Dr. Toon: Make Mine Music Critique Revisited
Still, it's hard to sink a Disney film: "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met" (A vocal tour de force by Nelson Eddy) is a masterpiece of musical fantasy and brilliantly shines among the other mediocrities in the feature. This is probably because the story is not tied to any particular time or era and could have taken place in 2010. The undeniable energy and synergistic magic between Benny Goodman's orchestra and the Disney animators make "After You've Gone" a timeless treat. Much the same can be said for "All the Cats Join In." Despite the fact that the short would be dated in just a few years by the advent of rock and roll, the action is frenetic and the animation wonderfully expressive given the limited character designs.
During one scene of "All the Cats Join In," the malt shop is invaded by a raccoon-coated, ukulele-strumming Jazz Age teen adding his best Bo-De-Do-Do to the proceedings. The "cats" give him the bum's rush out the door to the accompaniment of laughter and cheering on the sound track. Today those same "cats" would have been shown the same door by a succession of Beats, Hippies, Yuppies, GenXers, Grungers and GenGreens. Such is the nature of a cyber-nation continually speeding up the play of cultural forces, and this is where I reconsider my stance. To critique Make Mine Music harshly in terms of its artistic content is my prerogative as a critic. To pan Make Mine Music for being outdated is accurate but unfair, and I apologize to readers of the Animated Movie Guide for that. If I am employed by Jerry for a future edition, I will make that clear, and may Dinah Shore forgive me.
It was once said by a disgruntled ex-Disney employee that Walt had the innate bad taste of the American public. That is, upon examination, an unfair and derogatory statement. Taste now fluctuates at an amazingly rapid pace. One example is the ascendancy of Katie Perry, who has supplanted Lady Gaga as the female fireball of the moment, and by next year will be passé. Highbrow and lowbrow culture has always co-existed in America, and if it seems that lowbrow culture always has the upper- hand, not so. It is simply louder and more media-driven than its more cultured counterpart, and its turnover rate is faster. The Kardashians, currently media goddesses, will be answers to trivia questions mere months from now. CG- animated/3-D films pour into theaters in buckets of multicolored pixels, but how many of these will be immortal classics?
Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman is a longtime student and fan of animation. He lives in Anderson, Indiana.