You know, when it comes to my Disney history, anything remotely Chip and
Dale-related is strangely residing in absentia. Come to think of it, these two
rascally chipmunks sort of exist in the metaphorical
So where were we? Chip 'N' Dale. God bless them, the two little guys sort of filled Disney's need to indulge in forbidden genetic research and clone comedic replicants. Much like what Terrytoon did with Heckle and Jeckle, Chip and Dale emerged as a cutesy pair of roommates (or were they brothers or just friends, I was never exactly sure) who continuously engaged in a series of comic misadventures to the laughter and delight of millions. From what I can gather, Chip was the smarter of the two, ostensibly the "brains" of the operation while Dale, a buck-toothed yokel if there ever was one, is his dopier counterpart. Both of them spoke in a 45 rpm falsetto which, as I've just been led to understand, is a description which most of our readers under the age of 25 won't even get. Look it up. Anyway, the little buggers first appeared in 1943 in "Private Pluto", in which the poor pup had to stand guard at a pillbox and ward off potential saboteurs. Soon afterwards, they spent most of their time tormenting the holy hell out of Donald Duck... which, if you think about it, probably did more to enhance their Q-rating than anything they did without that vociferous pile of poultry hanging about.
There's not really a whole lot of point going further into either character. In the end, neither displayed much personality on their own. In fact, the whole smart chipmunk/dumb chipmunk angle seemed to be scuttled as their adventures went on, as the two seemed to become mostly interchangeable personalities. One was irascible but endearing, while the other was cute if somewhat testy. Then they'd switch in their next adventure. Still, the group of shorts included in Disney's new compilation entitled Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites Volume 4 Starring Chip N Dale (phew!), while nothing inherently earth-shattering, remains moderately charming and entertaining throughout. It's sort of an unwritten rule which stated that Warners had the best shorts (Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, etc.) while Disney had the best feature animation, and there's nothing in this set that can remotely compare to classic Chuck Jones fare. Still, while these shorts can't even come close to matching the zany craftiness of Warners best material, they retain a certain amount of charm, craft, and warmth that makes them a truly endearing watch.
The following shorts are included on this DVD:
The video is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The shorts are of generally solid quality, although they are far from pristine. There's noticeable noise and wear on the print, as well as some occasional scratches and mars, but colors are generally vibrant and rich, while image detail is mostly reasonable. There's little in terms of compression noise, pixellation, or digital artifacting. The end result is good and pleasing if not quite eyezapoppin'.
The audio is in mono Dolby Digital 1.0. Again, this is a satisfactory presentation. Orchestrations sounds reasonable, dialog is clear (except for whenever Donald speaks, but I mean duh, ya know?), and hiss, distortion, or aural distractions are minimal to non-existent. A solid, pleasing, no-nonsense delivery.
The only extras of note are sneak peak trailers for Bambi: Special Edition, Mulan II, Cinderella, The Cat Returns, Porco Rosso, and Nausicaa.
Jeff Schwartz just called me to remind our readers that Chip 'n' Dale starred in a very popular and successful late 80s/early 90s syndicated cartoon series entitled Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers, which from what I've been led to understand probably gave the two chipmunks more exposure to a modern audience than anything in Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites Volume 4 Starring Chip N Dale. To which I have two responses: (1) that twenty-somethings who were fans of that show in their youth should probably give this DVD a whirl, and (2) I should have never given Schwartz my new cellphone number. Still, I'd mildly recommend the DVD to Disney geeks and animation fans everywhere. Although it contains barely an hour of material, its value price (it can be found for about $12 online) and generally entertaining content merit this DVD a mild, gentle recommendation.