It’s a rare treat to see a world premiere of feature length animation at a small film festival, especially one with voice talents on the scale of Sir Sean Connery and Alan Cummings. Many festival-goers (including me) lined up to see “Sir Billi” at the Sonoma International Film Festival last Friday evening. From the looks on everyone’s faces after the film (and those who’d escaped half-way through to the rose garden in the Plaza), most of us wanted the last two hours of our life back.
For starters, the computer animation in Sir Billi made PacMan look like Avatar. I guess I missed the homage to Connery’s James Bond films in the beginning with the curvaceous, busty silhouettes of heavily armed women striking poses against a background of flames. Instead, what I got were half-finished, animated sihouettes of Bette Midler dancing across melting celluloid. Each of the female characters in Sir Billi – including the bush pilot who was, incidentally, a duck –was drawn with a 40DD bust. One of them sounded exactly like Mrs. Potato Head from the Toy Story movies. Maybe that was another subtle homage I missed – to Pixar, perhaps? But it left me wondering what Mrs. Potato Head would be doing in Canterness.
If the animation wasn’t bad enough, the story finished the movie off. I sensed some sort of Shrek/Donkey, Frodo/Sam Gamgee thing was going on between Sir Billi and his faithful pet – an openly gay goat dressed in a yellow spandex jump suit who peed on the floor because he thought he was a dog. The goat’s outfit–well, the only thing I could think of was that the spandex suit solved the problem of what to do with his goatly man-bits since he happened to walk erect, like a biped. Sir Billi, who was supposed to be a vet, was dressed like a crab fisherman.
This is how the movie is summarized on IMDB:
“An aging, skateboarding veterinarian Sir Billi goes above and beyond the call of duty fighting villainous policemen and powerful lairds in a battle to save an illegal fugitive – Bessie Boo the beaver! An heart warming and action packed family movie where thrilling car chases, heroic skydiving and daring stunts from this octogenarian, fueled with encounters with a hostile submarine, will keep you at the edge of your seat! Everyone wants a grandpa like Sir Billi, the Guardian of the Highlands!”
Here is my synopsis:
An eccentric crab fisherman lives with his incontinent goat-partner in the Scottish Highlands where they race against time and a pyschopathic Chitty-Citty Bang Bang Beaver-Catcher to rescue two stuffed animal carnival prizes that fall into a raging river after being thrown off the Disneyland log ride by Bette Midler and a rabbit with bangs. Afterwards, in a pub, the Solid Gold dancers celebrate the rescue of Bessie Boo, the last “stinking beaver in Scotland.” Chris Rock scratches his balls while wearing a kilt. Juan Valdez makes a cameo.
Apparently, the private dinner at the Swiss was the real story of the evening. I, sadly, was still recovering.