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Friday, February 24, 2012

Disneyear: The Three Caballeros (1945)

Continuing the tradition of what Saludos Amigos did, Disney made a second film to show that the Good Neighbor Policy was still in effect. Thankfully, it looks like they realized the faults of Saludos and improved on it. There's more story, better entertainment, and really good live action/animation mixing in The Three Caballeros, making it not only more well-known to the public, but also regarded as a classic in some people's eyes. For Disney's first sequel, is it the best? Let's take a look.

The start of the movie shows Donald Duck getting three birthday gifts from fans and friends from South America. The first gift is a film reel and projector shows us different birds from South America, like parrots and the infamous Araquan bird. We also get two short stories. The first is about a penguin named Pablo who wants to leave Antarctica for warmer climates. The other is about a boy who finds a flying burro and enters him in a race. Both are really cute and more memorable than most of the shorts from the last movie (You know the one I mean!). Then Donald opens his present from Brazil and Jose Carioca returns to give Donald a tour of Bahia and slow the pace down for a bit. They dance for a bit with Aurora Miranda and then return to where we started. The third gift is from Mexico and we get introduced to a new character named Panchito Pistoles (rooster, Doug Walker! ROOSTER!). The three of them have fun, sing, dance some more, and then take a look at Mexico. Then the last third is Donald trying to score with the ladies (insert Beavis and Butt-head joke here.) Then they have more fun, fight a fake bull, and... that's where it ends.

Like I said earlier, this movie is better in that there's more passion thrown into it. The animation's a lot of fun, the stories are more memorable, the music's just as good and you still get some culture out of it. That's always good. In fact, this whole movie is like a party. But that's also what's wrong with it. Don't get me wrong, the first two thirds are fun, but after that, you kind of want to go and watch something else. After seeing people dance around for most of the flick, it gets boring fast. Also, that last third is such a mind-fuck! It's Donald trying to get a girl to make out with him mixed with some trippy imagery, which begs the question whatever happened to Daisy? There's also the fact that when they try to tell the stories, it's not that well stitched together. The movie jumps around from stories to fun to being educational to back to fun and it's kind of a messy presentation. In fact, the shorts are probably best on their own instead of all together, like they used to do on the Disney Channel.

Still, the designs have moments of greatness
That said, The Three Caballeros is still a decent movie to watch. The animation is really colorful and bouncy. The live action-mixing is done really well too and it's the first time that Disney did this since the Alice Comedies. My personal favorite scene is when Donald, Jose, and Panchito sing the title song. Really look at the pacing and timing of this scene! They move so fast that they practically leap off the screen! It's incredible!

So overall, this is a movie to watch on a rainy day. The storytelling is kind of jumbled and gets boring after the last third, but the animation, culture, music, and designs are the only consistent good things about it. Maybe if it had more focus, a lack of focus, or something consistent all the way, it'd be stronger. As is, it's okay. There's other Disney films out there that tell stories better and with better animation, so I'd recommend those. But if you're curious enough, The Three Caballeros has it's moments of greatness. Take it for what it's worth.

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