mine Music & Fun and Fancy Free

Ryan Dosier - Today’s review covers both Make Mine Music (1946) and Fun and Fancy Free (1947), two more of Walt Disney’s “package films” that contain two or more animated shorts or a mixture of live action. The films were made to recoup some of the losses the studio faced during World War II. Although they surely kept the Disney studio afloat, it’s a shame that these films couldn’t have been better.

Make Mine Music features ten cartoon shorts, all unrelated, all set to different kinds of music. It is a very odd film and only four or five of the segments are worth watching. “All the Cats Join In” is about teenagers having fun and is lively and entertaining but ridiculously sexist (but what in the 40s wasn’t?). At one point a girl with a slightly bigger ass than the other girls is rejected by a boy, so the artist’s pencil erases her ass and draws it smaller. I was stunned.

Thankfully, the rest of the film is innocent and harmless (for the most part). There are a few real gems here such as “Casey at the Bat,” which features great music and narration and animation. “Peter and the Wolf” should be better than it is... but it lacks quite a bit. “Johnny Fedora & Alice Blue Bonnet” is an adorable, wonderful little short that clearly inspired Disney and Pixar’s recent short film efforts such as “Paperman” and “The Blue Umbrella.” Finally, there’s the story of Willie the opera singing whale, which is enjoyable and a delight, but features a shockingly tragic ending.

But for the most part, Make Mine Music is a collection of boring, uninspired, and downright lame cartoon shorts. There are a handful of truly fun pieces, but overall I found myself bored and ready for it to be over.
Then there’s Fun and Fancy Free, which is one of the most polarizing movies for me. I adore the second half, but I fall asleep during the first half. The film features Jiminy Cricket as the sort of narrator for no real reason. He leads the movie into the story of Bongo the circus bear who winds up in the woods. The story is so dull and really does not contain any sort of Disney magic. There’s a bit of fun during the bear square dance, but 95% of Bongo is boring.

Fun and Fancy Free picks up momentum with “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” narrated by the great ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his puppets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. But they don’t really matter, since the real stars are Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. This 25 minute cartoon reminds viewers how spectacular Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are as a team. They work off of each other so well, especially in this. Donald has one of his greatest, craziest angry flip out moments and the animation is to die for.

Goofy sings a great, funny little song about “pancakes a foot high” as their hungry desperation sits in. Mickey gets to be the hero (which he always excels at). It’s just a lot of fun and the animation is top notch. Willie the Giant is a little lackluster and the magic harp is lame, but Mickey, Donald, and Goofy make Fun and Fancy Free worth your time (at least the second half of it).

Make Mine Music - 2/5 Blue Bonnets

Fun and Fancy Free - 2.5/5 Magic Beans

The Mickey Mindset, mickeymindset@gmail.com

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