Somehow, between this and “Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer“, it’s the character’s you wouldn’t expect who end up in incredibly strange animated films.
I have vague memories of seeing this as a lass on Nickelodeon’s “Special Delivery”. (Oh, for those halcyon days when The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon used to show any crazy crap they could get their hands on.) I found a decent copy of it and was pleasantly surprised to find a very charming little movie with incredibly weird animation. It honestly doesn’t look like any other animated film you have ever seen, and as bizarre as it is, it’s also refreshing.
Certainly, much of the credit goes to Richard Williams, and if you’ve no idea who he is then here’s the tale of woe. Evidently, Richard Williams wanted to be the first person to animate an entire feature-length movie all by himself. It took him nearly three decades to finish about twenty minutes of his film and he hired himself out as a director for all kinds of projects in order to finance it. “Raggedy Anne and Andy” was one such project, and so was “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. By the late 80′s he was driven nearly insane working on “The Thief and the Cobbler” *by hand* by himself, so… some well-known studio I happen to have a love/hate relationship with offered to help him finish it.
Some of us animation fans probably know what happened next. The film was butchered. There’s a bootleg of the “Work Print” floating around out there and while I haven’t seen it yet, it is said to give a better indication of what the world missed out on.
So consider “Raggedy Anne and Andy” a rare treat. Williams really is brilliant and it’s too bad what happened to him. He is, by all evidence, working as an author for the most part nowadays and it is doubtful that he’ll feel like directing another feature anytime soon.
Unless “Who Discovered Roger Rabbit” ever gets off the ground…
The Best Parts:
1 minute in – This scene brought to you by the Unmotivated Closeup Fairy (sister of the Foreshadowing Fairy).
2 minutes in – Seeing the names of all the lead character animators in the opening credits listed as actors would be makes me a happy dragon. (Dear Dreamworks, you’re doing it wrong.)
4 minutes in – Meet Maxie Fixitt, the Trippiest Toy Ever.
5 minutes in – Shouldn’t these two be summoning Mothra?
7 minutes in – Awwww *^_^*.
14 minutes in – Bah. Raggedy Anne’s endearing character and homegirl charm makes her a better person, so there.
18 minutes in – Anyone else getting an unnerving White Stripes vibe from the Raggedies?
21 minutes in – Yet another fine choice for Karaoke Night.
28 minutes in – OK, kids. So far, Babette has been a total b*tch towards Raggedy Anne and Andy. She’s been kidnapped by pirates and now they’re only going off to save her because Marcella, the owner of all these dolls, told Anne to care for Babette. So do Raggedy Anne and Andy really have free will?
31 minutes in – Yes, there is definitely a “how are they related again?” creepiness to these two.
39 minutes in – Poor little Camel. He should form a support group with Apple and Jessie the Cowgirl.
42 minutes in – Up until this point, this movie’s been pretty sweet and normal. This is precisely where it drops off into Insanityland.
49 minutes in – Well, that was just about the trippiest thing ever. Greedy rocks. He needs his own movie.
52 minutes in – Pity Sir Looney, for he must follow the Greedy’s act.
54 minutes in – Ah, but then Richard Williams breaks out his signature Escher-ish acrobatic “camera”. Think of how long this must have taken back in the day. Bad ass.
1 hour in – Wait a minute… (See “Classic Quotes”.)
1 hour, 2 minutes in – Yep, “Dr. Strangelove” should have totally ended like this.
1 hour, 7 minutes in – Niiiiiiiice! Best twist ever.
1 hour, 10 minutes in – Yeah, a “Do not touch” sign like that is kind of an invite isn’t it?
1 hour, 12 minutes in – Bah. I bet he hacked “Tickle” onto his Tentacruel.
1 hour, 15 minutes in – *WAY* more fun than “Dead Man’s Chest”.
1 hour, 16 minutes in – Did they just fell through Babs and Buster’s Plot Hole?
1 hour, 18 minutes in – Oh, that sucks.
1 hour, 21 minutes in – Awwwwwww! *^.^*
Screw you! It was cute!
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Ooh, do some more to this one! He makes me expand REAL good!” – King Cuckoo
~*~ Poetry Corner ~*~
“What’s in the box? / What’s in the box? / Gotta find out what’s in the box! / Woah-woah!” – The creepy twin dolls who ought to be summoning Mothra
“Well you can squeeze me / tease me / say I’m your own / But I’m no girl’s toy!” – Andy, asserting himself
“I look around and see the good life everywhere. / I watch the Cookie Bushes shining in the sun! / The smell of sweet Vanilla Livin’ blows in every breath of air. / Doesn’t anybody want me? Doesn’t anybody care?.” – the Camel With Wrinkled Knees
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – It’s hard out here for a rag doll.
* – Male dolls have a complex about asserting their masculinity.
* – Breakdancing is a lot more interesting when you don’t have bones.
* – Some people have prehensile mustaches.
* – Since they have become nearly extinct in the wild, Bactrian Camels are starting to lose their minds.
* – Don’t laugh too hard or you’ll explode.
* – Ever-shifting sentient lakes of taffy are awesome.
* – That said, make sure the lake of taffy you’ve dropped into isn’t alive before you start eating it…
* – Having a heart made of candy is not only ridiculously impractical, it’s also a huge liability if you happen to meet a sentient lake of taffy.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Yes.
Good Soundtrack? There are too many songs, but the animation is so out there, I didn’t mind.
Hot Guys? No. Unless Raggedy Andy does it for you. If so, seek help.
Pretty Scenery? Weird scenery.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? This is an hour and a half of insanely trippy animation. Within a few minutes you’ll know if you can take it or not.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when the Camel goes all Emo. Drink again if you wonder how, exactly, the Raggedies are related.
Head Movie Potential? Dude. Greedy’s musical number. Duuuuuuuuude.
Rating: Jordan wandering through a surreal, ever-changing Escher-ish landscape.
A Bobbs-Merill Film released by 20th Century Fox in 1977. Written by Joe Raposo, Patricia Thackray, and Max Wilk, based upon characters created by Joahn Gruelle. Directed by the great Richard Williams.
As per the opening credits, Hal Ambro, Art Babbitt, Gerry Chiniquy, and many others.
Life is Terrible – A well-written plea for a 30th anniversary DVD. I love his story about the idiot in the box office.