Here are three cartoons that Paul McCartney backed and scored. They are all lovinglycrafted, even if they don’t always work at the narrative level. “Tropic Island Hum” and “Rupertand the Frog Song” are the weakest (though again, they look stunning). They are little more thanvisually lush excuses to set up underwhelming musical numbers (which tend to reinforce theimpression that McCarney is a creatively spent force in this department). The former apes thelook of classic musical shor…s of the 40s, but has little of the loosey-goosey energy of its models.The latter, which revives a character from a popular British children’s comic strip, doesn’t goanywhere much with this revival. The middle film, “Tuesday,” on the other hand, is a delight.One night, a multitude of frogs levitates on lily pads, and the gently surreal image is played out toits fullest. That this piece is taken from a children’s book, and so the narrative arc was not left toMcCartney and his team, may account for its being so much better than its companions.McCartney also does a number of the voices here, to rather uneven effect.
The 5.1 audio has very lively surround effects (when they are called for). Some of theplacement isn’t always appropriate (with sounds emerging from the rear speakers when they haveno business doing so), but generally speaking the environmental effects are quite good. For themost part, the sound is music, however. While the music has a fine, clear sound, it is rather rear-heavy, and loses some energy for that reason.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is a visual feast. The colours are impressive,ranging from the brilliant contrasts of “Tropic Island Hum” to the muted yet lush evening shadesof “Tuesday.” There is grain in the Rupert piece, but this strikes me as more deliberate than anactual flaw.
McCartney talks about the shorts, their making and his plans for future projects in a short,but interesting interview. There are decent Making-of featurettes for “Tropic Island Hum” and“Tuesday” — each is about 12 minutes long, and quite informative. There are also line tests,layouts and storyboards for the entirety of all three films. Finally, there are fairly extensive linernotes. The menu is fully animated and scored, and its intro is irritatingly protracted (I think mostkids have a grasp on how to operate a DVD).
An interesting and attractive, if uneven, collection of films. McCartney would like to turn“Tropic Island Hum” into a feature, but I can’t see that the story would benefit from being anylonger than it is.
Special Features List
- Interview with Paul McCartney
- Making-of Featurettes for “Tropic Island Hum” and “Tuesday”
- Line Tests, Storbyards and Layouts
- Linter Notes