A Will Vinton Clayanimation
feature of astounding proportions, this 1985 film takes the viewer on a surreal journey through the works and philosphy of that great American satirist, Mark Twain
The film opens in 1910, where Twain, fed up with humanity and nearing the end of his life, constructs a fantastic flying machine, which he plans to use in order to collide with Halley's Comet. Not long after he sets out on his journey, he finds that three of his famous characters, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Becky Thatcher, have stowed aboard. He makes them part of his crew, and keeps them (and the audience) entertained with Claymation adaptations of several of his famous stories, including The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, and Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven. One of the most noteworthy sequences, in my mind at least, is when the kids stumble into a scene straight out of Twain's The Mysterious Stranger, where they join Satan (not THAT Satan, just his callous, rather unnerving angel nephew who bears the same name) in playing with animated clay dolls who live, quarrel, and die like humans. The journey to Halley's Comet comes to a head when Twain must confront his misanthropic dark side.
While sometimes a bit crowded, the colorful and often irreverent visuals and dialogue add to the experience. This films delves deep into the mind of one of American history's greatest authors, and comes up with some suprising insights. And that scene with "The Mysterious Stranger" still comes back to haunt me sometimes...