Bill Plymtons:Tune, the
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Only a handful of independent animators have ever attempted a feature-length film, and it's regrettable that Bill Plympton's first effort isn't more successful. His extremely limited style of animation--he uses about one-third fewer drawings than Saturday morning kidvid shows--worked for his short films, but it simply can't sustain an audience's interest for more than an hour. The limits of the visuals might be less noticeable if the story were more interesting. Del, an aspiring songwriter, needs to come up with a hit in a hurry, so he can marry Didi, a secretary at Mega Music. He visits the weird town of Flooby Nooby where he hears people singing various songs--which he takes and passes off as own. At times, Plympton seems to be trying for the upbeat tone of the old Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musicals, but those films about "amateurs" relied on very talented professional performers and songwriters. The songs in The Tune range from amateurish pastiches to utter doggerel. Watching The Tune is only slightly more entertaining than spending 69 minutes in a sensory deprivation tank. --Charles Solomon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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For the most part "The Tune seems to be a collection of Bill Plympton's shorter animations strung together with the aid of a thin storyline. The story is a sweet one, of love and what it means to give someone a song. But the main character is a little cloying, and it's hard to care much about what happens to him and his girl. That being said, the peripheral characters, who star in the musical numbers, are much more interesting. The animations are outstanding and easily stand on their own. They seem to have been done at different times, in different styles, and it seems like not all these bits were aware they were gonna become a part of this movie. As a result each has a slightly different look, and color palette, which adds to the interest of the film.
Plympton's signature pencil sketch style is jumpy, wierd, disorienting and hilarious. Heads fold in half, split in two, and turn inside out. Characters morph into representations of the lyrics while they sing. The Wiseman's bald head grows funny hats by the dozens while a twangy countrified guitar does speed-solos. Serious tango partners share dumb jokes.
Each scene (for the most part) is based on a song, and the music is very catchy. I bought the soundtrack and still sing "Isn't It Good Again" and "Dance All Day" to myself frequently.
This is not your standard animated movie. It's intended audience is adults, though it's certainly not "dirty" and kids could enjoy most sections of this. At most, sex is hinted at, as when a hotdog enthusiastically leaps into a hotdog bun. Pretty obvious, and amusing, but at the same time fairly innocuous. Also, we get to see a moment of naked animated bums at the end of "Dance All Day." Nothing your average kid can't handle.
In fullscreen, about an hour long. Regrettably, the sound is slightly muddy, and like most of Plmyptons releases, it's short on special features (there are none) and DVD production values aren't the highest. But this flick is certainly worth seeing on it's own merits.
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