The Other Side of Animation 38: Go West! A Lucky Luke Adventure Review

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So, on The Other Side of Animation, we have seen a lot of animated films that try to capture that old Tex Avery and Looney Toons-style of speed and comedy. It has worked for some, from the more subtle physical comedy of Ernest & Celestine, to the overly hyper Cool World. It can be a tricky line from either being really good comedic animation to being mentally draining to watch. You have to pretty much pick and choose when to make the animation work, and not be an eye sore on the viewer. Today’s review is a film that straddles that line. Go West! A Lucky Luke Adventure is a French animated film based off of the popular long-running franchise that was released back in 2007. It was also a part of the 32nd Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and was in the same year as Nocturna and Sita Sings the Blues. You can guess correctly that Sita Sings the Blues won, but how is Go West!? Well, let’s find out.

The story follows our main cowboy hero Lucky Luke. He arrives in a city to oversee the Dalton brothers, four brothers who end up breaking loose from jail and going down a street of banks robbing them. After a creative car chase and great slapstick, Luke and the Daltons get wrapped up in helping out a caravan of people. They make it to California to acquire a piece of land that will otherwise be owned by a greedy individual. Can Luke make sure all goes well?

Well, let’s get the good out of the way first, since there are some great elements to the film. For a film based on a popular license, you would think no effort would be put into the animation. Luckily, this is French animation and not American animation, because the 2D animation for Go West is fantastic. It’s good fluid cartoony animation that made me think of some elements from Looney Toons, Ren and Stimpy, and Tex Avery cartoons. There was no time where I felt like the animation felt out of place. Even though slapstick can be done poorly these days, the slapstick is admirable here since it, for the most part, feels genuine and thought out. It might be a bit too cartoony for the physical timing, but it’s pretty enjoyable, especially in the first 16 minutes of the film. Speaking of those 16 minutes, that is probably the best part of the movie. It’s like a longer version of the great chase sequence from Ernest & Celestine, but with a Looney Toons flare. It’s a creative chase to try and get the Daltons from stealing the money.

With all that said, this is one of the few French films I have found to be a disappointment in many ways. After the 16-minute mark, the film becomes boring and tiring. Due to the fluid cartoony animation, it becomes too busy at points, and it feels like it’s trying to be funny all the time. A lot of gags and jokes fall flat. Why do they fall flat? Well, because a majority of the characters, besides Lucky Luke himself, are stupid. Comedy doesn’t work if everyone is acting the same. It comes off of the interaction between two or more different characters. That’s why it works in Pinky and the Brain or Tom and Jerry because the two duos are different in terms of personalities. The stupidity of the characters also leads to there being no real threat, since like I said, the characters are not that bright. The film also feels like it had no real plot to begin with, and tries to fill it out with slapstick and character quirks that don’t work. I can’t feel invested with a lot of the characters besides Lucky Luke. I also found some of the logic to not be executed well. Why would one of the Daltons get really upset at his brother for cleverly hiding the stolen money inside the balls and chains that were attached to them? I feel like that’s a creative plan. I also found a lot of the characters forgettable. I don’t remember any of them. Even most animated comedies try to make you care about the characters.

It’s such a shame that so much effort went into the animation, but the story fell flat. I mean, if this is what the original source material was like, then that’s fine, but it doesn’t really attract or appeal to anyone outside of the fan base. You should always make a good movie first, than worry about the fan base. This is why films like Ratchet & Clank are not working. And yes, we will get to Ratchet & Clank at a later date. Go West is not a horrible movie by any means, at least it had a few memorable parts, but unless you want to own every animated film released in the states, then you are better off finding the full English version on YouTube than going out and finding a copy of the film to own. I can also understand if this was made for a younger audience in mind, but wouldn’t you rather make a movie everyone can see? I know sometimes it’s best to make a movie geared toward one crowd, but sometimes, it’s good to make it all around enjoyable. Well, let’s move onto something different. How about an animated short film called The Monk and the Fish? Thanks for checking this article out! I hope you liked it, and see you all next time!

Rating: Rent It

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