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Western Animation: The Magic Voyage
You remember that part in history class when these guys helped Christopher Columbus out in his travels...right?

The Magic Voyage (originally Die Abenteuer von Pico und Columbus or "The Adventures of Pico and Columbus") is an animated feature from Germany that is... loosely based off the voyages of Christopher Columbus. You know, the sailor who wanted to prove the world was round — not find an easier trade route from Europe to Asia, which is surely a far harder concept for children to grasp (for the record, the ancient Babylonians already knew that the Earth was round).

Columbus also wished to help his best friend, a woodworm who never stops talking, rescue his girlfriend. His girlfriend is a Fairy Princess from a Magical Land on the moon, and she was stolen away by an evil swarm of bugs. The Swarm brought her to the new world, where Columbus and the worm finally find her held captive in an Aztec-looking pyramid full of honey. Columbus destroys the evil Swarm, and the native people celebrate his ridding their home of the terrible evil. Columbus and his annoying bug friend sail back home with visions of big cities and shopping malls dancing in their heads.

Surely, you remember all of this from your grade-school history lessons?

Basically, this is the movie that makes Titanic: The Legend Goes On look perfectly reasonable in comparison.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Averted with Queen Isabella. Characters in typical animation would be frightened to have that woman pursuing them. Christopher Columbus, however, even when he ISN'T drunk, seems to enjoy it quite a bit, shifting from very fluid and insane animation to Saturday cartoon level often within the same scene.
  • Anachronism Stew: Particularly when Columbus is in the jungle - "I need to start going to the gym!" Or (hearing a tribal beat) "That's going to hit over big someday."
    • Another example is when Pico fights the rats he says "I learned this move from watching Woody Woodpecker cartoons."
  • Animation Bump: In several spots, going from Limited Animation to rather fluid animation and visa versa during the same scene .
  • Anti-Hero: All over the place - Christopher, while a very nice person, is motivated by lust and greed, the sea gull wants to eat Pico, and the rats are only interested in the cheese and only change their mind at the last second (the brown one at least).
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: "You stole our idol! Destroyed our sacred temple! And... made squishy with the Swarm Lord... How can we ever thank you?"
  • Artistic License – Biology: A shark growls at one point
  • Artistic License – Geography: Possibly in many ways, but lampshaded in the case of Bob the Beaver: "What's a beaver like you doing on a tropical island?".
    • The film implies that New York City is a tropical island!
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Of course, there was no hive mind of insects terrorizing the Native Americans for Columbus et al. to save, and their real relationship was far more strained.
    • In the film, Pico tells Columbus the world is round, and he sets out on his voyage to prove this. In reality, no one really thought the Earth was flat at this point. The Egyptians figured it out ages ago. The journey to India was to establish a trade route. Columbus incorrectly thought the Earth was significantly smaller than it was, which was what he was going to prove with the voyage.
  • Award Bait Song: Heaven Is by Al Jarreau.
  • Bold Explorer: The heavily fictionalized Columbus himself, of course.
  • Captain Obvious: After exclaiming within his dream that, "This must be... a dream!" Columbus then lands on the floor below his bed and says "Oh... It was a dream."
  • Clothing Damage: And not the cool kind, either.
  • Damsel in Distress: Marilyn.
  • Death Is Cheap: At least for moon fairies.
  • Deranged Animation: And how.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The dreams.
  • Disney Death: Marilyn supposedly drowns in a river and the worm finds her lifeless body, but she's revived as soon as the sun rises... but isn't she a Moon Fairy?
  • Evil Chancellor: Subverted, see What Happened to the Mouse? below.
  • Fairy Sexy: Marilyn.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • It starts with the dinner scene when Queen Isabella and Columbus get drunk and start flirting with one another ("There's a lot of exploring to do right here!"), moves on to some sailors asking why Columbus is talking to "his little worm", and goes further and further downhill from there.
    • invoked Pico seems to quietly utter God's name in a few instances which, while acceptable for a children's film in the original German, is less so for a U.S. release.
    • In one dream sequence, the awkward animation makes it appear as though Columbus is pulling a spy glass out of his crotch.
    • In one scene, Columbus is nearly hanged by his crew. And by nearly hanged, we mean they've already hoisted him up high in the air by the neck, and Columbus is holding onto the noose for dear life.
    • Marilyn's "death" scene.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
    • Tiger is Christopher Columbus!
    • And Mickey Rooney is the narrator!
  • Hive Mind: The Swarm Lord
  • Hong Kong Dub: The English voice-actors (the leads are voiced by Dom De Luise and Corey Feldman, which gets awkward) don't even try to match the Mouth Flaps, so most of the time the characters will say a bunch of lines without moving their mouths.
  • Kavorka Man: Queen Isabella is a Kavorka Woman
  • Lull Destruction: Take a shot when the worm says "Wow, this is cool!" It may be the only way to survive. In fact, the whole movie never shuts up, though maybe the German original was a little more quiet. At one point Pico the woodworm and the fairy are having a "romantic" scene and the voice actors are just muttering completely random nonsense, completely independently of the lip-syncing (or lack thereof).
  • Mayincatec: The Aztec temple with a gold idol on what turns out to be Manhattan Island.
  • Mind Screw: Barring the whole movie, Columbus running around the jungle in his underwear is a little bit mind-boggling.
    • His dream sequence is both a Mind Screw and deeply uncomfortable to watch.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: There is a beaver on a tropical island
  • No Accounting for Taste: Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The king will try to open his mouth, and his wife's response is "Shut up.".
  • Noisy Nature: The shark who sounds just like a Mountain Lion is just icing on this giant WTF Cake.
  • Non Sequitur Thud: Columbus, after a rough landing on the Americas: "I, whoever I am, claim this land in the name of... What's-her-name.".
  • Off Model: It's often quite clear where the animators got lazy.
  • Random Events Plot: The Fairy is only the most obvious among the many plot points that come totally out of left field.
  • Sanity Slippage: Columbus starts losing his mind as the movie goes on.
  • Small Annoying Creature: Pico
  • Smug Snake: The Swarm Lord
    • Also, the chancellor comes off as this, even though he only makes one appearance
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Columbus seems to be the only human who can hear the animals talk. This is only apparent when other humans think he's nuts.
  • Those Two Guys: It seems as though the three rats were originally intended to be a sort of Terrible Trio. Instead they just wander in and out of the movie looking for food.
  • Throw It In: No one can know for sure, but this would efficiently explain some of the painfully senseless dialogue and Lull Destruction.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Columbus can be this sometimes.
    • Allowing a woodworm aboard a ship made of wood.
    • Sticking his hand into fire.
    • Or thinking that singing about sailors being eaten by a sea serpent would boost the morale of his crew.
  • Trouser Space: During his Dream Sequence, Columbus pulls a spyglass out of his nuts.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: And how!
  • Visual Innuendo: The telescope in Columbus' dream sequence.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the third rat?
    • It was Hand Waved in his case. One of the rats says something to the effect of "The swarm lord knocked Rizzo out cold!".
    • Also, halfway through the movie a strange-looking fourth crew member suddenly appears, then disappears just as quickly.
      • Then at the end of the movie, he appears again, and then disappears again. Meaning it was subverted twice.
    • The obviously evil-looking advisor to the King looks like will be a villain, but after Columbus sets sail we never see him again.
  • Wingding Eyes: Columbus in the last act of the movie. What the animators were going for, there is no way of knowing, but suddenly his obsession with gold seems to be correlated with deranged swirling eyeballs.
  • The Worm That Walks: The Swarm Lord.


Laura's StarGerman SeriesMainzelmännchen
Maid In ManhattanTropeNamers/FilmThe Magnificent Seven
Magical Girl Lyrical NanohaAnimated FilmsMake Mine Music
The LoverFilms of the 1990sMalcolm X

alternative title(s): The Magic Voyage
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