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Classic Cartoon Favorites - Extreme Sports Fun

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // May 31, 2005
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted May 14, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Cartoons

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 Sports Fun features eight classic shorts from the Disney vaults, all of which were made available on earlier (and more expensive) DVD "Treasures" collections. Whereas the Extreme Adventure Fun DVD offered a trio of previously unreleased cartoons, "Sports" has none of those, which means it's meant to be purchased (almost) exclusively by those Disney fans who don't own the "Treasure Tins." (I say "almost" because, c'mon, there are passionate Disneyheads who'll buy this DVD just for the sake of what I call "blissful collectionism.") But if you were unable to get your fingers on the earlier tins, then this DVD should prove to be a thrifty little treat.

(Along with Extreme Sports Fun and Extreme Adventure Fun comes Extreme Music Fun, each sold separately (for a limited time) at about 11-15 bucks apiece.)

Included in Extreme Sports Fun are the following cartoons:

Canine Caddy (1941, Clyde Geronimi) - While acting as Mickey's golf caddy, Pluto runs afoul of a ball-hogging gopher -- and destroys half the course while in hot pursuit. (7:30)

How to Play Baseball (1942, Jack Kinney) - Goofy delivers one of his very finest "How To" cartoons -- and the great game of baseball will never be the same. (8:00)

The Hockey Champ (1939, Jack King) - Donald Duck gloats to his nephews about how great an ice-skater he is, so Huey, Dewey & Louie do what they do the best: humiliate their uncle into a state of hockey-induced hysterics. (7:30)

Double Dribble (1946, Jack Hannah) - More Goofys than you can shake a stick at, and this time they're hitting the hardwood for a manic game of basketball. (7:00)

How to Play Football (1944, Jack Kinney) - Along with "Baseball," here's my favorite short in this collection. We get two teams full of Goofys in a heated game between Taxidermy Tech and Anthropology A & M, and the results are pretty hilarious. (7:30)

Mickey's Polo Team (1936, David Hand) - We jump into the wayback machine for this old-fashioned delight. Come enjoy a polo match with Mickey, Goofy, Donald and The Big Bad Wolf on one team, and Laurel, Hardy, Chaplin & Marx on the other! And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some guest star cameos sitting on the sidelines. (9:00)

Tennis Racquet (1949, Jack Kinney) - It's Goofy vs. Goofy in a seriously bizarre tennis match, complete with clueless commentators, silly spectators, and goofball groundskeepers. (7:00)

Goofy Gymnastics (1949, Jack Kinney) - The skinny and lethargic Goofy sends away for a full-bore package of gymnastics equipment, and proceeds to bend, break, and bruise his body in every way imaginable. (6:30)

As I (mildly) complained regarding the "Adventure" collection, I could have used a bit more of Mickey Mouse from this DVD; this one's a pretty Goofy-laden affair. Not a big complaint, but Mickey does seems to be getting some short shrift on these single-disc releases.

Continuing to repeat myself from the earlier review: the animation in these cartoons 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.

The DVD

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.

Final Thoughts

Since all eight of these cartoons are available in previously released collector's tins, I certainly wouldn't consider it a "must own" for the hardcore Disney devourers out there. But if you don't already own those swanky sets, and if your children are deserving of only the finest in classic animation, you could certainly do a heck of a lot worse than to drop a few ten-spots on these Classic Cartoon Favorites DVDs. Think about it: an hour's worth of Mickey, Donald and Goofy ... or, like, Rugrats. Easy call in my book.

(Thanks again to www.UltimateDisney.com for making my Disney research a whole lot easier.)

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Highly Recommended

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