Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Freddy as F.R.O.7 (1992):
An international cast of stars, headed by Ben (Gandhi) Kingsley, lend their voices to this disturbingly irrational animated adventure. Freddy is an enchanted frog who evolves into a six-foot tall, talking, singing, sports car driving, cap and ascot-wearing secret agent for Her Majesty's government. Along the way he meets the various mystical musical mutants, including the Loch Ness Monster. Freddy is the Eraserhead of big screen cartoons.
Freddie flopped. It received poor reviews in its home country, the United Kingdom, and despite huge media coverage of the making of the film on television and huge publicity, the public just weren't interested in the concept. A sequel, Freddie Goes To Washington was already in the works long before this film was released, but because of the poor performance at the box office, the project was shelved, never to be seen or heard of again.
Another impact to its fall was that it was made by an independent company, Hollywood Animation Studios. At the time, Disney was at its peak with its new releases, meaning other companies, such as Sullivan Bluth Studios (known for An American Tail and The Land Before Time) couldn't compete with the popularity of Disney.
The fact the film was a flop in the UK meant that overseas, the distributors released the film straight to video. An alternate version in the United States, not released until three years later, includes a title change (Freddie The Frog) and a new narration from James Earl Jones. Parts of the animation were also cut, including that of Freddie transforming Messina into a buzzard, and an almost entire song from the UK version was trimmed, replaced with a narration that was dubbed over by Jones. The film has more recognition in the States, and while some have praised the film, others either refer to it as a bad animated movie or a nasty acid trip. Despite this, it is still a very little known animated film, which to this date has never been released on DVD.