Bill Plympton has created some of the most humorous and odd animation
ever to be put to film. He is best known for his award winning shorts
especially Your Face, 25 Ways Stop Smoking, How to Kiss, and the
decidedly bizarre One of Those Days. The Tune is Plympton's
first feature length feature, a movie that he produced and animated by
himself, drawing a reported 30,000 images. Though this is longer
than the work that he'd previoulsy done, The Tune is chocked full
of Plympton's surrealistic humor and skewed look at life.
Poor Del is a song writer, and he just can't come up with a new song.
He boss, Mr. Mega, gives him 47 minutes to come up with the greatest song
ever or he's fired. His job at stake, Del hops in his car and rushes
over to Mr. Mega's office, but takes the wrong exit and ends up in the
town of Flooby Nooby. This town is quite unlike anything Del's ever
seen before. It is an odd musical village where pillow sing you to
sleep at night and the mailmen back flip down the street. The mayor
of Flooby Nooby escorts the young song writer on a tour of the town where
Del finds many strange characters along with different types of music;
country and western, 50's rock, surf music, and blues among others.
But will all of this musical inspiration allow Del to create a hit song
in the time remaining?
This movie is really a series of music videos that are strung together.
Bill Plympton's original idea was to animate a song, release it as a short,
then use funds generated from that to animate the next one. Luckily
he was hired to do a series of TV commercials, and the money he made from
those paid for the entire feature. Even so, this movie feels like
separate parts strung together by a linking device rather than a single
movie. That's not bad necessarily since all of the individual songs
are pretty interesting by themselves. Plympton's trademark of having
people and objects morph from one thing to another is present throughout
most of the songs, as is his surrealistic sense of humor. The strangeness
knob was certainly turned up to 10 when he was writhing this feature.
Among other things there is a hotel that features the "fat falling pig
suite," and the "laugh yourself to death suite," a dog does an Elvis impersonation,
and people change size and shape while they do the tango. Near the
end of the film is a hilarious argument between to business men who settle
their differences by trading various tortures.
This movie is just as entertaining as Plympton's shorts. Each
song has wildly creative visuals to accompany the music, and much of it
is very humorous. But the humor isn't all visual. Plympton
fills the movie with strange jokes and puns. For example, after seeing
the local sage Del complains that he didn't understand a word that was
said. "Of course not," his guide replies, "he's the wise one, not
Some of the scenes in this movie are laugh out loud funny, and others
are just amusingly odd, but the entire film is visually entertaining.
Plympton is one of the most creative and funny people working in animation
today, and this is a great example of his eminently enjoyable work.
This DVD has a stereo soundtrack without subtitles. The movie
sounds good but I was hoping for a little more dynamic soundtrack, especially
during the many songs. The songs are clear with the dialog
comes through clearly, but it just doesn't have a lot of punch to it.
There was just a slight amount of distortion in a couple of instances,
and the last song comes across a little muddled. Still, this DVD
The full frame video looks very good, especially for an independent
production. The lines were tight and the colors bright. There
was excellent detail and definition. A fine looking disk.
This DVD is packed with extras, much more content that I was expecting
from an independent feature. The disc has a great commentary from
Bill Plympton and composer Maureen McElheron. They discuss the making
of the film and the sources of inspiration for all of the different songs.
They manage to talk through the while film without ever becoming boring
or dull. They do a good job.
There is also an excellent documentary included on this disc: Twisted
Toons: The Warped Animation of Bill Plympton. This hour long
featurette looks at Bill's surrealistic animation but focuses on The
Tune. There are interviews with several of Plympton's friends
including Simpson's creator Matt Groening. Bill himself talks about
the making fo the film and how he came up with the money to make a feature
film all by himself. This documentary is very interesting and informative,
something fans of Plympton's work should make a point of seeing.
In additon there are audio tracks for the two original songs in the
tune; Isn't if Good Again and Flooby Nooby. Two photo galleries are
included, one containing Bill Plymton's family photos and another with
storyboard illustrations used to make the movie. Lastly there is
a trailer for Hair High, as well as a text biography
Bill Plympton makes wonderfully surreal cartoons that are both entertaining
and interesting to watch. The Tune is no exception, being
an amusing and funny trip through a strange musical land. I wasn't
sure if Plypmton's humor could carry a feature length film, but it did
so easily. Plympton fans won't be disappointed. In addition
to the great movie, the disc is jam packed with extras, making this a disc
that animation fans should be sure to pick up. Highly Recommended.