Toot, Whistle, Plunk & Boom

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 28, 2015

At some point—right here, probably—Walt or the corporation entire went from anarchy through corporate expansion to becoming arbiters of taste and instructors of the world’s youth. That might not be so bad—didn’t Roberto Rossellini describe a similar trajectory? And the educational films that resulted are like nothing else in all of film history. Conceptual, curricular rigour, technique that was stripped-down unto severity, leading for those who stayed the course to a paradoxical abundance and even exaltation.

Look at me, getting carried away. Thing is, Disney isn’t Rossellini, or maybe to be more fair, American commercial television isn’t at all the same as state-subsidized public airways. Whatever the causes, films like this are problematical. Too much strain, too pandering to presumed attention deficits, too square. This is good to know, and cartoons can be crazy, but putting crazy and duty together, at the same time, doesn’t always work very well.