Saturday, May 11, 2013
Sledgehammer O'Possum in: "Out and About"
Created, Written and Directed by: Pat Ventura
Layout Artists: Mark Kausler, Robert Ramirez, Julian Chaney
Background Stylist: Kathryn Yesla
Music: Peter Lurye
Voices: Faizon Love, Larry B. Scott
Produced in Association with: Fil-Cartoons, Inc., Philippines
This review probably won't be too long, as most of the talk will be done in the screenshots section. Pat Ventura is back with different characters and setup, but wackier and considerably more violent. In fact, this might very well be the most violent WAC short in the entire series. I'm not even going to bother dedicating a paragraph to summarize the plot, because all this cartoon is about is a possum (Sledgehammer O'Possum, who from now on will be referred as SH) physically abusing a dog (Dogg) in every way possible. He steals his lunch, hits him repeatedly in the head, makes him explode, fills his head with bees, and runs him over with a train.
And that's it. There's not much else to say about this short, other than the fact it's quite polarizing. I know several people who list it among their favorites, while others who can't stand the sight of it, and for good reason. It's quite disturbing seeing Dogg getting so horribly abused and bruised for seven straight minutes. He doesn't deserve any of it, and SH gets absolutely no comeuppance at the end. By all intents and purposes, I should absolutely hate this short... but I don't hate it. I mentioned in the "Short Orders" review that the vomit scene in that short wasn't as disgusting as it looked due to the limited animation and not-too-graphic style. That applies to this short as well, but in a much higher quantity.
If there is one thing Pat Ventura does great, is making his cartoons interesting to look at, and that is pretty much why this cartoon works. The poses, the wild takes, and the great timing of the gags are top notch, and once the cartoon starts going, it doesn't stop until the very end. It doesn't matter if Dogg gets beaten over and over again, you just don't care, because it's really the visuals that matter. I also need to mention Peter Lurye's score, which makes great use of classic music and is beautifully timed to the jokes.
Now, my review may look I'm overpraising the short, but I'm not. This cartoon really isn't meant for everyone, and I can clearly understand why people say they don't like it. As much as I love the timing and expressions in"Out and About", the cartoon is still nothing but an animal suffering physical violence for seven minutes. If you can appreciate a cartoon purely for its visuals, then definitely give this a shot, but if you can't stand cartoon characters being beaten all over the place without the villain suffering any sort of comeuppance, then stay far, FAR away from this short.
Nice use of squash and stretch when SH spots Dogg and his hot dog.
This is weird, but when SH steals Dogg's hot dog he moves his lips as he's saying something, but no words come out. I do recall that the Spanish dub added a line here ("Gimme that!" in Spanish), but no English version I've come across has any dialogue here.
Not sure why Dogg is so happy to give SH the mustard. He never asks for his lunch back.
Fun expressions here.
Nice animation in this scene as well. Dogg's expression in the first screenshot is my favorite.
There's kind of an interesting running gag here, with SH laughing with a different sound effect every time. Here he uses canned laughter.
Great, great, GREAT timing with Dogg chasing SH, but SH stopping him by pulling the front trunk of his car open.
I like Dogg's expression when SH passes him the fridge.
Another gag with amazing timing. I love the way Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" and Rossini's "Barber of Seville" are used here.
Clever joke with SH using the letters in "HA HA" to hit Dogg repeatedly in the head.
Another fun expression on Dogg when he thinks he killed SH.
Woah, GREAT wild take.
Fun little moment with SH pointing out the size of Dogg's club, followed by Dogg shockingly realizing this, complete with party horn sound effect.
SH then pulls out his own club and proceeds to beat Dogg in the head multiple times at the rhythm of Chopin's "Funeral March". Dogg asking SH what's he going to do with that club is hilarious.
The entire headless scene is pretty good, with some really great animation in certain spots. I do like it at the end when Dogg falls on his head gets it back, bouncing repeatedly until it sticks back.
The beehive scene is quite possibly the most disturbing scene in all of WAC. Just trying to imagine it gives me chills. Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody N°2" is put to great use here.
Poor Dogg. He went through all that abuse for the sake of the audience. His brain flying away is a nice touch.