Building Entertainment: The Animated Films of the Walt Disney Studio. THURSDAY SPECIAL EDITION: A Goofy Movie

Welcome to my weekly discussion of the animated films of the Walt Disney Studio. I’m proceeding mostly chronologically. The title comes from a quote from Walt, “I never called my work an ‘art’ It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment.”

(Yes, this is actually from Disney Toon Studios, that’s why we’re doing this on a Thursday.

Title: A Goofy Movie

Year: 1995

Source materials : based on the Goof Troop television show

Box office: $35.3 million

Plot: It is the last day of school before the summer break. Max and his best friends, P.J. and Robert “Bobby” Zimuruski, hijack the auditorium stage in the middle of Principal Mazur’s speech, creating a small concert where Max performs, while costumed as the pop singer Powerline. The performance succeeds in making Max a school celebrity, but he, P.J., and Bobby are sent to Mazur’s office. While waiting outside of the office, Roxanne speaks with Max and agrees to go with him to a party where Powerline’s concert will be aired live.

Oblivious to Max’s plans with Roxanne, Goofy decides to take Max on a fishing trip to Lake Destiny, Idaho, following a map route he and his father took years ago, and the two go into his station wagon. Max stops by Roxanne’s house to call off their date, but when Roxanne says she will just have to go with someone else, Max panics and instead fabricates a story about his father knowing Powerline, telling her he will be on stage at the concert.

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Despite his son’s objections, Goofy plans his own trip, with initially disastrous results, leading to Max hurting his father’s feelings after being humiliated at an opossum-based theme park. While camping, Pete and P.J. join them. Following Pete’s advice to keep Max under control, Goofy takes his son fishing and performs the Perfect Cast fishing technique, luring Bigfoot to their camp. That night, while Goofy is asleep, Max alters the map route to Los Angeles, where the concert is taking place.

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The next morning, Goofy decides to make Max the navigator of the trip. The two go to several locations that satisfy both of them, and stop by a motel where they meet Pete and P.J. again. Pete overhears a conversation between Max and P.J., and reluctantly tells Goofy that Max has tricked him into traveling to Los Angeles. The next day, Goofy and Max come to a junction: one leading to Idaho, the other to California. After Max chooses the route to California, Goofy stops the car at the Grand Canyon and storm off in anger. With the brake loose, the car drives off on its own, leaving Goofy and Max to chase after it and ending up in the canyon.

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Goofy reveals that no matter how old Max gets, he will always be his son, and the two reconcile with each other. After learning that Max had promised Roxanne that he would be at the concert, Goofy decides to take him to Los Angeles. The two nearly plummet down a waterfall to their deaths, but Max fortunately saves Goofy, using the Perfect Cast technique. Goofy and Max get to Los Angeles, and while attempting to sneak backstage, they end up onstage and dance with Powerline, watched by Pete, P.J. and Roxanne on separate televisions.

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Goofy and Max later return to Roxanne’s house in their damaged car, where Max tells the truth to Roxanne; she accepts it and admits she always had feelings for him. Goofy’s car suddenly explodes due to the damage it has sustained, ejecting Goofy in the process, but he safely falls through the porch roof of Roxanne’s house, where Max proceeds to introduce him to Roxanne.

Background: A Goofy Movie was the directorial debut for Disney crew member Kevin Lima, who went on to direct the Disney films Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians and Enchanted.

“Instead of just keeping Goofy one-dimensional as he’s been in the past, we wanted to give an emotional side that would add to the emotional arc of the story. We wanted the audience to see his feelings instead of just his antics.” -Kevin Lima

Animation: The animation work was done at Walt Disney Animation France in Paris, France supervised by Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi, with additional scenes animated at Disney’s studio in Sydney, Australia under the direction of Steve Moore, and clean-up work done at the main Burbank studio. Additional clean-up/animation was done by Phoenix Animation Studios in Canada, and Digital ink and paint by the Pixibox studio in France

Songs: The score for A Goofy Movie was provided by Carter Burwell and Don Davis.

  • “I 2 I”
  • “After Today”
  • “Stand Out”
  • “On the Open Road”
  • “Lester’s Possum Park”
  • “Nobody Else But You”

Voice Cast:

Jason Marsden as Maximillan “Max” Goof. In addition to several voices on television he appeared in Tarzan, Spirited Away and Monsters University. Bill Farmer has been the voice of Goofy since 1987.

Kellie Martin as Roxanne. She is known for her roles as Rebecca “Becca” Thatcher in Life Goes On, Christy Huddleston in Christy, Lucy Knight on ER, Samantha Kinsey in Mystery Woman, and as Hailey Dean in the Hailey Dean Mystery series. Rob Paulsen as P.J. A prolific voice over actor, he is known for voicing “Corkey” from The Snorks, Raphael and Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Yakko Warner, Dr. Otto Scratchansniff, and Pinky from Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, Carl Wheezer from Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and Reuben in Lilo and Stitch.

Pauly Shore (uncredited) as Robert “Bobby” Zimuruski. He is best known for his roles in Encino Man, Son in Law, and Bio-Dome. Jenna von Oÿ as Stacey. She is best known for her role as Six LeMeure on Blossom and her role as Stevie Van Lowe on The Parkers.

Julie Brown as Lisa. She is known for her songs “‘Cause I’m a Blonde” and “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun” as well as writing producing and starring in Earth Girls are Easy. Tevin Campbell as Powerline. His hits include “Tell Me What You Want Me to Do”, “Can We Talk” and “I’m Ready.” He has earned 5 Grammy Award nominations, and has sold an estimated 3 million album copies worldwide.

Wallace Shawn as Principal Mazur. 1 Returning voices include Jim Cummings, Joey Lawrence, Frank Welker, Jo Anne Worley, Wayne Allwine, Pat Buttram, 2 and Pat Carroll.

Critical Reception: Siskel and Ebert both approved of the movie, praising the color scheme and the “sweet” father-son plot, and gave it three stars.

Legacy: A direct-to-video sequel to A Goofy Movie, titled An Extremely Goofy Movie, was released on DVD and VHS in 2000. The film centers Max’s freshman year in college. Characters that returned for the sequel were Goofy, Max, P.J., Pete and Bobby, but Roxanne, Max’s love interest, is absent from the sequel and is not referenced. Roxanne later appeared in the television series House of Mouse in the episode titled “Max’s Embarrassing Date”, where she was voiced by Grey DeLisle instead of Kellie Martin.

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And while none of the other characters appear in the park, Goofy meets in many places and has his own roller coaster, The Barnstormer.

My take: You have to like a film that pokes fun at its own parent company, as the possum park is a direct take on the Country Bear Jamboree in Disney World.

I also saw that Roxanne appeared in the first episode of the rebooted Duck Tales.

Next Week: PIXAR hits a home run at their first at bat