Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hercules: NOT the Disney version!

Is this the worst animation in recorded history?

I have a certain fascination with "worsts", though it's often a matter of personal opinion just what constitutes a worst. But this must be one of them.

I mean.

I found this animated Italian version of Hercules several years go, then promptly forgot all about it. I think I featured it in my Festival of Bad Animation at some point, but it was only a snippet. This is an attempt to make three 45-second gifs from it (nine full-length ones in all, a real spectacle) representing the "highlights" of the story, which isn't really a story at all but a series of vignettes vaguely based on some kind of Greek myth about somebody. (Don't worry about sound, or the lack of it, because the soundtrack is completely unintelligible anyway). This thing makes the old Trans-Lux TV series The Mighty Hercules look like high art.

Though I had a few excerpts, I wasn't able to track down the whole movie for the longest time, because I kept searching under Hercules and getting that wretched Disney version. I finally took a screenshot of one of the videos, put it through Google reverse image, and matched it to another video I didn't know about, and found the magic word in the description that unlocked the mystery.


No, not "bingo". Dingo is the name of the animation studio which turned out this baffling thing, and many others which are almost worse. Armed with that information, I found the whole movie in Italian, without subtitles (for don't the characters tell the story? Sort of), plus another version dubbed in Finnish! 

This is an international production, obviously, for Dingo Pictures isn't Italian OR Finnish.  After a lot of digging around, I was able to find this snippet on an animation fan site:

Dingo Pictures is a German animation company, consisting of the husband and wife team Ludwig Ickert and Simone Greiss. The studio is infamous for creating traditionally-animated cartoons based on fairy tales and concepts plagiarizing the works of Disney, Pixar, Don Bluth, and DreamWorks. These cartoons are highly regarded as some of the worst animated films ever, with extremely low-budget animation,  disjointed plot lines that almost always go nowhere, repetitive dialogue, reuse of music and sound effects, lack of dub actors (usually two voice actors, one male and one female, in some cases only one), and shoddy character design, often looking as if it were traced from another cartoon.They have gained a cult following over time.

One of the most bizarre Disney ripoff appearances in this movie is Pongo, the leading dog of 101 Dalmatians. No kidding, right in the middle of Greek mythology we have this handsome spotted dog sitting there, totally out of place, and - yes - looking very much like he has been traced. I was also to discover - oh, this just gets worse and worse - that they DID do a ripoff of that movie, called Dalmatians, a pastiche of every dog movie ever made, including Lady and the Tramp, Rin Tin Tin, and Lassie Come Home. 

Though it does not quite sink to the rock-bottom level of Paddy the Pelican, which looks like a pencil test for something which was never actually made, Hercules is still pretty bad, with lots of laughs to get you over the boring parts. And there ARE boring parts. Believe me.