Sunday, 24 March 2013

Animaland: The Ostrich

Another Animaland short from G-B Animation. The studio seems to have been stuck for inspiration with this one: the two ostrich characters owe something to the stars of the earlier short The Cuckoo, and for the climax the birds are downplayed in favour of a fantasy sequence featuring Egyptian hieroglyphics.


  1. The music bit was pretty amusing with the way they approached animating the artwork on the walls. A few Hollywood studios had tackled such a joke of it all appearing stiff and limited a few times before I think.

  2. I agree that this cartoon lacks any real story strand. It starts with the assertion that "the baby bird is born quite intelligent; but as he grows older, he also grows stupid." This leads to some reasonably good gags as the newly-hatched ostrich observes his father's stupidity - having accidentally got his head buried in the sand, the father continues to walk blindly forward until the son runs ahead and digs a hole with a ramp of sand leading out of it to raise his father's head to its proper altitude. That and the business of the father trying to extricate his head from a fork in a tree (after struggling helplessly to pull himself free he raises his head to a point where the fork is wide enough for him to freely remove it, in order to examine the situation from all sides - after which he places his head back at the bottom of the fork and resumes his attempts at pulling) are about as far as the storymen seemed able to go with this kind of storyline, and instead segue into the (obligatorily musical) heiroglyphic sequence where the father (presumably being too stupid to know that it is impossible) gets hooked up (literally) with a painted female ostrich and drawn into the freize on the wall of some Ancient Egyptian ruin. (Which poses the question 'where is the mother ostrich?' - the father apparently only sits on the egg at night...)

    The Egyptian sequence would have been better - or rather the 2-pose animation would have come across better - if the characters had been more stylistically rendered. As it is they are drawn in a rounded cartoon style that fails to convey the flat-on 2-dimensionality of Egyptian art, and so the idea doesn't quite come off. And the song "Don't hide your head in the sand" fails to really make its point (unlike the Cuckoo song in the earlier film) and seems just boringly repetitive.

    The pay-off gag (in escaping the 2-D world the father pulls the female ostrich into the 3-D world, only to find she still only has 2 dimensions, and flops over with her head in the sand: the father joins her, and, in an 'if you can't beat them' fit of despair the son tries the same thing - only to find the sand is too hard)
    is - like all the gags - well-integrated, developed and animated, but is just too weak to round off the meandering film satisfactorily.

    Though unnamed in the film, the ostriches were quickly given names for promotional purposes. The father was called Sandy, and the son was at first called Oswald. This was quickly changed to Oscar, probably to avoid confusion with Annette Mills' Oswald the Ostrich from 'Muffin the Mule'.

  3. marta de andres samaniego
    oswald ostrich