Random semiconscious musings

Monday, September 01, 2008

Revisiting the Future

I've been on a binge lately. I've been indulging in watching exceptionally bad cartoons.

Call it an absurd curiosity if you will, but my focus is not to view these to see how bad the cartoon really is, but it's more like examining the thought process of what the person who created it might be thinking when they believed what they were doing would actually be considered funny.

This is a problem with many films these days- even as open-minded as I can be, there are just some things out there in the entertainment venue where no matter what angle I try to understand the creation / execution process, the final result just plain stinks.... even the most uncultured person still wouldn't find these funny (like any film featuring Ben Stiller or Will Ferrell, which are just plain embarrassing...).

So this takes me to today's post.

I admire Chuck Jones and the huge contributions he gave to the animation industry. He's a man that you can look back at his animation career and pretty much try to understand where he was mentally during each phase of his lifetime achievements...
the Pre-Disney days,
the "I wanna be like Disney" days,
the "I wanna be anything but Disney" days,
the "I've got lots of great ideas" phase,
the "but I want Tom and Jerry to be more refined and emphatic" phase,
the "I'm much more creative than you're making me out to be" phase,
the "I'm ready to sell out" phase... you get the picture.

Even up to his final creations, Jones' cartoons are at best watchable. At times he reminds me of a frustrated artist trying to evoke some response to his work but just never hitting the mark, so he tries again using the same tools and character devices in a repeated process. He gets very close with many of his fantastic directions.... but then there's still a sign of unsatisfaction and the next production ensues.

The following film is an example of Jones' fondness for his creations. Even though it's not all that funny in itself, or fast-moving, or even spectacular in its execution, I can't help but watching it through and comparing Jones to a elderly man taking out a box of his toys that he so enjoyed as a child and fondly revisiting memories while playing with them again. He presents them all with a kind and thoughtful manner- not self-effacing them by killing them off or adding exceptionally unbearable violence to them (kind of like what John K did to Yogi Bear). (The only questionable part is the scene where Daffy turns on his eager young space cadet... bad jokes warrant killing him? And it's done in such a slow, unusual pace, too- we can hardly tell Daffy is even angry).

And so Jones revists the future.... and goes from the 24 1/2 century to the return of the 24 1/2 century.

This is the full version of this cartoon, 9 1/2 minutes long. I understand it's hard to come by with every scene intact, so I hope you all enjoy it.... and maybe keep in mind that although it's not a real knee-slapper, you can apply some of your appreciation and fondness for the first cartoon and its characters which still holds up so many years after its original debut.