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Classic Cartoon Favorites - Extreme Music 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 22, 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. The most recent wave of single-disc Disney releases include "extreme fun" in the realms of Adventure, Sports, and Music.

Classic Cartoon Favorites - Extreme Music Fun features eight classic shorts from the Disney vaults, six of which were made available on earlier (and more expensive) DVD collections and two 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 pair of cartoons they're currently missing. But hey, the disc only runs about ten bucks, so collectors and casual fans alike should be happy with the purchase.

As you could probably tell from the disc's title, the theme here is music. If you're looking for old-school Disney shorts themed in adventure and/or sports, well you can pick all three discs up at the same time. (And probably on sale, too!) But here the theme is music: sweet, silly, Disneyfied music.

Included in Extreme Music Fun are the following cartoons: (The * denotes which ones are making their debut on DVD.)

Mickey's Grand Opera (1936, Wilfred Jackson) - Mickey, Donald and Pluto try to pull off a classy operetta, with predictably chaotic results. Let's just say Donald Duck won't be winning any Tony awards any time soon. (7:30)

Music Land (1935, ?) - An absolutely charming rendition of Romeo & Juliet told only through musical notes. And wonderful animation, of course. (9:30)

Orphans' Benefit (1941, Riley Thomson) - The whole gang visits an orphanage and treats the tots to all sorts of musical melodies. Except Donald. He, of course, causes a huge ruckus. (8:00)

Farmyard Symphony (1938, Jack Cutting) - The title says it all: a herd of lovable barnyard critters get down and funky. (8:00)

Pluto's Blue Note* (1947, Charles A. Nichols) - The sincerely musically impaired Pluto just wants to jam with his animal pals, but finds that his talents lie in his posterior. (OK, his tail.) (7:00)

How to Dance (1953, Jack Kinney) - Another of Goofy's generally hilarious "How To" lessons, only this time he's a dancin' fool. Keep an eye out for several of Disney's legendary animators rendered in cartoon form! (6:30)

Woodland Cafe (1937, Wilfred Jackson) - Come visit one seriously buggy nightclub! (7:30)

Donald's Dilemma* (1947, Jack King) - Dippy Donald gets konked on the noggin by a flower pot and becomes convinced he's a world-famous singer -- and then he does become one! (6:30)

As in all three of the new "Extreme" DVDs, Mickey's pretty scarce here. Sure it's great to visit old pals like Goofy and Donald, but c'mon. Mickey's the king. Still, whether you're a bored 6-year-old looking for something especially toe-tapping or you're a hardcore animation enthusiast looking for a bargain on an 8-pack of old Disney classics -- any one of the "Extreme Collections" should prove to be a treat.

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

Simple equation here, folks: if you don't already own the Disney Treasures tins, then Extreme Music Fun is a gotta-own mini-collection of classic Disney fun. If you do own those fancy tins, you just have to ask yourself: are the two shorts exclusive to this disc (Pluto's Blue Note & Donald's Dilemma) worthy of a ten-dollar investment? If you're any sort of collector, I suspect they are.

(Thanks again to www.UltimateDisney.com.)

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