Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Human Side of Vermin

Mice, rats, dragonflies, crickets, lightning bugs, ants, rabbits ... all vermin, and all, 'cordin' to Walt Disney Studios, "instant classics." Sorry. Uncle Ben's Minute Rice is an instant classic.

You see Disney at its most egregious when it fails to slam the dunk; e.g., Ratatouille is a good recent example of how you can't turn a So-Poor joke into cuddly fun for the whole family. Rats are not heroes.

Anyway, Roger Ebert has nearly expired in another fit of ecstatic animation over Disney's latest Grimm rehash with ensemble characters (the bug, the alligator, et al.) who haven't worked since Rescuers or Jungle Book strangling on English as a second language and trying hard to pull off a switcheroo that hasn't been surprising since Herb Philbrick's three lives. Face it, cel animation is so expensive even anime is farmed out to 'tweener sweat shops in Canton, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, an unfortunate bit of economics that means Disney still can't afford expensive discardables like original story or screenplay.

And it shows. We knew it in our bones. We wore the death of Fantasyland like a coonskin cap two generations ago. Even those hyper-orange oranges with the Disney-Pixar label on are spray waxed; the faux comestibles industry is cheaper than core competency.

Yeah, I know, the voices tell me this makes me a sociopathic American lotus eater who should get a life, a charge I vigorously deny. The Economy Stupid retired me to Social Security two years too early, so I'm just bitter on the inside, like a quinine bon-bon. My family has kept me sane so far... that, and the tin foil in my cap ;-)



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