Film #9 in the Disney Animated Marathon!
Story By: Homer Brightman, Eldon Dedini, Sinclair Lewis, Lance Nolley, Tom Oreb, Harry Reeves & Ted Sears
Directed By: Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, William Morgan & Bill Roberts
I have heard the complaint that Fun & Fancy Free is nothing new from Disney. I can agree with that sentiment, and while it is a mark against the film, in the end I must ask, how much does that really matter? If you want to watch a fun heist movie, I don’t think it has to be the most original heist movie ever made. Fun & Fancy Free certainly isn’t original, but it doesn’t want to be original, it wants to be what its title implies, fun and free of fancy.
There isn’t much depth at all in Fun & Fancy Free, the two stories are as simple and barren as can be in order to maximize the fun that can be had with them. Would I have liked a little more depth? Sure, that would have been nice, but once again I don’t think depth was the goal of Fun & Fancy Free. Animated tales like WALL·E, Aladdin, The Lion King, Tonari No Totoro and many more want to give you depth along with the aforementioned fun. Fun & Fancy Free could care less about depth of story or characters, it wants to be a breezy tale and that’s exactly what it is.
There are two stories in Fun & Fancy Free, but they are both interchangeable. Obviously one will resonate more than the other, but that’s no slight on Bongo. It’s merely a fact that any story that includes Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy together on an adventure will be the highlight of the movie. I found both stories to be a lot of fun, cute in places, lighthearted throughout and enjoyable to take in. Still, I enjoyed the adventures of Mickey, Donald and Goofy more than I did the travails of Bongo, but how can any bear hope to beat the duck, the mouse, and the whatever the heck Goofy is?
Earlier I spoke of a lack of depth in Fun & Fancy Free, that isn’t true when it comes to animation. There isn’t anything revolutionary about the animation in Fun & Fancy Free, but there are areas where I felt the animation really stood out. Obviously the beanstalk was a sight to take in, but my favorite sequence by far was Bongo’s initial trek through the forest. I loved the way that the animators played with depth perception and reflection in the sky, the pond and the waterfall.
Fun & Fancy Free is a return to form for Disney after the incomplete entries that were Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros and Make Mine Music. Fun & Fancy Free isn’t a great movie, but it is a fun romp of an adventure. Just remember what the cricket says, some people like deep stories and some people like stories that are fun. I happen to like both and have more than enough time in my life for a movie that just wants to have fun. Fun & Fancy Free has the first mixed martial arts practicing bear, dude was a boxer, jiu-jitsu player and wrestler, how can you hate on that?