Friday, August 19, 2005

A Goofy Movie (Lima, 1995)

So I watched A Goofy Movie ... and what a bizarre experience it was. Part of the problem is that the universe in which these characters live is really poorly defined. We've got Goofy -- who even next to characters like Donald Duck and Pluto, seemed like he was from another planet -- thrust into the role of (single) father to a teenage boy creature that has inherited Goofy's doggish appearance. This dog-boy bears a passing resemblance to Poochie, the short-lived animated character once voiced by Homer Simpson and his major issue is that he's got the hots for this female-type creature that actually looks more like a chipmunk-girl than she does a dog-girl.

Somehow the simplistic, innocent world that Goofy once inhabited in early Disney animation has now been overrun with conventional modern dramatic elements like teenage angst which fuels the central plotline. Father and son struggle to understand each other and express their love in scenes that are played about as sincerely as possible considering we are talking about animated dog-human hybrids. Yet this is also a universe in which a simple fishing trip leads to an encounter with Bigfoot. Bigfoot? Mythologies ... crossing ... brain ... confused ... Throw in pop culture references such as the inclusion of Travolta-esque dancing to "Staying Alive", musical numbers that merge cheesy 80's pop with cheesy Broadway showtunes and the fact that Goofy's personality and intelligence fluctuate wildly depending on what is needed in any given scene and you have a film that just doesn't know stylistically what it wants to be. Consequently, it falls back onto a a cliched father and son relationship, a contrived 'villain' and, most troubling of all, depictions of girls and women as nothing more than the objects of male desire.

All that I say may make A Goofy Movie sound like it could be some sort of anarchic gem. It's not. It's a muddled, ill-conceived film that attempts to handle issues faced by high schoolers with a narrative and humor aimed at the level of grade schoolers.



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