** Professor, for a formatted version of this paper, please follow this link
If you wish to read it from this blog, click on any one of the image icons to load them all. Please email me my grade when you get the chance.
The World of the Goof – Extreme Physics in “An Extremely Goofy Movie”
“An Extremely Goofy Movie” is a feature-length, 2D animated Disney film released in 2000. It follows Goofy’s son, Max, and his freshmen year at college, which is unexpectedly interrupted when Goofy enrolls at the university as well. The crux of the film surrounds the College X-Games, in which Max and his father find themselves on opposing teams. Ultimately, though, the competition brings the two closer together, and Max learns to accept his father for who he is.
The animators at Walt Disney Pictures used extreme squash and stretch, exaggerated paths of action, and feats of balance seemingly unaffected by gravity, in order to create either a comedic or dramatic effect. Goofy, especially, seems to live and operate in his own bubble of absurd physical laws, wherein each extreme physical feat is accompanied by the well-known Goof holler: “yaaaaaaa-hoo-hoo-hooey!!”
In the first instance of extreme squash and stretch, Goofy is being dropped into a skateboard ramp. One of his teammates picks him up by the neck, holds him out over the ramp, and lets go. In a very Wile E. Coyote-esque moment, everything below Goofy’s neck extends downwards rapidly for about seven frames – using the formula for calculating distance fallen from an apex (distance in inches = number of frames x number of frames x 1/3 inch) we learn that he travels roughly one and one sixth feet, while his head remains in place for approximately eight frames, with a total hang time of just under one third of a second.
Based on the fact that an X-Games ramp is about twenty feet tall, we can estimate that Goofy is approximately 6’ 6”. After his teammate releases him off the ramp, it takes six frames for him to fall his entire body height. His height of 6’ 6” is 78 in (d), his fall time of six frames is equivalent to ¼ s = t (1 frame = 1/24 s). Goofy’s speed can be determined by using d = vt → v = d/t, v = 78/.25, v = 312 in/s which converts to 26 ft/s or 17.7 mph. One must accept that Goofy can travel at such an extreme speed (normally unachievable in our own world, especially since he is only falling roughly twenty feet), and that his extreme elasticity is physically possible, in order to appreciate the delay and intended comedic effect of the situation.
More exaggerated examples of squash and stretch can be seen every time Goofy finds himself riding a bicycle. In one instance, Goofy is training for the College X-Games by riding a stationary bike. As he pedals, his upper body stretches up and squashes back down repeatedly; the faster he pedals, the more rapidly his torso undergoes squash and stretch. The effect looks similar to that of a rubber band being stretched and relaxed repeatedly.
A similar effect occurs when Goofy races a bmx bike over a series of small hills. As the bike descends each decline, Goofy’s torso and head stay at the height of the hill’s apex, while his legs stretch downwards with the bike; his body reacts much like an accordion.
Overall, the the exaggerated squash and stretch – though unrealistic and physically impossible in our own world – allows for the viewer to get a sense of how silly Goofy’s physicality truly is, as well as serving to add texture to the timing and to enhance the comedic effect in specific situations.
A further indicator of the altered physics in Goofy’s world is balance – an element continually manipulated in order to achieve an extremely goofy sense of reality. In the film’s opening scene, Goofy and his friend Pete are having a good-bye party for their sons Max and P.J., who are getting ready to leave for college. Goofy is standing on a short stool while attempting to hang up a “Good Luck!” banner, but soon realizes that he needs one more piece of tape. Spotting the roll resting on a nearby picnic table, Goofy stretches forwards to grab it, but cannot reach it without the banner falling down. In order to remedy this, Goofy stretches his left leg up vertically so that his foot pins the banner against the wall, while the toes of his right foot rest on the edge of the stool. He stretches both arms, head, and torso forwards horizontally towards the picnic table in an attempt to reach the tape.
However, Goofy’s right (weight-bearing) leg is unbent, thus thrusting his center of gravity forward of his base of support. This, coupled with the fact that his chest, head, and both arms are also stretched passed both his center of gravity and base of support, would cause Goofy to tumble off of the stool and onto the ground – but since he is operating in his own physical realm, he is able to remain in balance and finally grasp the roll of tape with his fingertips.
Later, Max finds himself in a similarly exaggerated balancing act. During the first round of the College X-Games, Max skateboards up to and out of the top of a ramp, repositions the skateboard so that it lands vertically on the lip of the ramp, and is able to balance himself on it with only one hand. His body is positioned vertically, with his head down and feet up in the air. His right hand grasps the tip of the board, with arm unbent, while his center of gravity is extended away from and parallel to the board, as well as the base of support, and his left arm is extended out to his side.
With normal laws of physics in play, Max would surely come crashing down. But because the trick must be extreme enough for Max to earn more points for his team, who is behind on the score boards, the balancing act must work simply because it has to move the story along, especially to enhance the drama of the moment.
Another instance of extreme balance is when Goofy and one of his teammates are riding on the back of Max’s skateboard, which is moving at about 107.38 mph, towards the finish line in the last leg of the final competition. In order to give Max the boost of speed he needs to move up to first place, Goofy and his teammate leap off of the back of the skateboard, thus decreasing total mass and increasing total velocity. However, it would be impossible for them to jump off of a skateboard traveling at 107 mph without falling (without also knocking Max off of the board), and furthermore, they at no point show any signs of recoil or loss of balance (despite the fact that their bases of support were out of alignment with their centers of gravity, and were exiting in the opposite direction of a forward moving vehicle.) But since the scene centers around Max winning the race and “beating the bad guy,” something like an exaggerated fall (which, as we know, is bound to happen with Goofy involved) would detract from the seriousness of the moment.
Moving on to our third, and final, twisted law of physics, we find numerous examples of inconceivable paths of action. In an especially exaggerated instance, Goofy is playing a game of horseshoes with his friend Pete. He winds up and releases the horseshoe straight forward towards a peg in the ground, with the horseshoe traveling at a constant speed. But in the usual Goof style, the horseshoe doesn’t fly straight towards its goal. Instead, it curves up and over the peg where it flies into tree, then it hooks on a branch, rings around it four times before shooting off back towards Goofy, where it flies over his head and lands on a shingled roof that it rolls down and into the rain gutter until it drops down the spout – it zigs and zags down the spout until it shoots out of the bottom straight towards the peg, where it lands perfectly. The path of action is so convoluted that it is impossible to track the horseshoe in order to determine its speed, but suffice it to say, it is traveling with constant momentum.
Afterwards, Pete takes his turn – he winds up to throw the horseshoe, much in the same way that Goofy does, but instead, his follows a realistic path of action (parabolic arc), where it lands just in front of the peg. This juxtaposition is indicative of the altered physical laws that apply in Goofy’s world. He can throw a horseshoe the same way another character would, but it will follow its own goofy physics.
Realistic path of action is once again disregarded in a scene following Max’s arrival to the university campus. He and his friends are skateboarding down “Fraternity Row” when he launches himself off of a mattress that is leaning against a pickup truck to catch a frisbee. In order to determine Max’s velocity we used the reference of the Volkswagen Beetle which is 160.6 in. long (according to Wikipedia) to determine the distance Max traveled to the foot of the mattress, 96.36 in (d). Then, using the frames it took to travel that distance was 4 frames or 1/6 s (t). Then it is a simple matter of d = vt → v = d/t → v = 96.36/(1/6) = 578.16 in/s. This converts to Max traveling at about 4730.4 mph, when he launches off the mattress, which is resting at around a 32° angle. He flies through the air along a flat, extended apex for about 125 frames, or five seconds, until he drops suddenly back to the ground. This amount of hang time is unrealistic, even if we take into account the fact that he is traveling at a ridiculous speed. Clearly, this path of action does not follow the well-known parabolic arc, but is instead stretched and leveled off in order for the audience to have enough time to react to the fact that he was flying through the air.
In our closing example of altered path of action, we see a small rocket shot towards P.J. by one of the opposing team members in order to knock him off of his feet. P.J. is standing prostrate in a pair of roller skates waiting for his turn to go down the ramp, when the rocket crashes into him. However, upon making contact with the roller skates, the rocket shoots P.J. straight up into the air instead of knocking him forward. P.J. flies up and out of the frame in less than 44 frames, or roughly two seconds. P.J.’s reaction contradicts the expected reaction because his body does not follow the forward momentum of the speeding rocket. Instead, he shoots straight up into the air, following a completely new path of action. The audience finds the action acceptable, though, so that the story can move along, and allow for Goofy to join Max’s team in their moment of need.
“An Extremely Goofy Movie” bends the laws of physics in order to enhance the drama and hilarity of select situations. We see squash and stretch used numerous times, and the effect is pushed to its limits; these alterations are especially noticeable when Goofy performs a physical stunt. When it comes to scenes with characters maintaining their balance, there is a blatant disregard for the laws that determine our physical universe. Likewise, path of action is twisted and manipulated in order to achieve a feeling of extreme action, which would otherwise be impossible. However, we accept these deviations because they both enhance the story, and allow it to progress. These are common, and expected, occurrences – not only in Goofy’s world, but in the animation realm as well.
The World of the Goof – Extreme Physics in “An Extremely Goofy Movie”
1. “An Extremely Goofy Movie” is a 2D animated, feature-length Disney film.
2. Traditional laws of physics are, at times, pushed for enhanced comedic/dramatic effect. The most commonly altered are squash and stretch, gravity, and balance.
a. Goofy, in particular, seems to live and operate in his own unique bubble of extreme physical laws, where any extreme feats are accompanied by the well-known Goofy yell “Yeeeeaaaaahoohooohoooooo!!”
II. Body (Explanatory images to be included if time.)
a. Squash and Stretch
1. 0:43:30 – As Goofy drops into the skateboard ramp, his body stretches downwards (like elastic) while his head stays in place.
2. 0:56:09 – Goofy’s body undergoes extreme, accordion-like squash and stretch while he exercises on a stationary bike.
3. 1:03:47 – Goofy trips and falls end over end down a flight of stairs, much like a slinky. He then hits the bottom step, squashes like a water balloon, then shoots straight up into the air.
1. 0:31:34 – Goofy shoots straight up into the air off of a skateboard ramp, and as he begins to fall back down, he holds his jacket open while the legs of his bell bottom pants flare out, acting as a parachute and dramatically slowing his descent.
2. 1:01:00 – While climbing an artificial rock wall, a tertiary character has the hand and foot holds pulled out of his grasp by the villain. As he begins to fall, he digs his nails into the side of the wall, which significantly slows his speed as he falls.
3. 1:08:00 – A small rocket hits Max (Goofy’s son) while he is skateboarding. It lifts him up off of the skateboard, pushes him into a secondary character, who is also picked up off of his skateboard, then spirals along a horizontal path without falling out of the air.
1. 0:01:08 – Goofy reaches for an object on a nearby picnic table while standing on a small stool. The stool tips, but he manages to stay balanced with: the toes of his right foot on the edge of the stool, his entire left leg is vertical above him with just the tip of his shoe resting against the wall, his center of gravity rests just forward of the stool, his upper body is reaching out horizontally away from the stool, and his arms are reaching forwards toward the picnic table.
2. 0:45:00 – Goofy’s son, Max, balances one-handed on the tip of a vertical skateboard even though the rest of his body is extended parallel, and to the right of the board, while his other arm is extended out to his side.
3. 1:09:30 – Goofy steps backwards off of Max’s moving skateboard with just one foot. That foot makes contact with the ground before the other foot as well as the rest of his body, yet he does not fall over or show any effects of recoil or reaction.
d. Path of Action
1. 0:04:32 – Goofy throws a metal horseshoe at a peg in the ground, but it hits a tree branch, spins around it three times, flies back towards Goofy, hits the roof of the house, rolls down into the gutters where it continues to roll along until it falls down the drainpipe (where it clangs and bangs in a zig zag pattern) until it shoots straight out of the bottom of the pipe back past Goofy, where it lands perfectly around the peg.
2. 0:50:30 – Goofy’s friend Pete throws a horseshoe (with roughly the same force and timing Goofy used) and it lands around the same peg from earlier. Unlike Goofy’s though, Pete’s horseshoe follows a realistic path of action.
3. 0:16:05 – A character on a small stage flicks a coin straight upwards off of her thumb, but after it hits its apex, it launches forward and flips into the audience.
4. 0:20:50 – Another character picks up the same coin and flicks it up off of his thumb, but it flies straight up and back down in a more realistic path of action.
1. Laws of physics are stretched many times for comedic or dramatic effect.
2. Though the effects of the broken laws look clearly unrealistic, they work because they correspond with the cartoon-y reality that we expect to see in Goofy’s world.
Professor, I have included four hypotheses that are prominent in the film. If you think this may be too much to include, please let me know which one would be best to leave out. Thank you for your time! (email@example.com)
Stop Motion Animation of Falling
The object was filmed on a horizontal surface using a 720p 30fps 5mp video camera. Laying the object flat, versus hanging it vertically, allowed for the object to remain in a straight line without the worry of unintentional swaying or rotating, as would’ve occured using the aforementioned method. At times, the object was taped to the background along pre-marked fall lines in order to ensure the most accurate spacing possible.
Video Analysis of Path of Action - Looping Jump
* Prof. Garcia, if it’s not too much trouble would you mind emailing me my grades from now on? Tumblr still will not allow comments on posts, but I’d like to keep track of my progress. Thank you!! (firstname.lastname@example.org)