Many ages ago, when this ancient planet was not quite so ancient...
there was an animated movie. Not a nasty, dirty educational film, nor a dry, boring documentary. It was an animated fantasy and that meant GREAT TIMES for kids!
To this day, The Hobbit
is my all-time favorite movie, and I play it just to have in the background (much to my wife's chagrin). As soon as I hear the strumming introduction or the trilling notes of "The Greatest Adventure" it makes me happy and sad. Happy because I love it so, and yet sad because in many ways it represents the end of an age for me personally; the end of childhood and forcible entry into the blah world of grown-ups. Bah!
I did not write this article for treasure alone...I mean only for The Hobbit
. There's also The Secret of Nimh
, The Last Unicorn
, Watership Down
, and an Honorable Mention for Jack and the Beanstalk
which appeared on HBO in 1974 and beyond. These are my favorites and if you haven't seen 'em, you oughtta!
Quick side note: Flight of Dragons
is covered with awesomesauce but I only have it on VHS so I am saving it for a second article. Likewise, Mouse and His Child
can only be adequately described by taking your audience and making them watch it. Alas, it hasn't made its way to DVD and I cannot wait to get my eyes on a copy. Please contact me with any info.
This is an Interactive, Scratch 'n' Sniff, 3-D article with Kung-Fu Grip(tm). In the comments be sure to tell us what is your favorite animated fantasy...and if you're younger than me, have no fear, you can have a favorite from any era!
Now on to the show (naked lady to follow, I promise).The Hobbit
The greatest adventure has to begin somewhere, so why not with a tea party?
This epic tale is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings smash hit movie phenom. It has it all: an unlikely, reluctant hero, wizard, dragon, dwarves, elves and assorted monsters. Poor Bilbo goes from his comfy hobbit hole (that's not dirty, you sicko!) to being captured by trolls, goblins, spiders, elves, and barrels. His humble and curious nature along with some hardcore determination see him through to the end.
Dwarves--apparently--are delicious. I conclude this from the fact that at every turn someone or something was trying to eat them. Trolls? Check. Goblins? Check. Spiders? Check. Smaug the Dragon? Check. The elves don't count because we all know they are vegetarians. Gollum tried to eat Bilbo, but since he never ran into a dwarf we can only assume that he was dying to tuck into their bearded organs.Jack and the Beanstalk
DVD Menu Screen
Yes, she plans to eat him too!
This movie messes with my mind. It came out in 1974 and I think HBO played it to death, which was fine with me and drove my parents crazy. I have a hazy recollection of my dad being both amazed and annoyed that even though I'd seen it 4.3 zillion times I would practically cry if he made me change the channel.
The story is pretty straightforward: boy gets suckered into trading his cow for "magic" beans, that really are magic! There's a castle, a giant, a princess under a spell, some cute mice (who are really people) and a faithful dog. Like The Hobbit
, this movie has loads of music that as a kid you love, but as an adult you say, "Why did I like this song?" Thanks to the rose-colored glasses (and ears) of youth, I will always love these songs, including "No One's Happier Than I."
No naked lady here, but keep reading!The Secret of Nimh
Mrs. Brizby and her old coot friend.
Yes the book is better than the movie, but the movie totally rocks! Intelligent rats that live in a rosebush and a single-mom mouse who has to move her cinder block house before a tractor runs over her pneumoniac son. She gets help from a love-sick crow, a crotchety old mouse and Justin the handsome nice rat. She dares death to poison an evil cat (it only puts him to sleep), and goes to see The Great Owl. What a brave mouse! In the end there is an awesome sword fight and someone gets squished. Even more importantly, you find out how the rats got smart in the first place and what happened to Mrs. Brizby's deceased husband.The Last Unicorn
The Last Unicorn with her butterfly friend.
At last---a naked lady! But she's really a unicorn.
This movie will make you cry. You simply have no choice. The music, the tone, the storyline, the tragic and lonely characters...it all adds up to a snot-fest for one. Now guys, don't turn away. There's also an evil witch who holds the nastiest harpy ever as a captive in her (mostly phony) freak show circus. A talking skeleton, the monstrous red bull, and an evil old king all add up to a great adventure. Not the greatest, but a good one. Oh and guys you can totally score points with the ladies by watching it with them.Watership Down
Talking rabbits you say? Yes, it does sound weird but it actually works. It helps that these rabbits are violent and kill each other in their quest to find a safe place to live. This is another sad one. What is the deal with these sad cartoons? Are all beloved children's stories tear-jerkers? Don't even get me started on Charlotte's Web!
Well that's all folks! I hope you enjoyed the ride down memory lane. Next time we will take the Great Space Coaster back to 1955. If we play our cards right we can change history so that Dick Cheney will never be born and we won't have to grow up. Don't forget to tell us about YOUR favorite in the comments.
May the hair on your toes never fall out.