Monday, October 25, 2010

Thumbelina (1994)

Title: Thumbelina
Year: 1994
Rated: G
Run Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

StarringJodi Benson as Thumbelina
Gino Conforti as Jacquimo
Gary Imhoff as Prince Cornelius
Charo as Mama Toad
Joe Lynch as Grendel
Gilbert Gottfried as Mr. Beetle
Carol Channing as Mrs. Fieldmouse
John Hurt as Mr. Mole

Plot: A tiny, thumb-sized girl is pursued by a toad, a beetle, and a mole as she tries to find her way back home and to her fairy prince.
Based on: “Thumbelina" by Hans Christian Anderson
Setting: France

Tagline: Follow your heart and nothing is impossible.

Andrew's First Viewing: August 28th, 2010, courtesy of Movie Lovers in Bozeman; bits and pieces prior to this
Jordyn's First Viewing: In theatres sometime in the spring of 1994. (Oh. Yeah.)

Jordyn's Comments
Okay, I won't beat around the bush, Don Bluth's Thumbelina is one of my favorite movies of all time. I already wrote a review for it on my blog, Popped Density, so forgive my lazy ass as I plagiarize myself.

You might assume that I will blame my love for this movie on nostalgia. Surely, growing up with a bad movie is like a Get Out of Jail Free card when someone demands your reasoning for liking it. I did see this movie in theaters and loved it. Being a six year old girl, I loved all things princess and fairy and with the love songs and the magic, glavin! But after that initial first viewing, the home video was not purchased or rented or even watched at a friend's house. No, I didn't seen Thumbelina again until it was on Toon Disney in the summer of 2002. Nostalgia and curiosity got the better of me so I watched it. And I fell in love.

2002...yeah, that would make me about fourteen. Fourteen. An age when I should have been going on dates and getting felt up during the latest Josh Hartnett movie. But, oh no, not me. I spent my evenings doing my homework while this crap played in the background...every damn night. (I alternated between this and Some Kind of Wonderful). At fourteen, my pessimistic side had yet to materialize so an external conflict romance written and produced for dullard children satisfied the unsexualized side of my romantic whims.

Thumbelina is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale by the same name. It is fleshed out a bit...Disneyfied (ahem, I mean, Bluthanized), if you will. It begins with a French swallow named Jaciquimo telling us a story of impossible romance with an impossible beginning. A lonely single woman longs for a child. She is given a magical seed by a good witch, which she plants. It grows into a flower and once it blooms, a tiny girl emerges. She is given the moniker Thumbelina, as she is, you know, no bigger than a thumb. (One wonders if she was in a different scale if her name would be Toesita or Weinerella (tee-hee)).

Weiner-ELLA, she's a funny little squirt.
However, Thumbelina is dissatisfied with her size. Like all animated heroines, she longs for true love. But how can she find it if she's the only little person in the world? Thumbelina's only outlet is fiction, where fairies (who happen to be the right size) exist. But if this is a world where young, fully clothed, post pubertal miniature girls can grow from flowers, there has to be fairies, right?

As Thumbelina is singing to herself, Cornelius, the fairy prince, manages to fly by on his pet bumblebee and become entranced by her beautiful singing voice. It's basically love at first sight for both of them. There must be a lack of fairy chicks. After some mild flirtation (and an almost kiss) Cornelius takes her on a magical "A Whole New World"-esque journey across the French countryside. He serenades her with the best song in the movie, "Let Me Be Your Wings", while flying her over a glistening, mirror like pond and a huge pumpkin and through the glittering midnight sky.

And now I'm in a diabetic coma.
So after the romancing, Cornelius hears his parents summoning him, but he promises to return to Thumbelina in the morning after he breaks the news about his new, non-fairy girlfriend. He promises to not forget her and leaves...but not before failing at two more almost kisses. (That's right, two! How can you fail three times in seven minutes?)

So since our heroine has found her one true love in the first act, there has to be some conflict to keep them separated for 60 more minutes. This comes in the form of Mama Toad, the amphibious version of Charo. After hearing Thumbelina's gorgeous singing voice, Mama Toad's son, Grendel, has fallen in love with her. Mama Toad tries to convince Thumbelina to join the family singing group and to marry her son. Although Thumbelina is tempted by fame, she wants to return to her mother and Cornelius. The toads abandon her on a lily pad, meaning to return and force her to marry Grendel.

Mexicans in sixteenth century France? Sure, why not?
Cornelius fulfills his promise and returns for his lady fair. He discovers her kidnapping and goes on a quest to find her. Back on the lily pad, Thumbelina meets Jacquimo, a romance obsessed swallow. He promises to find Cornelius's home, the Vale of the Fairies while Thumbelina continues on foot to her house. Jacquimo is convinced that "following your heart" is the quickest way home. Not flying. No, it's definitely not flying.

Both Cornelius and Grendel are on the hunt for Thumbelina, but she continues to walk at a glacial the wrong direction. She is commandeered by Mr. Beetle who, through forest gossip, heard about her voice and convinces her to sing at the Beetle Ball. However, her Elizabethan butterfly costume is removed and she is revealed to be an ugmo because she lacks feelers and wings.

Our heroine's confidence is shattered. Not to mention that she is lost in the middle of the woods as autumn turns to winter. But Jacquimo arrives and teaches an important lesson: if the man you love thinks you're beautiful, then no one else's opinion matters. But if he doesn't, you're fucked. Again, Captain Useless doesn't fly Thumbelina to her home, or steer her in the right direction. He keeps searching for the Vale of the Fairies. Winter comes rather quickly. (Wasn't it only yesterday the fairies were golding the leaves?) Thumbelina finds shelter in an old shoe while Cornelius ends up frozen in a pond and presumed dead.

Thumbelina is discovered by Mrs. Fieldmouse who brings her into her underground home and informs her of Cornelius's death. Thumbelina is distraught but owes a debt to Mrs. Fieldmouse and accompanies her on visit to Mr. Mole. While visiting him, Thumbelina discovers Jacquimo in his tunnel, unconscious and with a thorn in his wing. Despite her opposing cheeriness, Mr. Mole also has the hots for her and bribes Mrs. Fieldmouse to convince Thumbelina to marry him...which she does. Through song!

M is for Money, O-L-E!!!
Later that night, Thumbelina sneaks into the tunnel and visits Jacquimo's corpse. But unfortunately for us, he's not dead and lectures her for giving up hope and settling for Mr. Mole. Thumbelina wants no more of his optimism, even though he flies off to look for the Vale of Fairies without letting her escape. Meanwhile a group of bugs find Cornelius and thaw him out on Thumbelina's wedding day. On the way down the aisle, she has visions of Cornelius singing the second reprise of "Let Me Be Your Wings" and cannot go through with it.

At that moment, Grendel storms in to capture Thumbelina. As does Cornelius to rescue her. And the beetle is also there. But in the confusion, Thumbelina manages to escape without seeing Cornelius. She climbs out of the underground lair just as Jacquimo comes to inform her he's found the Vale of the Fairies. She gets on his back (FINALLY) and flies with him. Jacquimo convinces her to sing and she awakens the Vale of the Fairies to spring. Even though she refused to marry someone she didn't love, Thumbelina's optimism is gone and knows Cornelius will not rise from the dead. However, he returns just in time to finish their duet. They kiss and Thumbelina is transformed into a fairy (sure, why the fuck not?) and they live happily ever after.

Fade to black, show the names, play that happy song.
Let the defense begin. First of all, I love the music. The songs and score were written by Barry Manilow...which sounds like the punchline to a joke. I know that this type of music isn't everyone's cup of tea, but my favorite band is the Carpenters so...That and it's blatantly ripping off the Disney style. Despite my opinions, Mrs. Fieldmouse's song "Marry the Mole" won the Razzie for worst original song. Personally, I think the worst song is "The Beetle Ball" but whatever. I truly think "Let Me Be Your Wings" is one of the most beautiful songs ever written and I don't mind it's four reprises. Not. One. Bit.

Although it's beaten into your head that "you're sure to do impossible things if you follow your heart" this is not the theme. The theme is true love is irreplaceable and trying to replace it is futile. Let me explain. So up until she meets her prince, Thumbelina thinks there is no one else her size...which translates to "I'm going to die old and single just like my mother." When Cornelius shows up she finds in him the only person she could ever love. After she learns of his "death", she states "he was the only one--" and then is cut off by Mrs. Fieldmouse. She probably would have finished with "my size". But "the only one my size" translates to "the only one who could make my life complete." The size issue is just a physical embodiment of this point. You're true love might as well be the only one "your size". Marrying someone the "wrong size" (or of a different species like in this movie) is wrong.

That's another theme in Thumbelina. Don't settle. It may be practical for Thumbelina to marry a rich old mole if it's impossible for her to ever go back to her home. It's a dog eat dog world out there, and she can't rely on the good graces of woodland creatures forever. But she knows that marrying for money will never make her happy, only love will. That's why it's better to stay miserable and alone rather than replace the irreplaceable.

Perhaps I'm stretching it a bit. But I doubt you can find these themes in Bluth's other movies. Compared to the other ones, I feel that Thumbelina is the least of a mind screw. It's very faithful to it's source material despite a few changes. In the original, Thumbelina doesn't meet the unnamed fairy prince until the very end when she is dropped off by the swallow, who she first meets in the mole's cave. I suppose a better version without glaring plot holes (I'll let Andrew cover that) could be made, but this is pretty damn good. Easily the best Bluth movie. There, I said it.

Andrew's Comments:
And so with this entry, I’ve passed the opening reigns to Jordyn, and now I get to experience the feeling of having most of my major points already covered. Joy and rapture. Anyway, onto today’s entry: Don Bluth’s adaptation of the oft-loved (though completely missed by me in childhood) Thumbelina. This movie is a pretty earnest attempt to mimic the success of Disney renaissance movies such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (“cash-in” is a phrase I’ve never agreed with; it brings to mind someone pulling a lever, and the product is delivered immediately in a ready state, similar to the titular heroine of today’s movie). Something was lost in translation, however, and this movie is simply not very good. Not worthy of ire to the extent of Rock-A-Doodle (which, it has been established, I have a personal vendetta against), but certainly something I would avoid watching on my own time.

Being that Jordyn and I have two rather different opinions on this movie, let’s start with what we agree on: “The Beetle Ball” is indeed a much worse song than “Marry The Mole.” “Marry The Mole” is indeed ri-doggone-diculous in its exceptional lyricism (“His breath may be alarming / but he’s charming, for a troll / dearie, *woodblock* marry the mole!”), it’s sung by Carol Channing, who can at least sell the bloody thing. “The Beetle Ball,” by contrast, is Gilbert Godfrey rapping. Let me repeat that for effect: Gilbert Godfrey rapping. And yes, it is as good as it sounds. This one wins by default.

It's a fact.

I also rather appreciate the thematic analysis that Jordyn provided earlier, which suggests that the movie isn’t quite as vapid as it looks (and sounds, and acts, etc). “Don’t sell yourself short” (bahaha) is a road not necessarily taken by many movies these days, and it’s a pretty worthy message to be sending to kids. That said, I’m not a fan of the actual execution, but Thumbelina’s heart certainly is in the right place.

I think this, ultimately, is why this film narrowly avoids a poison-pen ass-whupping from me. It tries so incredibly hard to please, and adheres to so many of the established fairy tale movie conventions, and is so convinced that its story and characters are worthwhile that I just can’t bring myself to hate on it as much as I could. Sure, I can definitely pick some nits and laugh at its expense (“Ha ha! They think this is good character development! What a riot!”), but castigating it for being what it is is something that I cannot do in good conscience.
That said, let’s pick those nits! My biggest pet peeve (though, again, it ultimately redeems the movie) is the overall tone. It reminds me of a parody of these sorts of movies, of Shrek were it less self-aware. More specifically, though, it reminds me of the beginning of the “Mickey and the Beanstalk” portion of Fun and Fancy Free (which I happen to think is absolutely hilarious), where everyone is bouncing and singing and being jolly because everything is SO DAMN HAPPY. Here is one movie where the patented DB flouncing wasn’t such an issue for me; I often imagined the voice actors flouncing around in the booth while recording their characters’ lines.
Speaking of the characters, this movie certainly has a lot of them—toads and beetles and horseflies and field vermin abound in this film, but not many of them made an impact on me. My favorite character may have had the least to do: Mr. Mole, who slinks around in his fabulously wealthy estate, acting like a smaller, ruffled-collar Eeyore. Mr. Mole, however, is voiced by John Hurt (yes, that John Hurt), whose wonderfully full-of-character voice suggests much more depth to Mr. Mole than the movie ever gives him space for.
And the music… oy, the music. As we have mentioned, Thumbelina’s score and original songs were composed by Barry Manilow, who is sadly not on “Copa Cabana” form in this project. Many of the songs sound like parodies of Broadway By Way Of Disney songs, especially the opening number, where the farm animals bob their heads, stomp their feet, and sing their hearts out to ThumbelinAAAAAAA! The only good song (and I use the term loosely) is “Let Me Be Your Wings;” the movie also seems aware of its quality compared to the others, and reprises it no less than four times (seriously, take a shot every time there’s a musical number with “da da daaaa, da daaaa” in it). The score is pleasant enough, I suppose, but it too wants nothing more than to remind us what a great song “Wings” is.
I also find the relationship between Thumbelina and Cornelius to be a bit hokey. They’re immediately smitten with each other upon making eye contact, a sort of “We’ll be married in the morning!” situation, but not tongue in cheek. Also, because there’s no learning curve with their romantic feelings, the movie has to work overtime to keep them apart, and as a result, we never really learn much about Cornelius (perhaps it’s for the best, though—guy’s more vapid than she is).
This guy swashes surprisingly few buckles.
A few more things and we’re done. I was going to dedicate an entire paragraph to how much Jacquimo annoys the PISS out of me, but I was getting too worked up, and decided his character flaws and pants-on-head-ridiculousness was pretty self-evident (what is it with Don Bluth and effeminate, singing pigeons anyways?). Speaking of Jacquimo, I’ve laid-off discussing the plot, because picking apart the story for a movie like this is a sure way to make a smug asshole out of one’s self, but seriously, couldn’t most of this movie been avoided if Thumbelina just got on J-Crew’s back and flies home like she does later in the film? Lastly, why the hell does Thumbelina get wings at the end? Perhaps it’s implied that she was a fairy the whole time, and that her wings just hadn’t come yet? Maybe someone just needed to throw the deus ex machina lever.
This movie is bad. However, it’s not the kind of bad that deserves a painful fate of wailing and gnashing of teeth, for it’s the kind of bad that can be good, if you squint hard enough. As evidenced by my colleague above, this movie has brought joy to many Girls the world over, and I can’t begrudge the movie's sincerity in reaching out to tell its story, no matter how garbled it turned out. That said, please don’t make me watch the damn thing again.

"Follow Your Heart" (Intro) - Gino Conforti (Jacquimo)
"Thumbelina" - Chorus
"Soon" - Jodi Benson (Thumbelina)
"Let Me Your Wings" - Gary Imhoff (Prince Cornelius) and Jodi Benson
"On the Road" - Charo (Mama Toad), Jodi Benson, and Chorus
"Follow Your Heart" - Gino Conforti and Chorus
"Yer Beautiful, Baby" - Randy Chrenshaw (Mr. Beetle)
"Soon" (Reprise) - Barbara Cook (Thumbelina's Mother)
"Sun" ("Let Me Be Your Wings" Reprise I) - Jodi Benson
"Marry the Mole" - Carol Channing (Mrs. Fieldmouse)
"Let Me Be Your Wings" (Reprise II) - Gary Imhoff
"Let Me Be Your Wings" (Reprise III) -  Jodi Benson
"Let Me Be Your Wings" (End Credits) - Barry Manilow and Debra Byrd

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rock-a-Doodle (1991)

Title: Rock-a-Doodle
Year: 1991
Rated: G
Run Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes

Glen Campbell as Chanticleer
Tobey Scott Ganger as Edmond
Phil Harris as Narrator/Patou
Christopher Plummer as Grand Duke
Sandy Duncan as Peepers
Will Ryan as Stuey
Charles Nelson Reilly as Hunch
Ellen Greene as Goldie
Sorell Brook as Pinky

Plot: When a rooster is revealed to not be the one in charge of making the sun rise, he goes to the city and becomes a famous rock star.

Based on: Original screenplay.
Setting: An American farm...sometime in the 50's (judging by the telephone).

The rousing, rollicking adventure of the world's first rockin' rooster!

Andrew's First Viewing: Early 90's daycare
Jordyn's First Viewing: Early 90's, somehow, someway.

Andrew's Comments

As we come to the midway point in our Don Bluth retrospective, we reach the beginning and end of several paradigms: this is the last movie I grew up watching (after this, I enter the realm of Oh, This Is What I Missed), and the first Bluth film of the 90’s. It’s also the first in a rather long line of what are considered to be Bluth’s bad films, a trend that won’t let up until considerably later in the decade.

Now let me preface this entry by saying that just because I grew up around this movie doesn’t mean that I have nostalgia for it. No sir. This is one of those films that I was subjected to ad nauseum while in day care because the lady taking care of us couldn’t be bothered to get new tapes. I actually think I have anti-nostalgia for it, a curious sensation of being irrationally angered whenever anything that looks like a kitten in a Davy Crockett outfit wanders into view (see the sound that makes you punch infants for a similar idea).

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Rock-A-Doodle is Don Bluth’s fifth movie, and the story of a rooster called Chanticleer (French for “rooster,” though not the most obvious name for a country-western protagonist voiced by Glen Campbell). Chanticleer’s job is to crow and wake the sun, but one day, Chanticleer is driven to distraction by a fight and the sun rises without him. Naturally, everyone thinks he’s a fraud and laughs him off the farm. What they didn’t know is that the sun went back to bed after checking on the fight, and now the sun won’t rise until they find Chanticleer or they punish the mosquito.

And if you ever come back, we'll kill ya!
The movie then totally Tarantino’s us by revealing that this whole setup is actually a bedtime story being read to an insufferable snot rag named Edmund, who the movie will spend the next 75 minutes trying to convince us is cute. Edmund’s mother is called away to help deal with the torrential rain plaguing their farm when he gets a bright idea: the rain will stop if he can find Chanticleer! He goes to the window and calls for Chanticleer, not realizing that a) Chanticleer is a storybook character and b) he’s probably not near enough to hear Edmund calling him anyway, what with being evicted and all.

No matter. The Grand Duke of Owls (Christopher Plummer, in what is surely not the brightest moment of his career) turns up to inform the (live action) Edmund that the (animated) Chanticleer will never return, and then turns Edmund into a (animated) kitten under the pretense of wanting to eat him. Just then (boy, this write-up is taking a while to get off the ground), a dog named Patou jumps in and acts as a diversion, giving Edmund time to drive the owl away with a flashlight (wuss).

Beware of those hearts, stars, and rainbows, clover and balloons...
The rest of the movie is spent looking for Chanticleer in “The City” while the animals back on the farm do their best to not get eaten. The story is kinda strange, and though I don’t think it’s as bad as it could be, I did think it was a bit redundant to have Patou act as the narrator throughout the movie (“She was falling in love for real,” he says right before another character and Chanticleer sing a love ballad together).

There were a few odd points for me, though. I’ve always been hung up on the sun not coming up for a while, and people flat-out not noticing. Does it stay night the entire duration Chanticleer’s gone, or is it just overcast the whole time? Where are the farm characters in relation to Edmund’s mom and brothers? Even without looking into it this far, the film has a few odd narrative choices, such as the aforementioned redundant narrator, and not one but two iron helps us play moments.

Where the movie starts going tits-up for me is with the introduction of Edmund. As I not-so-subtly hinted at above, I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE THIS CHARACTER. I loathe his woe-is-me-I’m-too-little attitude, cringe at the way his face is animated, and, above all, HATE THE SOUND OF HIS VOICE. Remember in the last entry how Jordyn made the distinction between sweetly annoying and annoyingly sweet? This kid’s just annoying; he does just about everything wrong that Judith Barsil did right in crafting a sympathetic child character.

You’d think with an unlikable protagonist, the movie would throw us some slack in the way of interesting supporting characters. You’d be dead wrong. Here is a movie that, among other things, has the dubious honor of having TWO Jar Jar’s. The first is Snipes, a magpie voiced by Eddie Deezen (whom you may have heard as Mandark from “Dexter’s Laboratory”), a character who is loud, obnoxious, and contributes nothing to the story. Literally, nothing. He doesn’t have a pivotal moment where his annoyingness results in a positive moment for our heroes (even Jar Jar destroyed some battle droids on accident), and is basically dead, detestable weight throughout the whole movie.

The second is the Charles Nelson Riley-voiced Hunch, who by now is two-for-two on annoying villain sidekicks. Maybe CNR didn’t think that Killer from All Dogs was obnoxious enough, because Punch is one of those hyper-incompetent minions who can’t help but make large, loud, exaggerated movements before being arbitrarily maimed. He also has the “funny” character tick where he constantly is mumbling words that end in “-ation” under his breath. Charming.

Many of the other characters fall flat as well. Peepers, a bespectacled, lisping mouse is the stereotypical “smart” character, but she doesn’t contribute much besides acting smug and calling Edmund a “ ‘fraidy cat” (there’s also some weird, inter-species sexual tension between the two, which Jordyn may or may not get into). Patou, who is voiced by The Jungle Book’s Phil Harris, is probably the best of the bunch, but he’s given a running gag about how he can’t tie his shoes that sort of gets in the way of his character. And the less said about Goldie and her pseudo-Lina Lamont persona, the better.

Thrown on this bunch of woeful character-excuses is an absolute s@$#-storm of awful songs. You know those parodies of animated musicals where people sing tunelessly about very banal and mundane things? That’s this movie. In particular, I was miffed by the Bouncer’s Song (which lasted all of 15 seconds and consisted primarily of the word “bounce”) and Twittley Dee (which is also about eight bars long and tuneless). With the exception of two Chanticleer songs (and your mileage may vary depending on your affection for country western and Elvis), the music is uniformly terrible.

An Oscar bait song if there ever was one.
Not all is awful, though. The movie looks pretty good; it’s clear that Bluth had gotten a handle on his style by this time, and everything looks reasonably clean and well-drawn. Even the water effects, which usually irk me in these movies, look about as good as they can, and there are some fancy tricks throughout, like a bit with reflections on a window. In particular, there’s a tornado at the very end of the movie that’s fairly impressive, and the live action/animation transition that happens at the beginning is kinda neat.

Maybe he hasn't lost his animation touch yet.
In all, this movie is technically sound on many levels, but is spoiled by bad writing, awful characters, and terrible songs. Plus, it just gets me riled up. Good animated movies are pretty transcendent of age, but bad ones just get under your skin in ways I can’t adequately describe. I’m sure there are worse movies in the canon (from everything I’ve heard about Troll, anyway), but I think this is the movie that just pisses me off the most.

Jordyn's Comments
All right! Half way through! Unlike the four previous films in our little self-imposed journey, this one was actually a part of my childhood. (I know, I know. Let’s break out the Santana champ.) I don’t have specific memories of actually watching the blessed thing, but my cousin Raymond and I would sing “Rock-a-Doooo-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODLE!!!” into running electric fans whenever possible. (Try it. It sounds awesome.)

So through this family bonding I had fond, nostalgic memories associated with this film and I was actually looking forward to watching the damn thing. Nonetheless, even my low level of nostalgia could not change the fact that this movie is, indeed, shit. Like so many other wayward souls, I actually thought this movie would be enjoyable just because it was once upon a time.

Andrew (just because he went first…but not for much longer, bitch!) pretty much covered the basics of Rock-a-Doodle’s all encompassing awfulness and now I am here to nitpick. So, I’ll start with what I know best: sub-par, tacked on romantic plotlines.

As you know, Chanticleer, the manliest cock this side of the road (heh, cock) is dejected by all his friends on the farm for not making the sun rise, and then takes his talents elsewhere and become the animal kingdom’s Elvis. Chanticleer finds it lonely at the top and wants someone to love him tender at night. He bitches to Pinky, his manager, who comes up with a plan.

Enter Goldie, one of the worst love interests to ever grace celluloid, animated or otherwise. She is one of Pinky’s chorus girls, seethingly jealous of Chanticleer’s fame. Pinky somehow bribes her to pretend to fall in love with the King and keep him “happy” and away from Edmund. She performs an impromptu duet with him and then IN THE VERY NEXT SCENE, the two end up “kissin’ and cooin’” on a giant couch swing. And as Patou narrates to us, “Goldie was only supposed to pretend fall in love with Chanticleer, but she was falling in love with him for real.”

Drink your f%$@ing milk!!
I know this movie is already full of conflict what with the sun not rising, and the Great Flood coming, and the Grand Duke twirling is moustache, and Edmund and the gang relentlessly searching for Chanticleer, and Chanticleer’s self loathing and doubt, but would it be too much to ask for an actual romantic plotline? Could we maybe show Goldie falling for Chanticleer? Could we see her struggle maybe? Why does she do it too, other than him being handsome, famous, talented, and richer than God?

I really hate Goldie. Just as Chanticleer is a caricature of Elvis, Goldie is one of Marilyn Monroe: sexy, soft spoken, ditzy, and gold digging. But at least Marilyn brought some heart and humor to her characters. Goldie is just plain irritating. She represents everything that is wrong with “sexy animated heroines”. As extreme as Jessica Rabbit is, at least we can admire her for liking a goofy ass bunny instead of a super hunk with shoulders wider than a goal post. There's that whole "opposites attract" thing going on there. But the Chanticleer-Goldie romance is too easy, like all of Bluth's romances.

However, there is a brief little moment where he's pissed at her for keeping the fact that Edmund and et al are trying to find him. But through the gratuitous chase scene this is forgotten and the two end up living happily ever after on the farm. (What happened to your career, Goldie??)

Oh God, does this movie have faults but for my own sanity, I must not write about them. Andrew covered it anyway and I won’t doubly bitch. Instead I will lodge my complaints in list form.

1. The similarity of Fievel and Edmund’s floppy hats and dopey sleeves.

2. This wildly inappropriate flying phallus. (It’s even pink for Christ’s sakes!)

3. Any time Snipes eats.

4. Any time Patou narrates.

5. Or fusses with his shoe laces.

It's not all bad though. Personally, I enjoy those "Iron Helps Us Play" moments when a character is completely downtrodden and they hear snippets of previously recited dialogue to perk them up and get the job done. This movie has two which might be over kill to some, but then again the movie has two heroes, both dealing with a lack of confidence. Sometimes the only way to gain strength is repeat the positive (and sometimes negative) things others have said.

"After all...tomorrow is another day!"
The quality drop in Bluth’s films is definitely apparent by now. Even his fans can recognize this. I wanted to say something in my All Dogs Go to Heaven review simply because we went from super smart lab rats to Jewish emigrating mice to orphaned dinosaurs to zombie dogs. One of these things is not like the other in tone. But I figured this argument was best saved for Rock-a-Doodle since it’s the biggest mindfuck (so far).

It feels like Don Bluth was off his rocker a bit by now. Disney had kicked his ass at the box office in the All Dogs Go to Heaven vs. The Little Mermaid box office death match. Once he had seen The Rescuers Down Under in all its CAPS glory and heard that the next animated feature was an adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast", I can only assume he said “What the fuck?” and threw in the towel.

They're coming to take him away...
"Sun Do Shine" - Glen Campbell (Chanticleer)
"We Hate the Sun" - Christopher Plummer (Grand Duke)
"Come Back to You" - Glen Campbell
"Rock-A-Doodle" - Glen Campbell
"Bouncers' Theme Song" - Chorus
"Tweedle Te Dee" - Christopher Plummer
"Treasure Hunting Fever" - Glen Campbell
"Sink or Swim" - Ellen Greene (Goldie)
"Kiss n' Coo" - Glen Campbell and Ellen Greene
"Back to the Country" - Glen Campbell
"The Owls' Picnic" - Christoper Plummer
"Tyin' Your Shoes" - Phil Harris (Patou)

P.S. One final note: Rock-a-Doodle was released on DVD back in the early 2000's but has since gone out of print. Even the VHS Andrew and I rented from the video store was bootleg with a Xeroxed label taped on. It's ironic how this awful film is in such high demand and that a used DVD version on Amazon goes for $30. I guess Nostalgia is a crazy bitch goddess. Fear not, dear readers, for the whole thing is viewable on Youtube!