Saturday, November 30, 2002


This is another kid's movie that I associate with being shown on TV during Thanksgivings of the past. Apparently, it was released the same week as the Pearl Harbor attack and got lost at the box office, resulting in the failure of Max Fleischer's cartoon studio, which was an attempt to rival Walt Disney, and whose previous big feature was GULLIVER'S TRAVELS. There is nothing wrong with the animation here; it's colorful and detailed, though its age shows now. The problem is that the story, though certainly age-appropriate for kids, lacks the imagination and magical touches of the Disney films. Hoppity the grasshopper returns to Bugville, a small lot of land that is home to a large cast of insects which include Mr. Bumble the bee and his daughter Honey, and assorted other flies and bugs. The land that Bugville is on is about to be torn up by humans for the construction of a skyscraper. A nasty beetle is also plotting against Bugville (and melodramatically plotting to get hold of Honey) and it's up to young Hoppity to save the day for the whole community and for his sweetheart. There are a pair of "good" humans, songwriter Dick and his wife, who remind me of the human couple in 101 DALMATIONS. Of course, there are also songs, mostly forgettable even though they are written by Hoagy Carmichael. From my current vantage point, the movie seemed slow going, and the character of Hoppity wasn't very engaging. But it's all amiable enough and would seem to still be perfectly enjoyable for the very young. At almost 90 minutes, it felt a bit long, but it did fulfill my need for holiday nostalgia.

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