A flash from my childhood, a film that my whole family have wanted on DVD but by the looks of it will never get. Raggedy Ann and Andy : A Musical Adventure is such a strange and bizarre yet touching movie that as a kid just makes you smile and as a adult makes you scratch your head.
What was it that I loved as a kid and could I find it re-watching it as a adult?
Sitting here at 25 having probably last seen the movie when I was about 12 I can see a whole load of things that would have gone over my head back then.
I mean I started watching it and had totally forgotten that Ann and Andy were brother and sister even though it is stated a few times, in fact I thought they were boyfriend and girlfriend! I also can see why some of the people I’ve talked to about the film were scared as kids as the creepy twin dolls and clown thing in the play room in both real life and cartoon form are quite spooky in their way now to me, but back then I don’t think I paid them much attention!
The film isn’t the best when it comes to the plot, it is a simple plot that gets lost along the way. After a new toy comes to the playroom she is kidnapped (toynapped?) by the pirate that lives in the snow globe, feeling guilty Ann and Andy follow the pirate ship through the dark woods. Along the way they meet a handful of bizarre, crazy characters and meet a new friend, The Camel.
When meeting new people it really does feel like the film was just a bunch of short stories sewn together to make a longer product, other then the fact that Ann and Andy have to overcome these troubles to get to Babette and the Captain there is nothing really important to any of the adventures.
By the time they catch up with Babette she’s taken over the ship anyway and is sailing it towards Paris, after being attacked by Gazooks she magically loses her want to go to Paris, her cool new pirate get up and suddenly is being nice to Ann and wants to go back to the Playroom.
I think that is the only problem. I’ve heard people complain about the songs but I loved every single one of them and they’ve stood the test of time in my head, they also set the mood of every scene. The problem was that nothing was ever developed past its opening phase. We never saw Babette take over, we don’t know how she managed to do it and we never got an explanation to why she suddenly wanted to be friends with Ann and the Playroom. Ann and Andy are simplistic characters but they really do just wander around the place and end up as background characters whilst the new friend takes control of the scenes.
I guess what always stayed with me was how weird the animation always was. I loved the look of it as a kid and it still looks wonderful as a adult. The characters are all brought to life so well, I love King Koo Koo and Sir Leonard Looney as well as the animated scenes with the Camels calling The Camel home and the Greedy.
The songs though, that is what I’ll always love. Each one was magical. “Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers”, “Blue”, “I never get enough” and “Because I love you” which all come one after the other anyway in the show are some of my most valued childhood songs. I still remember each perfectly and from time to time find myself singing them.
I mean there are lots of adult things in there that make me laugh now which I didn’t pick up when I was a kid. The Captain and his pelvic thrusts when singing about Babette, the form that the Greedy takes as well as whenever he eats his nose turns into a pig nose as well as some of the lines King Koo Koo has especially with THAT accent (the last laugh…..) Then again there are also some messages that I think were lost to me as a child that actually were quite forced into some scenes and could have been expanded. Never giving up (in the ending “fight” scene) and also “Making fun of others has never made anyone bigger then anyone else”.
Some adults who never watched as a kid might find it a mess but looking back on it from my POV as a kid it was a classic film that they just don’t make enough of any more. Simplistic yes but it gave my family hours of fun from the first moment we got it on VHS to this day when my mum sings “Blue” to my 5 year old niece.
I don’t think it gets enough recognition for just being fun. Not every movie needs to be perfect to be fun for kids and adults a like.