My sum conclusion? Disney relied greatly on people being familiar
with the religious aspects of the story, and worried only about the
mechanics, leaving the short a little flat in the end. While it’s still
entertaining, it’s not up to the standard that Disney has been hitting
in the 1933 shorts.
The story of the short is obvious – the Noah’s Ark story. But for
those of you who didn’t grow up in Sunday School class: Noah is a devout
Christian, and he is warned that a catastrophic flood is coming. So,
he and his family build an ark, and gather two of every animals on board.
When the flood comes, Noah, his family and the animals sail away, suffering
on board for days, until finally the sun comes out, dries up the rain
and they disembark to repopulate the Earth.
In the Disney version, more attention is paid to the construction
of the ark, and the inventive ways that the animals can help. For example,
a pair of monkeys help to make boards by unleashing a rhino on a tree,
that shaves off a board. They capture the rhino, turn him around and
do it all over again. Then, we have one of Noah’s sons pick up the lumber
and drive it to the ark in a “car” where the wheels are made up of snakes
biting their own tails.
These are good gags, but overall they serve to downplay the seriousness
of the story. Don’t forget, these characters are preparing for the flood
that will end life on Earth. It seems particularly strange for them
to be going about things with such a song in their heart, literally.
Noah, his sons and daughters and his wife all break out into song at
the beginning of the short.
Then, as the rains start, all the animals load onto the boat, but
Noah and family pull the plank up so they can leave a pair of skunks
stranded. Again, it seems just remarkably out of place to have a gag
that could be construed as callous and mean.
Ultimately, of course, things turn out okay. But not before we see
Noah and his family in the ark, during the rainstorm, praying and pleading
to survive. It’s such a tonal shift from the lighthearted fare of earlier
that it seems very disjointed.
Finally, we reach dry land, and a dove brings an olive branch, letting
Noah know that it’s okay to disembark. There’s a brief song of gratitude,
and all the animals disembark.
Father Noah’s Ark is just sort of an
odd short. It gets the point of the story across, but does so in a sort
of paint by numbers way. You go from point A to point B in a straightforward
manner, and while there are gags along the way, they’re not as funny
as in previous shorts. I’d have to say for me, this one was a disappointment.
This one has the most attractive titles we've seen for a color Symphony
so far. A subtle blend of a huge amount of colors without being garish.
It's also interesting to note how the designs of animals are changing.
There are exceptions (e.g the skunks and some of the dogs), but most
of the animals don't look like the ones we've become familiar with in
the black and white cartoons. That said, however, keep an eye out for
the "Mickey bears" from
The Bears and Bees
who have a cameo riding the giraffes!
Click on thumbnail for full size image
Submitted by eutychus
Model SheetSubmitted by kintutoons32