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Western Animation / The Point

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Original cover art for The Point

"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.'"
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A 1971 more-or-less independent animated musical featuring songs from Harry Nilsson and many Disney Acid Sequences note  with animation by Jimmy Murakimi and Fred Wolf. It acts as a companion film to an album by Nilsson of the same name.

This story is framed as a father (voiced by Dustin Hoffman in the intial broadcast) reading a story to his son.

We begin in The Land of Point where the "law of the land" states that "everyone and everything must have a point." This is carried out to its logical extreme - buildings, animals, plants, and people are all "pointed" to the point that nothing in the entire town is round. Except our protagonist, Oblio, who was born round-headed. He copes by wearing a pointed cap, and he has help from his dog and best friend, Arrow. (Yes, Arrow is very pointy, especially in the muzzle.) He is generally tolerated by everyone in town, some Fantastic Racism abounds, but he is well liked by the other children and the good-hearted, but naive, King.

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One day, he beats the son of the evil Count at a game of Triangle Toss, the town's equivalent of football. In retaliation, the Count uses the law of the land against Oblio, and the village council has no choice but to exile him and Arrow to the Pointless Forest - which, strangely enough, is full of pointed trees. In the Pointless Forest, he meets the Pointed Man, who points in every direction (you see, "A point in every direction is the same as no point at all.") and seems to exist solely to convince Oblio that the forest and all of his experiences therein are pointless. Oblio also meets and sees other wonders, all of which lead him to understand that, as the Rock Man puts it, "You don't have to have a point to have a point. Dig?" Oblio completes his hero's journey, returns to the village, and teaches everyone the main Aesop: "Everything has a point, whether it shows or not."

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The movie is interspersed with songs, nearly all of which have little or nothing to do with the actual plot other than a line or two. This is totally excusable since the songs and the movie are both Moments of Awesome in the composer's body of work.


Pointed Examples (or pointless examples, depending on your point of view):

  • Aerith and Bob:
    • Some of the kids at the triangle toss game are named Harry or Fred. Our hero? Oblio.
    • Harry, Fred, and Richard are also the only named characters (besides Oblio and Arrow) in the entire film. IMDb trivia suggests they're references to Harry Nilsson, Fred Wolf, and Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr).
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Taken to extremes.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: They do not consistently draw clothes. They also don't (consistently) draw what lies under them.
  • Children Are Innocent
  • Disney Acid Sequence
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Arrow and the Count's son both fall victim to this during the triangle toss.
  • Ear Worm: "Me and My Arrow" comes to mind, but many tracks are like these.
  • Home Version Soundtrack Replacement: Non-musical example — due to Dustin Hoffman's contract stipulating that his narration could only be used for one airing, his voice had to be redubbed for subsequent airings. Alan Barzman was used for the first rebroadcast, Ringo Starr did the home video release and Alan Thicke did a version that was broadcast on cable during the 1980's and 1990's.
  • Kid Hero
  • Large Ham: Played to amusing results with the evil Count.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Oblio's father first greets him "Hi, Oblio. ...Hi, son.", it's said rather nervously (given this was the first time he saw his son missing a point). When his son returns from his exile, he says these same words again, it's happier than before.
  • The Musical
  • Name's the Same: The "Rock Man" in this special predates the other "Rockman".
  • No Indoor Voice: The Count spends much of his screentime angrily shouting and bawling at the other characters. It even gets lampshaded near the end of the film, when the King has to tell him to shut up so that Oblio can tell his story.
  • Not So Different: Heroic variant)
  • Pinball Protagonist: For most of the film.
  • Pun: "He's got a point there! (chuckle)"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The King.

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