Don't get me wrong, the cartoon is rather patronizing and sugary cute,
but this is compensated by wonderful surrealistic images, beautiful artwork
and superb animation. (And, hey, this way of warning against sharp things
and matches just may work with small children).
The dance of the Boogie Men contains some striking use of color that
anticipates similar surreal images in Dumbo. In all,
Lullaby Land left
all competitors far behind. It is also the first of a whole series of Silly
Symphonies obsessed with little babies, and their bare behinds in particular.
So what makes this one so good? Let’s start with the main character – it’s a baby. A toddler if you want to split hairs, but the design is more of a baby. But rather than go with the overstated features and out there designs of
Old King Cole or
King Neptune, this child is designed with realistic features and proportions. It makes a huge difference.
Taking an exaggerated child and placing him in a surreal world would not have worked. By having the child be realistic and the environment around him change into fantastic visions, the animators made each of them better. And boy, did they ever come up with some amazing things in the
Everything from the moment the child falls out of a tree and lands in
Lullaby Land is absurd on a whole different level. This is somewhat new territory for the Disney crew, as most of their past films have dealt with real world situations, or fantasies established by fairy tales. This is a completely new world, developed by the animators, and it shows an amazing amount of creativity.
Here we get to see trees made of rattles or pacifiers, a parade of diapers and accessories, a room filled with sharp objects that attack each other and giant matches that spark, then turn into smoke and finally green monsters.
These monsters are probably the most amazing creation of all. As I said, it begins with the baby sparking a couple matches, which sparks many of the other matches. Then, the matches chase him, finally falling into a lake. But they don’t die. Oh, no. The steam from the matches becomes clouds with faces that follow the baby, before then evolving into large green monsters. It’s crazy, but it works.
When the Sandman appears to finally put the baby back to sleep, it’s almost a relief. The short moves so quickly that you get drawn in, your eye drawn to several different things every second. It moves fast, keeps the viewer engaged, and manages to be both funny and thrilling at the same time. That’s quite a feat.
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