A collection of anthropomorphic fruit, vegetables, and animals board a giant seaplane to take a dreamy trip from Hawaii to Tahiti. We get a Polynesian history lesson from a sea horse as a part of the in-flight entertainment. Volcanoes entertain us at our destination. A snowman steals the plane after realizing it’s probably the dream of a pelican?
I almost wanna leave it at that.
Apparently this was a demo for the MSX2 computer system. It doesn’t look like there was anything actually interactive about it, so it isn’t quite in line with, say, a visual novel or adventure game. It’s a series of animated vignettes, all either fully rendered in computer graphics or some combination of that and recorded video. The copy that’s up on YouTube is a rip from its LaserDisc release, making this an 8-bit “movie” recorded onto an optical disc, and then digitally recorded and streamed online.
The only reasonable way to see this nowadays is several steps removed from its origins, and that’s pretty fitting given what it’s “about.”
If I had to compare this to something else relative to its time, I’d compare it to the animated skits from Pee Wee’s Playhouse. It isn’t just the talking bananas and general dada attitude, it’s also that weird sense of seeing someone else’s nostalgia through their personal filters.
It isn’t a constant thread in The Flying Luna Clipper, since not every vignette goes down this path, but there’s a lot of 50s/60s era tropical/tiki torch/jetsetting stuff going on. The sketch of a plot involves a rich tycoon bird dude longing for the “good old days” of leisurely air travel, and so he finds and buys a rare seaplane in order to set up luxury flights between Hawaii and Tahiti. Prospective travelers have to send in essays about their dreams, and only the biggest, boldest dreamers will be invited.
This eccentric whateveraire is projecting his own nostalgia upon a new era of viewers much in the same way that the creator is in this movie, and much in the same way Paul Reubens did with his kitch-ridden kids show. Much like how said tycoon wants to see the dreams of his potential customers, we’re also seeing these people’s dreams in their creations. It isn’t the actual dream, but the hazy, embellished, fictionalized version that makes it from mind to paper to screen.
Yeah, in a way, all fiction works that way, but The Flying Luna Clipper and similar stuff is explicitly about sharing our dreams and longing for things past, and by rendering them in something more “contemporary,” well removed from that original source, it’s all given this surreal feeling even beyond the actual strange, nonsensical narrative. It’s a bit like listening to someone explain a dream they had last night, except they’re also able to project images from that dream into your own mind. You aren’t have the same experience as they did, and you’re forced to fill in the holes in a different way, and maybe you’re filling in holes for things that actually happened in their mind, and the “reality” you’re getting is partly what they created in their initial mental patching. It’s creative “degrading,” like watching a fantasy transferred to a video game transferred to a LaserDisc transferred to a YouTube video.
The very fact act of breaking things down actually creates something new and unique that’s greater than the sum of its decaying parts, and when you start to see the bigger picture, all you want to do is hijack it and make it your own, just like how the snowman hijacks the plane at the end of the movie and flies off into the sunset to make it snow in Tahiti. What you get is unnatural– something that shouldn’t exist– and that’s exactly why you need it.
Watch this thing. It’ll make some sort of sense than my ramblings, which are yet another step or two removed from the whole ordeal. I doubt my additions are adding to that creative decay. Here’s a handy link to it: