Friday, January 29, 2016

Big Fish (2003) / The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

Big Fish

I didn't get what point the movie was trying to make about the town of Spectre. When Ewan McGregor stubbles upon it as a young man, it gave off creepy, Stepford vibes: everything was neat, the grass was impossibly green, and everyone was so gosh-darn nice and didn't want anyone to leave EVER. In short, it's Tim Burton's vision of 50s small town Americana, creepified. But when McGregor returns many years later, and the town has become this rubble of a place, our hero makes it his mission to restore it to its former glory. So wait, was this Twilight Zoney patch of continual smiles and perpetual bare feet supposed to a sort of paradise? Is the movie not critiquing, but actually basking in whitewashed nostalgic small town values that never were?

The Reluctant Dragon

And speaking of smiling faces, this piece of Disney propaganda is full of 'em. So many grinning workers in the Disney studios, from drawing classes to model making to animation. The gosh-darn chipperness is helped by having most of the speaking "employees" be played by actors (including a technicolor Alan Ladd!!). Have to wonder how Francis Gilford felt, as she guided Robert Benchley through the woman populated color labs,  when the comedian continually found ways of commenting on her attractiveness.

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