LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Animal House
In the late 1970s, there were two films that caught fire and drove teenagers to the theaters, Star Wars and Animal House. One was a film of good and evil. Of hope against oppression. The other was a space opera.
Animal House a story of good and evil? Sure. Animal House takes place in that awkward time between the 1950s and the turbulent days of the '60s. Faber College is stuck in the white bread conformity of the '50s. You do what you're told and kiss the administration's butt or you're out. On this campus is the Delta fraternity. Delta marches to the beat of a different drummer. The Deltas see college as a time to party, to play pranks, and to score with girls. Next door are the Omegas who kiss ass, and try to push people around in their preppy sweaters. A war of good versus evil ensues, the Deltas being good and the Omegas and the establishment being evil.
Well, that's about it on morality in this film. Animal House is every adolescent's fantasy about what college is. Toga parties, practical jokes, and hazing freshmen -- college is not about studying and growing up. In the Deltas' eyes, this is their last chance to have fun with their lives. Unfortunately Animal House just kind of wanders around as a movie. The narrative is weak. It appears as a series of five-minute skits that have been strung together. Most of the skits have no real impact on the storyline. In this regard Animal House can be hard to follow.
The plus for this film, is some of the gags. This is arguably John Belushi's second-best film. His wandering through the lunch room counter, stealing food, and sucking down a plate of Jell-O in one gulp is hilarious. Belushi is the fantasy character every repressed boy wants to be. He's free without conscience getting in the way. He's unmotivated to do anything but have fun. He's been in college seven years.
The Deltas lose this battle in the war against evil, but not without a valiant fight. In the closing moments of the film, we are told what became of the principal characters. The Deltas became leaders, Belushi's character a senator. The Omegas were people who went to Vietnam and were killed by their own troops.
Animal House is a middle-of-the-road film. It certainly could have been a much better written film.
Directed by John Landis
Released in 1978
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo