Koko The Clown Destroyed The World 85 Years Before "2012"
It's funny to see critics recoil in disappointment at "2012", the latest installment in the disaster film genre. While these flicks are often fun, they are less often any good. I like to have fun at the movies with explosions and karate and all of that, but overindulgent effects-driven movies leave me with a hunger that not even a $20 bag of cinema popcorn can sate. Besides, I find today's hyper-realistic images of destruction far more disturbing than entertaining. I'd prefer that someone bring back the cardboard carnage of Gamera movies...
The story that took the producers of "2012" kerjillions of dollars and more than two hours to realize was done better by the Fleischer brothers in a five minute cartoon in 1928. One of my favorite eras in animation is the late silent/early sound period, and back then the Fleischers were among the best. Few could match the draftsmanship and the daftness of their cartoons. After nearly a century, these cartoons still have boundless snap, pace, and energy. The thickly nibbed line of the characters preserved the look of the animation through countless reproductions of these film elements. Even an image quality robbing trip through the patented YouTube Image Grinder can't keep this pair down.
Koko the Clown and his dog Fitz circumnavigate the globe to find the control center for all the earth. A mischevious Fitz can't leave well enough alone, even betraying animated "reality" to bring about a Fleischer fuelled cataclysm. The last minute has some great real-world animation that folks would refer to as "Gilliam-esque" just a few decades too early. If you've never seen Koko, this animated end of days is one of his best silents. Who said that psychedelic insanity needs to be in color?