This was one of those Disney films that people either pretend didn’t exist or they literally just don’t know about it. Well — let’s find out if it’s one or both. Number six:
MAKE MINE MUSIC
Just some background: Make Mine Music was released in 1946, so it would appear that Disney had decided to (finally) take a few years’ break. This movie works much like Fantasia, only…It also doesn’t. There are 10 different short skits in this one, but with each skit, comes a different orchestra and set of instruments. In fact, there are so many people and musicians featured in this movie, I don’t think I dare list them.
With this in mind, the story itself, as a whole, overarching movie, is not very consistent. At least Fantasia always offered us the interrupting Deems Taylor, all that we see that connects all of the slightly ridiculous skits together is music and the continuous promise of another skit. Until, of course, the last skit, to which I was surprised had been the last. There wasn’t much indication that it would be, after all. But, just as the skits themselves are lacking in connection, the music is as well, adding to the confusion in consistency. Some of the skits seemed to feature more music than others, while most had an annoying narrator speaking throughout the entire skit. But we’ll go more into this later. The disjointedness of the whole film came across, to me, as a compilation of Looney Tunes’ skits instead of Disney animated ones.
(Again — we’ll skip character development because there are too many to count and not enough time to develop them all.)
—ANIMATION AND MUSIC—
One would think that, if there were good things, they would all exist here. Unfortunately, even with its’ title, the film still fell a tad short in this category. Fantasia succeeded in the sense that the skits were only told through music (and, for the millionth time, Deems Taylor). But not just any music, instrumental music. This is what saved this movie, I think. And for Make Mine Music, I was expecting the same thing. But instead of focusing on what we could do brilliantly with a set of instruments, any music at all was drowned out by narrators speaking through the entirety of almost every skit. The only skits where there were no narrators were skits with singers, and those were probably the best ones. This greatly took away from the film for me and I wasn’t able to appreciate much about the skits because of it. With this in mind, I felt like the animation had downsized quite a lot since Bambi. In Bambi, we see Disney’s sophistication and character rise by at least half, whereas in this film, it is downgraded more than that with overly silly caricatures, annoyingly intrusive narrators, and skits without much depth. The animation itself is okay, but even that has declined since Bambi. A lot of the characters within the skits were lacking individuality and distinct features. The whole thing honestly came across as a project that was heavily rushed.
This movie reminded me a lot of Fantasia and I wondered if it was Disney’s attempt to recreate that borderline masterpiece in a different light. However, where Fantasia mostly succeeded, Make Mine Music mostly failed. Once again, Fantasia really only worked because it was a film compilation of skits being represented and told solely through music of an instrumental nature, while Make Mine Music was constantly interrupted by unnecessary dialogue, narrator intrusion, and silly animation that took away from the whole point: the beauty of music. In terms of individual plots, I personally disliked most of the skits. Even the nicer ones, like the silhouette ballad, did not really do much for me because it was so simple. Even now, the only one I think that I really enjoyed was the love story about the hats. It was quite clever, sweet, and had less of a voice over than the others. In fact, the only speaking in it was through song, which was, I feel, the whole point Disney was going for anyway. But the only others I can think of are the ones that I disliked most of all. (Which was the Peter and the Wolf rendition, if you’re curious, for its extremely obnoxious narrator, Russian appropriation, and misrepresentation of wolves, which I know at the time was not as big of a deal, but still bugs the shit out of me.)
So there you have it. One of the lesser known films made by Disney, and perhaps for good reason. Probably the best thing about this film were the featured voices in it, but that’s not saying much for Disney. Especially as the film to proceed Bambi. I’m sure he quickly learned to stick with Fantasia-like productions and his classic, animated icons after this one was produced.
OVERALL RATING: 3.5/10
What do you think?