Fun in Balloon Land
Fun in Balloon Land is an obscure 1965 American fantasy musical "film" apparently created by a balloon parade company Giant Balloon Parades, Inc. (the film is so obscure that there is no credited director or actors even on IMDb) for kid matinees.
The film can honestly be described as The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure if it was made in the 1960s, had an even lower budget, and have absolutely no story telling whatsoever. The film has the incredibly low score of 1.2 out of 10 on IMDb.
The film begins with a song about the supposed joys and wonders of Balloon Land; then the film really starts with a little boy named Sonny sitting on his mother's lap as she reads him a bedtime story. They both soon fall asleep, and Sonny has a dream of entering the titular Balloon Land, where he finds other kids who are also there, apparently under a curse that causes them to fall asleep. The only way to wake them is to have the prince balloon kiss the princess balloon. As they kiss, the kids wake up and get to experience ballerinas dancing around them.
Later, Sonny goes under the sea to meet the king of the sea, who invites Sonny to come to his palace. He accepts, and soon he's having fun playing tag with the undersea creatures. After that, Sonny plays the role of a cowboy trying to stop robbers from escaping. As soon as he fires his pretend gun, the screen fades to black, and then the film stops being about Balloon Land as it resorts to using stock footage of a 1965 Philadelphia Christmas-themed balloon parade that the company apparently did and takes up 40 minutes of the remaining 52-minute runtime.
In the parade, a narrator (or local citizen from the city; it's hard to tell because no one is credited on this film) tells us what each balloon is and comes up with a story for each of them. As soon as it ends, the film returns to Balloon Land with Sonny returning to his mother.
But wait! The film is still not over yet, as they decided to pad out the running time by including a game of remembering the names of the balloon characters and the narrator decides to also include a game of encouraging the kids to participate in the film by doing what the narrator says to do. After all that, the film finally ends with the text "The End" followed by the film's theme song being sung again, this time in past-tense.
Why It Sucks
- It barely even qualifies as a film because it uses stock footage of a 1965 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania balloon parade to pad out the running time as it takes up about 77% of the film, hence why we put "film" under quotations.
- Non-existent story.
- Horrible acting.
- Horrid songs: The opening song alone is so badly and creepily sung to the point that it is enough to cause nightmares. It's even worse in the ending because it is sung in past tense.
- The special effects are terrible even by 1960s standards; none of the balloon characters have animated mouths that make them look like they are talking, so the company makes them appear static and are obviously moved around by the film crew.
- Speaking of the balloons talking, whenever they do, it's obviously someone off the camera who does a bored sounding voice for them.
- It also could get incredibly confusing when the balloons are talking, because the balloons have no lip movement, the viewer won't know which one is talking, especially when there's other balloon characters in the same scene.
- The narrator sounds so bored and unenthusiastic that it's not hard for the viewer to fall asleep. (most of the time anyway; when she does get excited for a certain balloon, she sounds waytoo enthusiastic)
- Pretty much like the Oogieloves (unlike this film, however, the Oogieloves interact with the audience throughout the whole film), the film decides at the end to include 2 games of guessing the balloon character and interacting with the audience to do what the narrator asks them to do, only it's less effective because of the bored-sounding narrator.
- In the intro and outro, a lot of the words in the lyrics are capitalised for no reason.
- The entire film was initially registered as the identifier LP32099 on the copyright catalogues in 1966 and will not be expired until the first day of January 2061, 95 years after published with a notice, however most people (and companies) list this as public domain, because Gaint Ballon Parades is long gone.
- The MPAA (now as the MPA) didn't evaluate the film for approval, which means it doesn't have the MPAA number on the title card.
- Library of Congress, Copyright Office (1966), Catalog of Copyright Entries: Motion Pictures and Filmstrips (Parts 12-13), Wikimedia Commons.