We’ve all seen the dirty little in-jokes that Disney inserts into their cartoons. Some animated films, however, are more blatant about their adult humor or too oblivious to realize the alienation of their young audience. In that respect, there are plenty of animated films that fell victim to either bad response, production issues or just general corporate brew-ha-ha. Here are just a few of those animated films that never saw the light of day on home video (at least, not legally).
Song of the South
This one should be self-explanatory. If you’ve somehow never heard of the biggest cover-up in Disney animation, Song of the South was about southern stereotype Uncle Remus rambling about southern tales told in animation form. Naturally, it portrays black people in a negative fashion which wasn’t uncommon for cartoons of the 1930’s and 40’s. But Disney can’t really cover this controversial classic up considering it’s hit song ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ won an Academy Award. The more Disney tries to hide their shame, the more tantalizing it becomes. Song of the South has been referenced multiple times including having it’s lyrics altered to be MORE racially offensive in a SNL bit. Disney has released bits and pieces of the movie in video features, but to this date there is still no official video release. For some reason they released the soundtrack in the 1970’s. I guess they still wanted to pimp their Oscar.
The 1985 hit cartoon Robotech, which edited together footage from three Japanese cartoons, had grown to such a large franchise by 1986 that it was natural to make a movie. Unfortunately, the film had problems right from the get-go. The original script was going to be a side-story to the first season and would mostly be a straight adaptation of the anime Megazone 23. However, the originators of the first season of Robotech pushed producer Carl Macek not to set the story in that setting as the source material was developing into a franchise in Japan. As a result, Macek rewrote the movie as a side-story to season 2. Then the distributors, Cannon Films, said they didn’t like the ending and wanted Macek to change it, which ended up costing more money than what was originally planned for the budget.
As if that weren’t enough, the film’s test market in Texas was a disaster. Audiences hated the movie, particularly parents who disapproved of the content. People were crushed to death, a man is shot in the head and sexual situations are implied in the film. As a result, the movie never saw a wide release outside of Texas and was never released on video in the US (it has been released in several other countries because of better business).
Macek has washed his hands of this event and would like to forget the whole experience. However, on the Robotech DVD sets, you can see a bunch of material from the movie like the trailer, an animatic for the new ending and an interview in which Macek pushed the movie. Tobey Maguire has been rumored to be cast in the live action film that’s in development.
What the hell was Disney thinking when they ordered a movie of the Wildstorm comic Gen 13? Apparently they were all for adapting a story about teenage superheroes complete with a voice cast including Mark Hamil, John de Lancie and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Unfortunately, before production was finished, DC Comics bought Wildstorm in 1999 which is owned by Warner Bros. Since Disney didn’t feel right about releasing a movie that is now owned by a rival company, the completed project was shelved. It’s too bad considering this cartoon would’ve changed Disney’s whole image. The film contained nudity, adult situations and adult language; a huge departure from Disney’s other animated films. Is it possible that we could see Disney take another superhero gamble considering they bought Marvel? If they were willing to make Gen 13, there is hope for a bad-ass theatrically animated Marvel movie. It was even reported Megan Fox wanted to be in the movie.
The Mouse and His Child
If you thought Toy Story 3 was dark, The Mouse and His Child is the holocaust of animated films about toys. It’s about a toy constructed so that a mouse is dancing with his son. Immediately at the moment of their achieved consciousness, the son is depressed and crying about what a cruel fate it is to be this toy. And it only gets worse from there. They get thrown in the trash, harassed by animals and actually destroyed via being smashed repeatedly smashed by a rock. Yet through all of this, they somehow find a will to survive and end up with a happy ending. It’s a complete mystery to me why this is not on DVD. The animation is feature quality and it has an awesome voice cast featuring Peter Ustinov, Cloris Leachman and John Carradine. Maybe it was too dark that nobody involved wants to look back on this soul-crushing piece of animation.
The Big Bang
As controversial as that title sounds, this movie has little to do with the theory of the universe. This French animated film from 20th Century Fox is about a post-apocalyptic Earth with males against females. Men have no asses (and I mean no physical asses) and women have multiple breasts. In their efforts to wage larger warfare, a weapon has been manufactured that could destroy the entire universe. And the only one who can prevent the total end of all things is a superhero garbage man whose powers are controlled through a light-bulb in his bellybutton. It’s filled with cussing, nudity, heaps of sex, a hilarious English dub and enough social satire to make South Park blush. It’s so over-the-top in its imagery and humor involving sex and violence, it could easily become a cult-classic. But the US never got a video release of The Big Bang. All I got to say to that is the main character’s catchphrase: “SUPER SH*T!”
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