Ralph Bakshi’s American Pop — I love a good movie...

posted October 16, 2002 by Jenn


I know this post is under the U.S. Comics heading but since we don't have a section for movies and this is an American movie...here it is.

I think the movie American Pop is really something to see. It drew my interest for 1) the animation and 2) the story. First of all, the director of this movie is the same guy who did Fritz the Cat, an animated version of Lord of the Rings and Wizards; I'm speaking of Ralph Bakshi. I'm not at all familiar with the methods he uses to get his animations to be so very...LIFELIKE, for a lack of a better term. Best thing I can do is describe it: it's like he filmed the scenes with actors first then put animated characters and backrounds overtop, following every movement, every nuance exactly. The style is just so different from everything else out there, it's a nice break away from stuff like anime, Disney and 3D animated features and shorts. (And before I get spoken to about that former statement, take note that I happen to like all of the above; it's just that's generally what I end up watching most.)

About the story: If talent ever had a will of its own, it'd be well represented by the story in American Pop. A young boy is gifted with musical talent that seems to search for the perfect successful expression through four generations of people, following American popular culture and music from the turn of the 1900s to the days of late 1900s rock-stardom. It was interesting to follow this spark of talent through the lives of these people and to see what they do and won't do to have that talent realized.

Also, I don't want to leave out the fact that this movie did a pretty good sum-up of the varying forms of popular music from the early to late 1900s. As a fan of many kinds of music from many times and eras, I found the soundtrack to be nearly complete. It covered swing, blues, rock'n'roll, acid, beatnik, vaudeville...not bad at all. What disappointed me was that funk, disco and motown were virtually left out. Granted, the character's path at the time wouldn't have taken him deeply into those types of music. However, the movie did a good job touching on all other types from other decades. There was at least some mention of the music, a sound clip, a small video clip, something. There was little to no mention of funk, disco or motown. Otherwise, the musical history of the US is more or less complete.

'S a good movie. I recommend seeing it at least once. And, with all that said, I'm going to sleep.