This may be one of the longer feeling 73 minutes that I have had for a while. No this isn’t an exaggeration, this is the ninth film in the Disney canon: Fun and Fancy Free. Continuing the trend of package films, Fun and Fancy Free consists of two shorts with a framing narrative. What makes these interesting, historically speaking that is, is that both of these would have likely been feature length films in their own right… until the U.S. government came on board and directed a lot of Disney’s personnel to start making propaganda.
Now, I’m not sure if this is the weakness of the stories themselves or how they were cannibalised to make these shorts, but both of these feel as if they could have been unmitigated disasters had the U.S. government not intervened. Then again, if these had been full length films the second short would not have had that bloody awful framing narrative of a grown man holding a cake party for a small neighbour girl whilst showing off his ventriloquist dolls. Honestly, it all felt a little bit ‘local neighbourhood child molester’ to me.
It’s also interesting that it was Disney himself that felt these stories weren’t worth saving for a larger feature (unlike Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, which were already in pre-production) – so rather than waste the work they made Fun and Fancy Free. However, in the end, this whole film feels like that – an utter waste that is now making me feel a bit uncertain about Melody Time (one of the few Disney films I am yet to see).
I think it’s going to take a lot for there to be a worse Disney film that this one. Not only did it commit the cardinal sin of boring me, but the whole ‘showing your love with a slap’ shtick in the first story is extremely questionable. Like – for a family friendly film, is that the right message to be sending to small children? To slap their crush in the face? Ugh I just want the next film to be Cinderella.