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 extremebuildings, 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.
One day, he beats the son of the evil Count at a game of Triangle Toss, the town's equivalent of football. The Count, who intends to have his equally evil son rule the village one day, sees Oblio's popularity as a threat and makes up his mind to get rid of Oblio. He uses the law of the land against Oblio, and the King has no choice but to exile him and Arrow to the Pointless Forestwhich, 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."
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: Mostly Averted. Despite being the only individual to not have a pointed head, Oblio is well liked by most of the townsfolk, with only a few select individuals actually showing any prejudice. The Count, however, takes this to extremes when he decides to have Oblio banished for being round-headed.
- Amoral Attorney: The Count acts as this when Oblio is put on trial for not having a pointed head.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: They do not consistently draw clothes. They also don't (consistently) draw what lies under them.
- A Boy and His X: Oblio and Arrow, the best of friends. Whenever Oblio plays Triangle Toss, where the object is to catch a triangle on one of your points, Arrow helps out by standing on Oblio's shoulders and catching the triangle on one of his own points.
- The Bully: The Count's son to Oblio. Hes as mean as his father and seems to be the only kid to be prejudiced against Oblio for not having a point.
- Character Development: The King starts out as a bit of a pushover, allowing the Count to walk all over him. However, when Oblio returns home, the King is more than willing to stand up to the Count.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: During the Triangle Toss game, the Count's son tackles Oblio, but Arrow catches the triangle anyway.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Every single song goes into an abstract sequence with very little relevance to the story.
- Evil Is Petty: His son gets beaten at a game, and what does the Count do? Banish the victor, of course.
- 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 someone lacking a point). When his son returns from his exile, he says these same words again, in a much happier voice than before.
- 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.
- Pun: "He's got a point there! (chuckle)"
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The King. He's clearly distraught when the Count forces him to banish Oblio to the Pointed Forest.
- Re-Release Soundtrack: Non-musical exampledue 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 1980s and 1990s.
- Visionary Villain: The Count intends to have his equally evil son rule the village one day. This is why the Count has Oblio banished to the Pointless Forest: so that Oblio's popularity won't be a threat to the leadership credibility of the Count's son.