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Classic Cartoon Favorites - Extreme Adventure Fun
When we talk about "Classic Disney Animation," we're usually referring to something like Cinderella or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but let's face it: few animated characters are as "classic" as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. With this in mind, the folks at Disney DVD decided to pack some of the gang's greatest cartoons into a series of low-price, high-quality releases.
Classic Cartoon Favorites - Extreme Adventure Fun features eight classic shorts from the Disney vaults, five of which were made available on earlier (and more expensive) DVD collections and three that are making their digital debut. Which means that the hardcore Disney fans who paid a hefty fee for their Disney Treasures collections will probably have to drop 10 bucks on this DVD -- if only to get the trio of cartoons they're currently missing. (This is DVD marketing & re-marketing at its finest; see also the single-disc Simpsons releases.)
But for the fans and parents who didn't have the extra pocket money with which to purchase the (admittedly quite excellent) "Treasures" collections, this new wave of single-disc Disney releases should prove quite a treat. Extreme Adventure Fun hits the shelves alongside Extreme Sports Fun and Extreme Music Fun, each of which will cost you between 11 and 15 bucks and offer eight classic cartoons with some of our most beloved Disney pals.
Included in Extreme Adventure Fun are the following cartoons: (The * denotes which ones are making their debut on DVD.)
Mickey's Trailer (1938, Ben Sharpsteen) - Well hey! One of my very favorite Mickey / Donald / Goofy adventures is the same one that opens this disc. Cool. Here we have our three pals enjoying a bright, sunny morning in Mickey's gimmick-laden trailer. When Goofy decides to engage the car's auto-pilot and head inside for some breakfast, all heck pretty much breaks loose. (7:30)
No Sail* (1945, Jack Hannah) - Goofy and Donald head out together for a lovely day of sailing in a coin-operated boat. (I guess Mickey had to work today?) The Duck and the Goof run out of nickels, find themselves stranded, and must survive all sorts of seafaring silliness. (7:30)
Good Scouts (1938, Jack King) - Donald plays scoutmaster to a small troop of ducklings (nephews Huey, Dewey & Louie, of course!) and quickly allows his bravado to get the better of him. (7:30)
Hello Aloha (1952, Jack Kinney) - Goofy (referred to here as "Geef") takes a vacation from the professional rat race and tries to take it easy on a Hawaiian island. It's all hammocks, hula girls, luaus -- and volcanoes! (6:30)
Old Sequoia* (1945, Jack King) - Park ranger Donald Duck must thwart the activities of two mischievous beavers who really love the taste of Sequoia. (6:30)
How to Ride a Horse (1950, Jack Kinney) - Goofy gives us an efficient, thorough, and graceful lesson on how to properly ride a horse. Yeah, right! (8:00)
Trailer Horn* (1950, Jack Hannah) - Those cheeky chipmunks, Chip & Dale, awaken and annoy Donald Duck by bouncing on his trailer horn, and he responds as you'd likely expect from Donald Duck: he loses it. So the rodents do all they can to ruin the remainder of the duck's vacation. Note: Chip & Dale received their own 9-cartoon DVD this past January; this short is not in that collection. (6:30)
Two Weeks Vacation (1952, Jack Kinney) - Once again Goofy finds himself desperately excited to take a vacation from work ... if only he could get to his destination! A flat tire, a crazy mechanic, a snooty hitchhiker, and a perpetually pesky trailer are all that stand in his way. (6:00)
Frankly I could have used a bit more of Mickey Mouse in this collection, but what's offered is still some classic cartoon craziness. As always, the animation is vibrant, colorful, and slick. Even in the "short features" department, nobody could beat Disney. OK, Warner Bros. came pretty close sometimes, but the Disney shorts just looks so much more polished than their contemporaries.
Video: The original full frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio is what's replicated here, and (aside from the flaws inherent within the source material) the cartoons look pretty darn excellent. As I don't own any of the "Treasures" collections, I cannot make a fair comparison, but I suspect even the diehard Disneyites will like what they see here.
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono, which is perfectly fine in every way. There's also a French audio track, as well as optional English captions.
Extras: Disney's touting a new "Fastplay" feature that, I believe, just lets you watch everything in order from the minute you pop the disc in. (And by "everything" I also mean the first two trailers mentioned below.) I suppose the Fastplay feature is meant to allow younger viewers to just pop the disc in and go. If so, great. Me, I'm a click-around-er. The only extras to be found are some trailers for upcoming Disney DVD releases: Cinderella: Special Edition, Tarzan 2, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, Kronk's New Groove, Disney Learning Adventures: Words, Shapes and Sizes, Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition, and Disney Princess.
To the serious collectors, I'd say bite the bullet and drop the extra 12 bucks, because you just know you want the three cartoons that are exclusive to this collection. To casual fans, newcomers, and parents with good taste, I've no problem recommending this DVD whatsoever. It's got eight lovable old Disney cartoons presented in fine technical form. And at least Disney's playing along by offering the platters for about a dozen greenbacks. Not all of us can really afford the swankier "Treasures" collections, which makes the "Classic Cartoon Favorites" DVDs a great deal indeed.
(Whenever I review a DVD full of Disney Animation, I rely on one particular website to help me cross my Ts, dot my Is, and check my facts -- and that site is www.UltimateDisney.com. This is not a plug; it's an acknowledgment and a note of thanks.)