Mar 11, 2015

Review: Another Froggy Evening (1995)

In 1955, Chuck Jones directed one of the greatest animated shorts of all time in One Froggy Evening. That's how we were all introduced to Michigan J. Frog, otherwise known as the frog with the greatest singing voice in history. Did we really need a sequel? Did we even want a sequel? Whether it was Chuck Jones who made the call or someone else at Warner Bros., we got one anyway forty years later as a sort of anniversary present. Well to be fair, Another Froggy Evening is in fact a prequel that aims to give a bit more back story to the origins of Michigan J. Still, Jones took a big risk with this one.

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Genre: animation, short, comedy
Directed by: Chuck Jones
Produced by: Linda Jones Clough, Chuck Jones, Stephen Fossatti
Written by: Don Arioli, Stephen Fossatti, Stan Freberg, etc.
Music by: George Daugherty, Cameron Patrick
Running time: 9 minutes
Production company: Chuck Jones Film Productions, Warner Bros.
Distributed by: Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Entertainment
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry

Starring: Jeff McCarthy, Joe Alaskey

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Synopsis


300,000 years ago, a caveman hunting for his dinner discovers a mysterious metal case underneath a rock. Inside the case is Michigan J. Frog (voice: Jeff McCarthy), a frog that can miraculously sing and dance. Thinking that he could become rich, the caveman gathers as many of his people as he can to have them watch Michigan perform. His big find doesn't budge or sing however and he ends up looking like a fool. The caveman quickly puts Michigan back in his case and discards it. This however doesn't stop other like-minded individuals in history from making the same mistake he did.

Review


Chuck Jones goes for a bigger is better mentality with Another Froggy Evening that takes Michigan J. Frog from the stone age to a desert island in what is probably the 1960's. There are also some stops in Ancient Greece and the American Civil War era in between as well. It pretty much looks like Michigan J. Frog is some kind of prankster who has it in for greedy people. Chuck Jones seems to have other ideas though as everything becomes clear by the end.

The animation is quite good and Michigan is as entertaining to watch as always. One key thing that does take away some of his charm however is that Bill Roberts isn't the one providing the vocals for our little green friend. Jeff McCarthy is the new guy and he does fine work. I just couldn't help but wish I were still listening to Roberts instead. Personally I think it would've been better to simply reuse the recorded vocals from Bill Roberts and go from there, but clearly that wasn't an option.

That's because Michigan J. Frog sings a few new songs. I really loved the ragtime songs from One Froggy Evening and I kind of felt that the news songs were a bit out of place as a result. It's true that singing "The Michigan Rag" doesn't make a whole lot of sense being sung in Ancient Greece, but One Froggy Evening suffers from the same problem of how Michigan could know some of his songs since they were written after his entombment in 1892. At this point, let's just all agree that Michigan is a magical frog and is aware of all music from all time periods. He just likes ragtime the best and that's what he should be singing.

Chuck Jones lines up Another Froggy Evening with a big joke at the end that I suppose that makes it a short worth seeing. If you're a big fan of One Froggy Evening, it definitely doesn't hurt to check it out. Still, it's nowhere near as impressive or fun as One Froggy Evening was and there's no way it could've been. Let's just leave Michigan J. Frog in his metallic case now, OK?

Rating


6/10

Related Reviews:

One Froggy Evening (1955)