Review of Salvador Dali and Walt Disney's Destino
By: David K. Montoya

I know that typically I review fine art and or the creators of such wonderful work within this review column. While the following piece is widely accepted as animation—I submit an argument that Destino was also a masterful work of fine art.

When I first heard about a project that Salvador Dali and Walt Disney, I could not wrap my head around what it would look like. Dali with imagery of realism and Disney, well, we all think of Mickey Mouse, right? But, these two did entwined their own individual style to create a masterpiece that was a short animated film that would not be released in 2003 titled, Destino.

As we look back many may be surprised to learn that there was another more adult side to Walt Disney that was a dark surrealist. At times in his popular works his dark side slipped onto the screen, as each of his films had a bit of darkness and a sense of death from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to his final film The Jungle Book.


It was documented that Salvador Dali's first Hollywood trip was in 1937; he was said to be a fan of the animated medium and would be perfect way to bring is art to life. It was around that time, Dali wrote friend and French Surrealist, André Breton, "I have come to Hollywood and am in contact with the three great American Surrealists; the Marx Brothers, Cecil B. DeMille, and Walt Disney," he wrote to his fellow Surrealist.

It would be eight years later when Dali would actually meet Walt Disney. It would be in 1945 at a studio party for Jack Warner (i.e. the Warner Bros.) at his home. Fate so happened to see that Dali was in California during the time he was work on a dream sequence for Spellbound for Alfred Hitchcock. Interesting enough, both men followed each other's work and it did not take long for both artists to agree to collaborate on an animated film.

The beginning of the following year, Walt Disney had locked Salvador Dali into a contract, and though the surrealist's price tag was never revealed, Disney admitted publicly that the paint was quite expensive to obtain his services. The business plan Walt Disney had for the short film was to include Destino into one of his post war features like Make Mine Music. It was reported at the time that the popular surrealist got to creating shortly after he signed his contract and worked for three months straight for eight hours a day.

What would come forth from the two minds would be Destino a short animated film that utilized prehistorical visuals that told a story about an unrequited love between a woman and Chronos which was known as the personification of time in pre–Socratic philosophy and later literature. The woman who dances in a desert which transforms into a puzzle and then finds herself in a classic Disney style princess dress, in doing so caught the eye of a man, who is uncourtable.

Sometime after the contract signing, Dali was quoted talking about the idea of Destino as, "a magical exposition of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time." Which Disney has to translate Salvador's poetic dialect into layman's term saying it was,"just a simple story of a girl in search of her real love."