The Point
MVD Entertainment Group // Unrated // $29.95 // February 18, 2020
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted March 25, 2020
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
The Point:

Though its creation involved any number of creative powerhouses, this wonderful Blu-ray release of The Point functions basically as another way to say "look at how amazing Harry Nilsson was!" And in fact, this post-Love Generation, humanist, made-for-TV animation movie from 1971 is, while in and of itself quite fantastic, an inarguable testament to how great Harry Nilsson was. Nilsson of course being an under-recognized musical genius, and The Point being a delightful animation time-capsule starring Mike Lookinland as a boy exiled from his town because his body didn't conform to societal norms.

Conceived by Nilsson while hallucinating on LSD, (always a promising start for a kids' cartoon) The Point is a pun on the word (when Nilsson was tripping, he noticed lots of things (fir trees, houses) had points, and wondered ‘what's the point?'). From such a musing came first an album, then the story to go with it, which turned into this 75-minute movie that first aired on ABC. We're set up with a dad (voiced by many over the years, including Ringo Starr in this version) telling his jaded son a bedtime story. Into a world where everyone and everything is capped with a point, pointy-headed people! - is born little round-headed Oblio, (Mike Lookinland) who is well-loved until he hits grade-school age, at which point he's singled out for his difference and banished from the city. As he wanders into the countryside with his awesome dog Arrow, he has many psychedelic adventures and meetings, before the story comes to its inevitable ending, or point, if you will.

The Point is renowned mostly for its fantastic soundtrack of Nilsson tunes, including the Top-40 hit "Me and my Arrow" which will stay in your head long after the movie ends. But, it is of course more than that, with the able direction of Fred Wolf and trippy production designs (like a primitive version of Peter Maxx) of Gary Lund. Oblio meets a hip-talking man made of rock, Rotund dancers who bounce off each other like beachballs, and more, all while accompanied by Arrow, who often steals the show with his pointy design, agreeable nature and wonderful expressions. The story will seem slight and very idiosyncratic compared to today's multi-million-dollar, overly synthesized CGI-animated movies, but for that, it should be well-loved for being one-of-a-kind.

The Point's mix of trippy animation, heady concepts, great voice talent and catchy tunes represents an early ‘70s passion project for its creators, and a change of pace for Prime Time TV viewers in 1971. Fans of Harry Nilsson, ‘silver age' animation (for lack of a better term), or kids who grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s should find a lot to like in this MVD Visual Blu-ray presentation of The Point. With about 2-hours worth of extras, and a limited edition collectible poster, this package comes (for those whose interest is piqued) Recommended.


The DVD

Video:
MVD Visual has scraped and clawed to get the best possible elements for this semi-rarity, presented here in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio. At that, the new 2K high definition transfer comes from 16mm release film elements, the best available, as the whereabouts of the negatives are unknown. The picture color has been re-graded shot-by-shot, but the amount of damage to the print quickly dictated that some damage had to remain in this release for it to be a feasible project. So, there you have it! Although this presentation is the best it can be at this juncture, it looks both better (detail) and worse (occasional blotches, scratches, etc.) than when it originally aired.

Sound:
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo are your audio options. As the original broadcast was in Mono Audio, there's not much reason to employ the 5.1 track, which keys up a bunch of needless reverb to add to the atmosphere, making some dialog needlessly hard to hear. The 2.0 mix doesn't sound very much like stereo, but at least the dialog is easier to handle. More importantly, the 2.0 mix presents Nilsson's songs quite nicely.

Extras:
Extras include a Slipcover and a 10" x 12" MVD Rewind Collection-branded poster, as well as over 2 hours worth of interviews etc. The chunkiest is an hour-long series of interviews with friends and colleagues of the composer, titled "Nilsson on Screen", which gives a great overview of Nilsson's scoring projects, including his modified song that became the theme to The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Mike (Bobby Brady) Lookinland gets 17 minutes to talk about the project, and The Point screenwriter Norm Lenzer gets 15 minutes to do the same. A multi-part Making The Point featurette in four parts runs about 26 minutes, and most interestingly Nilsson's son Kiefo gets 15 minutes to talk about adapting (and perform a bit of) his father's songs. Lastly, a Short ‘Claymation' Subject by Dean (Jan & Dean) Torrence, that inspired the film, rounds things up.

Final Thoughts:
The Point's mix of trippy animation, heady concepts, great voice talent and catchy tunes represents an early ‘70s passion project for its creators, and a change of pace for Prime Time TV viewers in 1971. Fans of Harry Nilsson, ‘silver age' animation (for lack of a better term), or kids who grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s should find a lot to like in this MVD Visual Blu-ray presentation of The Point. With about 2-hours worth of extras, and a limited edition collectible poster, this package comes (for those whose interest is piqued) Recommended.



Copyright 2020 Kleinman.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy DVDTalk.com is a Trademark of Kleinman.com Inc.