Monday, December 10, 2012

Overrated/Underrated Don Bluth Movies

Most Overrated Don Bluth Film: The Small One (1978)
This was mentioned in a different post already.  There really isn't much wrong with this short, but there isn't a whole lot to it either.  The animation is good and is a great example of Bluth's style.  But I've never gained too much from it.  Not exactly overrated, but the problem with Bluth is that when he's good he's great, when he's bad he's unwatchable.  This is probably his most middling effort.  Decent short though, Disney should use it more.

Most Underrated Don Bluth Film: Bartok the Magnificent (1999)
I did not see this until recently and I had a blast.  Bartok stole the show in Anastasia and he handles his own feature well.  Hank Azaria has crafted an entertaining voice for the bat and this uses Anastasia's Kelsey Grammer in a new role, Kelsey Grammer is a voice actor in his own right.  This is Bluth's best movie post-Land Before Time because it is so simple.  It is not trying to tell a story outside of his reach, it is just a fun cartoon.

Most Disappointing Don Bluth Film: All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
This one always seemed to be held in high regard as I was growing up but I never saw the full thing until a few years ago.  This is the definition of a disappointing movie because there is a lot going for it.  I love the design of Charlie, animation is good and it has a great title.  But the story gets muddied with too many odd antics and the characters don't work.  The famed "Big Lipped Alligator Moment" and the whole Grand Horse Chaw-Hee scene are weird in the worst way.  So much of this movie isn't entertaining.  Which is a shame, because this is where Bluth faltered and never quite recovered.

Most Surprising Don Bluth Film: Anastasia (1997)
Saw this one in theatres as a kid and it didn't leave a huge impact but when I watched it again I really liked it.  I am not sure why Bluth's studio didn't continue with more movies like this.  It sometimes gets typed as a Disney rip-off, but I feel like it manages to be its own entity that just took a cue from what was working for Disney.  There are some good songs, entertaining characters in Vlad, Rasuptin and of course Bartok.  And the train sequence is thrilling.  Also the use of rotoscoping ends up working as you really don't notice it.

My Guilty Pleasure Don Bluth Film: Rock-a-Doodle (1992)
Oh boy, like I said when Bluth is good he's great, but when he's bad he's unwatchable.  Out of his bad movies I really don't want to watch any of them.  But if someone had a gun to me and I had to pick I guess I would have to go with Rock-a-Doodle.  Because it is just so weird that it almost becomes entertaining.  It isn't, it's horrible and unworthy of the talent involved.  But the fact that this movie actually got made is entertaining in its own right.

My Favorite Don Bluth Film: Land Before Time (1988)
I grew up watching this movie.  I grew up watching the first five or six sequels too, but this is the one that holds up.  In fact, I like it more now than I did as a child because I can handle its dark moments easier.  This is one of the animated films that goes for sad and scary and it never feels forced.  All of the crying moments are absolutely deserved.  This is also one of my favorite groups of kids, great dynamics and voices for them.  I have a lot of memories of this movie and I know that a lot of other people do too.

The Worst Don Bluth Film: A Troll in Central Park (1994)
Not a good sign if Thumbelina (1994) and Pebble and the Penguin (1995) are easily considered better movies.  This is one of the most irritating things I have ever seen.  Stanley the Troll is grating, Gnorga is grating, and the kids are some of the worst in animation.  The best part about this movie is the title, it is easily my favorite part and the only thing about it that I like.  I dare you to give me a positive review of this.

The Best Don Bluth Film: Secret of NIMH (1982)
I would call this the first major event of the animation renaissance.  It bombed at the box-office, but the animation industry took notice.  This is a mature story that is accessible to all ages with high quality animation and chilling character designs.  Mrs. Brisby is one of the best female leads in all of cinema and she anchors this movie perfectly.  If you have never seen it or haven't seen it in a while definitely seek it out.


  1. AND JUST WHAT HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF???!!! All dogs go to heaven is only the best don bluth EVER. Why would you say such a mean thing??!! WHY?????????!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Why would you insult the beautiful annabelle? Or the amazing storyline?! Or the adorable Anne Marie?! HOW CAN YOU DO THAT??????!!!!!!!

  3. How could you insult THIS???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!