Today’s instalment of Disney Day is brought to you by WWII and the United States Department of State. Saludos Amigos came out in 1942 and features a tour around Latin America that the aforementioned Department of State commissioned from Walt Disney as a god will project to keep your friends close but you’re enemies closer, if you know what I mean.
Parts of Latin America were friendly with Nazi Germany, and remained so regardless of this project, as a lot of Nazis flew to countries like Chile after the war ended. But that’s a different story for another time. Disney accepted the offer to do this movie, mostly because they had no money to do something else and by that I mean something good. They were simply trying to keep their head above water. By the way, I apologise for this post because this movie is pretty bad and boring. The only good thing is that it only lasts about 40 minutes.
We open with a non-animated bit of people getting on a plane. The voice over tells us that it’s Disney employees on their way to Latin America for this ‘interesting’ tour of the south. An animated bit shows us where the crew traveled to exactly. Like Fantasia, this film is split in multiple different parts.
Part one opens over Lake Titicaca and we get schooled on local Inca life, colours and how amazing it all is. Blah, blah, blah. After all this exposition, we meet our true American tourist, Donald Duck, overlooking Lake Titicaca. Yay, education on altitude fever and llamas, who apparently can be steered by locals playing their flutes. So if you play a melody up the scale, the llama gets up, down if you play it down and it runs in circles if you play a melody that goes kinda circle-y, you get the picture. *insert mother of all eye-rolls*
Part two is set in Chile where I say hi to a friend who’s currently there for a couple of months. As the Disney crew wasn’t allowed to take any shots while being in Chile, we get this adorable little spiel on animated planes, Papa!Plane, Mama!Plane and little Boy!Plane whose name is Pedro. This, right here, is the highlight of the movie in my opinion because it doesn’t actually involve that much propaganda schooling in Latin American life.
So Papa!Plane deliveres mail between Santiago and Mendoza while Pedro goes to school. There he learns all kinds of stuff about being a good plane and it’s precious while of course, being utter bullshit. It’s cute though so I’m willing to forgive a lot. One day, Papa!Plane has come done with a cold and can’t do his usual mail run. Mama!Plane can’t take over the route because she suffers from high oil pressure and I have a good laugh about that one. So little Pedro sets out, he does get to Mendoza without too many complications, gets a little bit crazy on his way home and ends up in a big storm. Struggling to keep his mission and make it through the storm, he endures a lot. Back home, his parents are already saying mentally goodbye to their son because he should have been back hours ago but what’s that, plane noises. PEDRO MADE IT BACK HOME! That’s awesome.
Next stop, Buenos Aires, Argentina where we learn all about cowboys and horses and a lot of cultural blah that I can’t begin to recap for this, so I won’t. It was utterly boring, there recapped. Cue to Goofy over in Texas dressed as a great ole’ cowboy so we get explained the differences between Gauchos and cowboys. Fun times, only, NOT!
Last stop on this Tour de Mindnumbing, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While the voice over babbles on about life in Brazil, I can’t help but think that making a comparison of the footage shot in the 40s and today would probably be pretty interesting. This, however, is not. Lastly we’re treated to some animated clip where Donald meets a Brazilian parrot and gets schooled on music and local cuisine.
Those were 40 minutes of my life I’ll never get back, OH MAH GAHD! Like I said up top, I apologise for this crappy recap but the source material wasn’t that great either. This animated ‘feature’ (40 minutes doesn’t a feature make in my opinion) film is highly forgettable and should be left out because of great and utter boredom. What makes it so bad in my opinion is the relying on stereotypical idiocy. At least, viewing this from the year 2013, I want to rip out my hair. This could have been something decent but instead, you get the cheap and easy tour of Latin America. It’s like being hit over the head with an anvil trying desperately to beat some knowledge into you. More subtlety could have gone a long way. #justsaying
Here’s to hoping that next weeks movie will be more entertaining.