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The teller of tall tales, Baron Munchausen, is perhaps one of the most
international characters in the entertainment world. The French and
science fiction pioneer Georges Melies began it all with their silent
film released in 1911. America featured the Baron on popular radio
programs off and on for some 20 years, plus a movie spin-off. Then came
Germany, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, and Britain.
The U.S. release of this animated children's version from France, dubbed in English, is faithful to the stories(although a hound by the name of Zounds is thrown in for ?good measure), but a little too silly for most adults to sit through. The mermaids are depicted accurately, though, for a change, and their enchanting singing would appeal to anyone. Reminiscent in fact of the Readers Digest cartoon short from 1974 of The Little Mermaid. The artwork is standard, and only the voice characterization of the Baron stands out. The music by Michel "Windmills of Your Mind" Legrand is, of course, a bonus.
As released on video, the picture and color quality were very good, so perhaps the ultra low budget DVD release might not be too bad. It would be nice, though, to hear this movie in its original language.
I just saw this movie (7 July 2011) on a videotape made a number of
years ago from a showing at Nickelodeon when my children were hooked on
cartoons. It held my interest quite well. The dialog is funny for
adults, and the dubbing was so skillful that I did not believe it was
originally in French. The wording style is not childish at all, and
together with the animation is reminiscent of the Mr. Magoo cartoons. I
plan to see it again in a few days and take notes so I can write a
By the way, the title shown in my tape is proper English, as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
The story line is similar to an adult movie. At a banquet for friends in his castle, the Baron tells his friends of some of his interesting adventures, and as he begins the narration it fades into the past as though it were a flashback. There are three separate narrations and at the end of each the images bring you back to the banquet hall.
I remember seeing this movie in a video store when I was about 6 or 7 years old, and when I took it home and watched it, I was immediately captivated. It was completely unlike any of the animation that was being put out at the time, or little did I know at the time, would ever be put out again. When I saw it was finally out on DVD format on Amazon, and for a measly $0.97, I had to have it. I assumed it would be like Pink Floyd: The Wall; amazing when I was a kid, but completely embarrassing frou-frou as an adult. I was completely wrong! It is even better than I remember, and the music is absolutely fantastic, the work of a genius (trust me, I'm a musician). The songs will be stuck in your head for days. What also surprised me is how FUNNY is movie actually is (especially the cannonball scene, which had me cracking up), with incredibly sophisticated dialogue and clever rhyming schemes and excellent English dubbing (you'd never know this film was originally in French). The only downside is the lack of extras, because this film actually has a fascinating backstory, which included a strike (that may explain some inconsistencies in the animation). But all in all, it's a feel-good adventure film, with amazing music, guaranteed to satiate the kid in everyone.
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