635. A Wish for Wings That Work – Skip Jones

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SUMMARY: Opus the Penguin makes a Christmas wish that he could have wings that allow him to fly.

WHY IT’S HERE: Based on Berkeley Breathed’s book of the same name, a spin-off from his comic strip ‘Bloom County’, ‘A Wish for Wings That Work’ is a Christmas special made by Steven Spileberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Like the excellent TV work Amblin were doing around this time (including ‘Tiny Toon Adventures’ and ‘Animaniacs’), ‘A Wish for Wings That Work’ is a witty, nicely animated short with a cynical sense of humour and quirky characters. Although he wrote the script himself, Breathed was reportedly extremely unhappy with the film, saying that it didn’t accurately reflect his humour and that they could have done a lot better. As someone who is not familiar with Breathed’s work, I really enjoyed the film on its own merits and many Breathed fans disagreed with him and also rated the film highly. ‘A Wish for Wings That Work’ follows the adventures of Opus the Penguin in his attempts to fulfil his wish to fly. A Christmas themed cartoon, ‘A Wish for Wings That Work’ does not feel especially festive but plays well at any time of year. Although Opus is an enjoyable central character, the short is stolen by Bill, a brain-damaged cat who lumbers around in a semi-catatonic state. Also look out for the briefest of vocal cameos by Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman as the kiwi and Milquetoast the Cockroach respectively. Spielberg was able to secure the talents of these major stars by virtue of the fact that he was working with them on ‘Hook’ at the time.

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