An anthology of fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen: "The Little Mermaid", "The Emperor's New Clothes", "Thumbelina", and "The Garden of Paradise".An anthology of fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen: "The Little Mermaid", "The Emperor's New Clothes", "Thumbelina", and "The Garden of Paradise".An anthology of fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen: "The Little Mermaid", "The Emperor's New Clothes", "Thumbelina", and "The Garden of Paradise".
To label this film as "embarrassingly dated" is arrogant and absurd, unless you're willing to pass the same judgment on "King Kong" or "Jason and the Argonauts." Most films are a product of their time. A few are ahead of their time, and those films set the pace for others to follow. But to condemn something from the '60s for not being "Toy Story" is unfair, just as it is unfair for an adult to condemn a movie intended for children.
Apparently an unfortunate result of computer animation is to render much of the history of filmmaking unwatchable because the special effects don't live up to today's standards. It's like kicking away the ladder that got you onto the roof. Today's effects-laden blockbusters would not have been possible--indeed, the film industry itself would not have survived the lean years when television was making inroads--had filmmakers not been willing to "go ahead and tell the story," plowing through budget and technical limitations, doing the best they could with whatever was at hand. To me, using plastic sheeting to achieve the water effects is ingenious. Obviously they couldn't use REAL water in stop-action animation. I challenge anyone to come up with a better solution using 1966 technology.
Of far more importance than technical effects, however, is the effect a film will have on its viewers. Here "The Daydreamer" succeeds brilliantly. Wholesome fare for the current generation of value-starved children, it is to be applauded for its strong ethical stance on the dangers of selfishness and the importance of obedience and loyalty. Far from our present diet of bland postmodern gruel that can come no closer to a moral principle than "have self-esteem, be tolerant and everybody wins," this film teaches that right is right and wrong is wrong, and that actions have serious and often irreversible consequences.
Lament, if you must, the inclusion of so many songs, but again, this picture is a product of its time. '60s moviegoers still had at least a fading appreciation for music--something modern audiences cannot claim (witness the death of the entire musical film genre)--and any children's feature worth its salt was expected to include a smattering of musical numbers. And while the music may be forgettable, the film itself obviously is not -- I saw it ONCE as a small child 25 years ago, and it has remained with me vividly until I saw it again yesterday.
I look forward to the time when my own daughter is old enough to enjoy it as much as I did.
- Sep 8, 2000