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Destino (2003) – Animation Review

Written by: John Hench & Salvador Dali
Directed by: Dominique Monfery

My Advice: Don’t miss it.

Before he left the company his family founded, Roy Disney revived a project that had been dormant since 1945. In that year surrealist Salvador Dali and animator Walt Disney, under a shroud of secrecy, began work on “Destino.” Originally intended for use in a later Disney animated compendium, the project was constantly troubled. Dali and Disney were very good friends, yet their filmic collaboration was arduous. Both were artistic craftsmen with intense eyes for detail. Both were control freaks determined to have precision and syncopation in the film. In 1946, constantly bogged down by financial troubles, “Destino” succumbed to incompletion.

[ad#longpost]In 2001, Disney revived the project, connecting the dots between Surrealism and animation. The film’s musical score was completely remastered and rerecorded. Visually, Dali’s personal notes, paintings, storyboards and sketches provided a textural blueprint for the French animators charged with bringing this project to life. They took these designs and bore them flesh, resulting in bombastic animation of color and exquisite beauty. Dali’s images were then combined with more traditional Disney-esque human forms and foregrounds, creating a ten-minute film that is nothing short of breathtaking.

“Destino” is about as much of a story as you could expect from Salvador Dali. It tells the story of two lovers who must overcome physical and metaphorical barriers for their love to survive. The pair is destined to be together, but somehow just don’t quite connect in corporal shape and form. As they search undaunted from here to there in search of each other, they morph and contort from normal Disneyish animated features and forms to more extreme, exaggerated, Dali-like forms.

Artistically, there is a gentle interplay at work between styles, shapes and forms. The Dali–like creations, while being much more bizarre extreme and garish, are at home within the confines of the more timid and staid Disney surroundings. Likewise, there is energy as the Disney creations weave and meander through the unreal, dreamlike world of Salvador Dali. “Destino” is magical because two artistic mediums–animation and surrealism–collide, shift, bend and shape within each other, creating a weird but charming short film. These two mediums work on an equal plane here sculpting animation that is deeper and more intricate than anything either Dali or Disney have done before. Indeed, “Destino” has made these artists wholly inventive and refreshing.

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