Posts Tagged ‘June Foray’

Daffy Duck’s Movie: Fantastic Island

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

August 5, 1983

When I do these summer movie retrospectives there’s usually an animated feature or two. I like that because if they’re a classic it’s a good excuse to write about them, and if they’re not it’s a good excuse to watch them. That can be painful, but I find the airballs pretty interesting, because so much loving craft still had to go into them in those days. I enjoyed reviewing ROCK-A-DOODLE, ROVER DANGERFIELD, FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAIN FOREST, TITAN A.E., and FREDDIE AS F.R.O.7, for example.

Most of those were from a weird time when Disney had become so successful it encouraged other studios to take a swing at the animated feature game, with mixed results. But the early ‘80s were that other weird time, the one when Disney had been so far out of the game that it left room for other people to try something different. For example the weird-ass Canadian sci-fi talking animal musical ROCK & RULE came out in April of ’83, and the George Lucas produced cut out animation movie TWICE UPON A TIME came out on August 1st. But I’ve already written about those, so today I’m here to discuss some of their competition. DAFFY DUCK’S MOVIE: FANTASTIC ISLAND was directed by animation legends Friz Freleng and Phil Monroe, which may sound promising, but this is what they call a “compilation film,” or in TV terms, a “clip show.” The new animation is just a framing device for edited down versions of ten classic Looney Tunes shorts. (read the rest of this shit…)

Boris and Natasha

Monday, May 23rd, 2022

BORIS AND NATASHA, a.k.a. BORIS AND NATASHA: THE MOVIE, went straight to Showtime, but I’m counting it as a Weird Summer movie because it first aired on April 17, 1992, and presumably kept playing in subsequent months. And yes, it’s a live action movie centered on the villainous spy characters from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, which is a pretty weird idea.

That beloved Jay Ward cartoon was 30+ years in the past at the time, but still showing in reruns. I know I watched it in the ‘80s. I remember having a t-shirt with Rocky and Bullwinkle parodying the ENDLESS SUMMER poster, even though I didn’t know what that was. It was a great show, so I’m not complaining, but my parents’ generation gave us their nostalgia as hand-me-downs, and we took it. I had Gumby shirts too. I never got Showtime, though, so I never saw BORIS AND NATASHA: THE MOVIE, and couldn’t exactly picture how you’d make a movie about them.

Actually it’s not a terrible comedy premise: what if Boris and Natasha were given a mission where they had to pretend to defect to the U.S., but then they started to like being American? This isn’t as common anymore, but they used to make these movies based on old TV shows but with some high concept way to set it in the modern world. They did it for DRAGNET and after this THE BRADY BUNCH and FAT ALBERT and much later 21 JUMP STREET. CONEHEADS was another one that actually has a premise pretty similar to this one.

Wait – isn’t that kind of what The Americans is about too? Is The Americans a remake of BORIS AND NATASHA: THE MOVIE? (read the rest of this shit…)


Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

June 19, 1998

MULAN is the Disney animated feature of summer ’98. It’s another Broadway-style musical loosely based on an old tale, in this case the legend of Chinese warrior Hua Mulan, as described in The Ballad of Mulan. Fa Mulan – voiced by Ming-Na Wen (STREET FIGHTER), singing voice Lea Salonga (NINJA KIDS) – is a young woman in Han dynasty China in the midst of training to be a great warrior. Oh, whoops, that’s a typo – in the midst of training to be a great wife. She gets all painted up and tries to walk in confining clothes and know all the etiquette for tea drinking and what not. But she’s not up to it, even has to write notes on her hand before a test, and completely fucks it up.

Luckily there is another option. The Huns are invading and every family must provide a man or boy to fight in the army. The only male in her family is her dad Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh, STEELE JUSTICE, DEATH WISH 4), a war vet who is all for going again but he’s an old man who can barely walk and she’s sure he’s gonna get fuckin killed in like two seconds so at night she steals his armor and conscription notice and runs off to pretend to be a dude and fight in the army on his behalf.

Which she’s actually worse at than being feminine. There’s lots of, you know, humor about how she says something in a normal voice and then says “er, I mean” and repeats it in a not even remotely convincing fake-masculine voice. She starts to pick up other things like to spit and do gross things to be accepted as a man. It’s like JUST ONE OF THE GUYS I guess but when they see her boobs it’s off screen. (read the rest of this shit…)