Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Joe Riley and the Song of the South

This fine banner dedicated to Joe Riley was pinched from the very fine Chickenshoot blog of DNA animator Deanna Molinaro - mmmm, spicy!

So Joe was the true spirit of art and creativity that those of us that call ourselves creative, aspire to achieve. We all miss the big guy and the art world of bad sci-fi and great comics is diminished.

On a lighter note, I finally scored a copy of Disney's Song of the South. I have been wanting to see this film in it's entirety since I was six. YouTube has some clips but it's not the same. This is a dub of a laserdisc or something because Disney won't never release this feature on DVD because Disney's afraid that it will offend somebody's fragile sensibilities or be called on racism. Now, being total white bread cracker myself, I can't say anything but the story is very good, the animation is top-notch and the moral is Stories Matter.

The ironic thing is Disney is suppressing a great story like this because they think the story is hurtful. How can it be hurtful if it's kept people laughing for so long? This movie is a product of it's time and I still fail to see what the fuss is about. The story takes place post-Civil War, the people working on the plantation are not slaves, Uncle Remus leaves of his own accord and no one stops him. Toby is encouraged to play with Johnny. Some bits were odd like no closeups of singing black people and the choir of workers to the sick white boy. But the story is what brings the boy back and the parents have a better understanding of what their boy needs to be happy.

I will gladly show this film to my kids and I hope one day, Disney will see fit to release this as one of their Treasures series. Add a foreword with Morgan Freeman, Lawrence Fishburne, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Whoopie Goldberg, and Oprah Winfrey. Anything to tell the rest of mainstream America this film is not the Third Rail of home entertainment. Joe Riley would agree with me.

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