The Point (1971) – Difference Isn’t Matter

★★★★

I have a point, you have a point, everybody has a point. That is a lesson I learned, as an adult, when watching Fred Wolf’s “The Point”. Just imagine if a musician, one of the members of The Beatles, and an abstract animated movie about prejudice, merge into one? While most people have a vague memory of this film, especially they have watched it on their local TV, whether I have seen it or vice versa. It’s a television movie and part of the ABC Movie of the Week lineup from 1969 to 1976. It’s the first United States animated special aired during prime time.

While people forgot the movie, “The Point” holds an interesting element of animation as an art form. Jimmy T. Murakami and Fred Wolf were the people behind the movie. A lot of people remember Fred Wolf because of one of the famous commercials all the time, Tootsie Pop. Fred Wolf also participated in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Ducktales”. He created many various projects and became one of the most mysterious animators ever. “The Point” is based on a kid story which was conceived by Harry Nilsson and I thought it was The Beatles because the songs were familiar. It’s a story about prejudice, about understanding change, and accepting one another.

For a kid’s film, this is just one of the convincing films because adults can also understand what happens in this film. It’s a simple story compose with music by Nilsson, inspired by a psychedelic art like a drug trip. Most of the sequences also consist of a lot of surrealism elements especially the second act of the movie. The movie begins with a father (Dustin Hoffman and later Ringo Starr) choosing to read a story before going to sleep for his son. The boy isn’t very interested in books so he has the challenge to listen to the story and try to conclude what the story wants to convey.

This is where the movie begins, in the Land of Point. In such a land, everything has a point from a building, a mountain, scenery ranging from trees, plants, also people of all ages, whether children or adults, everybody has a point. Unless Oblio is born without having a point in his head like most of the kids. Oblio’s head is perfectly round without the slightest point. His dog, Arrow, and helps Oblio to adapt using Arrow’s point. One day, the Count’s son was angry because he dared to play and join the other kids. The Count’s son makes a challenge to Oblio. If Oblio loses, he doesn’t have to play with the kids anymore. And if he wins, you got the point.

Oblio won the challenge, making the Count’s son very angry. He also reported to his father, one of the greedy and sneaky points in the Land of Point. Therefore, the law judged and expelled Oblio in the Pointless Forest. Together with Arrow, Oblio learned a lot about an oddity in the forest. Why is it called the Pointless forest while the creatures in the forest have a point? He learns and realizes that being different doesn’t mean we are ashamed and try to hide it. “The Point” explores cynically, innocently, but to-the-point about the benefit of society.

For the 70s animated film, to tell you the truth, I’m aware if this is an animated movie. The style of the animation isn’t complex. Of course, it’s not for everyone especially if this movie aired on modern television. But, this is one of the most important movies for children. Indeed, the animation resembles images and imagery of drawings comes from children. This movie is very well-aged, especially for the current era. The movements were just a little bit awkward and out of place in a few frames. And the color is so trippy and unsightly very bright. Many of the character elements come with their own charming including the song by Harry Nilsson as well. I think this film inspired a lot of series such as “Adventure Time” and “Gravity Falls.

“The Point”, besides telling about prejudice through the narration within the narration, narrates a lot through music. It becomes an animated musical as well although it’s not Disney-like where all of the characters sing a lot. I’m not a fan of ballad and also don’t listen to country music too much. But, the music segment allows the story and message conveyed very well to the animated. It transfers the lyrics into a story about accepting and forgiving. On the other hand, not all the songs are memorable. There is just a bit of a song I like in this movie.

This is a 90-runtime movie. Therefore, the pace just dragged a little bit off. It’s too long to have to reach the point. The story is relatively simple but it would work better if this movie only played 60 minutes. There are many unnecessary sequences of the movie regardless it’s just an obstacle to the place between places so that the main character can move to the story. In a nutshell, “The Point” is an interesting experiment. It aged so well to the modern era, one of the most important movies both for adults and kids.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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