When Walt Disney's "Fantasia" was unleashed on the world it was unlike anything the world had seen. An animated musical that put images to classical music was a novelty idea, one that was sure to be a target for parody years to come. Probably the best parody of the film came from Italy, in "Allegro Non Troppo," a movie that, like "Fantasia," has images put up to classical music. The difference is that this movie is supposed to be more funny then artistic. When the movie begins with see the director bragging how this is going to be one of the greatest cinematic experiences of your life. To insure this he hunted down the best animator (whose been locked in a cell for five years), an important conductor (or so he thinks), and many pretty musicians (a bunch of old women who complain that they would rather be somewhere else).
It is during these live action intermissions where the movies slapstick and comedy really works. But wouldn't you know it: Once the animated segments start it appears someone forgot to tell the animators that this was a parody. Though there are some funny segments, including one where a man gets frustrated by people copying his success, many of these shorts are beautiful and poetic. The opening cartoon, where a goat-man wants a naked woman of his own, has some chuckles, but is mostly dramatic as he becomes more depressed that his physical appearance is a handicap for him. The second short is an obvious parody of the "Fantasia" segment with all the dinosaurs. Except this version has evolution begin from a Coke bottle and eventually ends with an evil monkey taking over the world.
And whether it's literal or not, a segment where Satan is the one who ends up eating the forbidden fruit makes the Father of Sin consider a new day job. These are funny cartoons, but they almost stop being a parody because they are well animated and told in their own right. Midway through the film something hit me: This movie, which set out to spoof "Fantasia," ultimately made a better "Fantasia." Disney didn't live long enough to see this film, but chances are if he did he would be proud. For me the highlight of the movie is a short involving a cat in a building that was recently bombed. The short involves the cat remembering good times in the house, only to have reality keep crushing him as he realizes his old life is no more.
It's very sad and depressing, but it's a good showcase to what good storytelling animation can provide. The final segment is where the animators are allowed to go crazy with their imagination, and I won't spoil what they decide to do with it. Needless to say it doesn't make any sense, but it sure is interesting. Sadly, "Allegro Non Troppo" is one of those movies that has been forgotten over the years. It's available on DVD, but most places don't carry it due to lack of interest. Well, this is one of the reasons God created the internet, which makes buying this online an easy task. In fact, if you want to thank me for recommending this film, you can buy it through the link above. Yes, I'm a shill. Sue me, at least I have good taste in film.
Grade: **** stars
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