Baseball Bugs

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

The gag is the beginning and the end in these pictures, and everything in between. Jokes, and more jokes. When the jokes are good, as they so very often are, then we have one of film’s most felicitous perfections, where their ingratiatingly awesome technique meets our sociability and joyful desires right in the very sweetest spot.

At one point Bug pitches like a flip book, which is to say that Freleng and friends give us a little demonstration in animation. Lots of cartoon physics here, which is to say that they very aggressively jeopardize verisimilitude and plausibility. The methods that enable them to do this are always in the foreground. Or, in other words, they engage in direct address even when they’re not talking to us directly.

That chasing the fly ball sequence that concludes the picture is very good. Again, gravity and the passage of time and all of their strictures are just plain eliminated. This kind of thing could well constitute a child’s fantasy, or projection of desire. It’s a stylized, enhanced version of the Ptolemaic order, which is that I perceive that am the centre of Creation (even though I’m really not). It’s narcissism, but it’s not at all morbid. Yet. For now, in the company of these beautiful filmmakers, and with our loved ones alongside, it’s simply a gift of delight.