Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)

Today's animated feature is The Adventures of Mark Twain.  I am struggling to figure out what the target audience of this film is.  It is way too dark and frightening for young children, and as an adult, it did not interest me at all.  This is my reaction after watching this.

Mark Twain's birth and death coincides with Halley's comet.  The last time Halley's comet appeared was a few months before I was born.  So, there is a chance I will never see it.  And you know what?  I really don't care.  But, Mark Twain did care about seeing the comet again and believed that it was his fate to go out with the comet.  This film takes that very literally.
Mark Twain builds an elaborate balloon/flying machine thing and hopes to fly to the comet.  Yes, he wants to fly into outer space and see the comet.  That's fine for a kid's movie, right?  No, his goal is to slam into the comet so he'll die.  He makes several allusions to this before he reveals his intentions.  He feels his life's work is complete and he has no more to offer.  A suicide mission in a kid's movie.

The weirdest part is his flying balloon has an index-o-vator, an elevator that features all the stories he has written.  The characters go in and out of the stories/real world as they please.  For example, the most famous characters, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Becky stowaway on his balloon and later try to stop him from flying into the comet, because their lives are at stake as well!
Sometimes, the film would illustrate stories that Mark Twain wrote, such as the jumping frog.  The movie, weird as it is, would be okay if not for the heavily Christian, fatalistic overtones.  At least 85% of this movie is the story of Adam and Eve.  What does that have to do with Mark Twain flying into a comet?  I don't know.  If I were the question the filmmakers' choices I'd be here all day.  I don't want to watch an hour's worth of the story of Adam and Eve.  I feel like I was tricked.  And, I'm glad Azalea is too young to question things because I don't know how to explain why a cartoon character wants to kill himself.  I cannot believe that someone thought it was a good idea to make this movie.  I will give it a 2/10.

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