By: Almond Black (A Toast) –
Today we find ourselves in a vast cultural wasteland, populated by numerous examples of art gone wrong, misplaced ideals, broken dialectics, and dollar-driven misrepresentation and misinformation. This has given rise to a particular type of film, and I have made it my mission to cut down those clay-footed idols at the knees.
Pure uninspired dreck
Nowhere is this trend more evident than in children’s fare. Monarchist, reactionary fare like this year’s insidious Frozen, or the all time nadir, The Lion King, or anarchist claptrap of something like The Lego Movie are eroding our children’s minds and instilling irresponsible, dangerous ideas all at once. There is a glimmer of good news, though. Movies like Doogal are still being made.
I probably don’t need to tell you that this delightful, witty film was originally a French production. Nobody understands comedy like the French.
Their comedic taste is self-evident.
The humor here is a splendid, nigh-perfect blend of slapstick, puns, pop culture references, and the burlesque art that is the fart joke. On that last point; has there ever been a joke more reliably funny or timeless as a fart joke? What other humor could hope to bridge every cultural, class, race, and gender divide as ably as that? If there is one thing in this world we can depend on to be funny, it’s the fart joke.
Never truer words spoken.
I must also admit that I never tire of pop culture references and phrasing. Witty bon mots like “That’s off the hook!” and “Boo Yah!” are more than just sure laughs, though, and I think Doogal is very aware of this. They are cultural shorthand- a universal English capable of communicating so much with so little. Who can forget “Whassupp!” or fail to remember its precise meaning and connotation? This is the very essence of language.
A last serious point: the casting of Jon Stewart as the evil wizard Zeebad is far from an accident. I just marvel at his acceptance of the role, being such a transparent indictment of his and his cronies’ destructive influence on the state of political discourse in the United States. Perhaps the man has a greater sense of humor about himself than we’ve suspected.
I don’t want to purely devote this review to the many salutary political and cultural lessons in this film. More simply, this is an utterly enjoyable romp of the imagination, full of wizards and magic and bravely sexually ambiguous dog creatures and even a surprisingly touching relationship between a cow and a snail. How droll, how wonderful, how purely entertaining for all ages.
There’s no age limit to the universal feeling this produces.
Doogal is the finest family film produced this decade, and quite possibly the finest animated film of all time. Bless You, Harvey Weinstein!
Take a Drink: for delightful puns
Take a Drink: for fart jokes, the joke of the proletariat
Take a Drink: whenever Jon Stewart shows his true colors
Do a Shot: whenever you want to stand and applaud