This disc is one of those classic cartoon sets that is marketed directly to children alone. Serious animation collectors will no doubt go for Disney’s fantastic Walt Disney Treasures releases instead of a one off release such as this one. This disc is one of those products that is set up as a quick point of purchase sale for parents that need something to throw in the DVD player while in the mini-van, or to keep the kids entertained while the parents are busy doing laundry or making dinner.
The simple …act is, there are only seven Donald Duck shorts on this disc, and that’s about it. The disc’s complete running time is less than an hour, and while that may be a good length for kids to watch the disc in its entirety, whoever purchases this disc is most definitely not getting their money’s worth. In my opinion, the smart move would be to pick up Walt Disney Treasures – The Chronological Donald instead. Just because a product has 30 or 40 animated shorts on it, that doesn’t mean the kids (or adults) have to watch them all at once.
The audio is pretty lame on this disc, but that is to be expected. After all, we are talking about classic animated shorts here, way before the creation of Dolby Labs, and way, way before the idea of a home theater was even conceived. Nevertheless, the audio tracks on these early cartoons don’t translate well to our modern equipment, which picks up every pop, hiss and flat musical note with perfect clarity. On the one hand, there is something nostalgic about these bland soundtracks, as it takes me back to the times when I first experienced these cartoons. On the other hand, this is most definitely not going to become the disc that you use to show off the prowess of your home theater audio setup to your friends and neighbors.
Though it appears that these cartoons have probably been cleaned up somewhat, they are still not up to the high benchmark set by the Warner Brother’s Golden Collection cartoons. The fact is, the video quality of these shorts varies from one cartoon to the next. As would be expected, the earlier shorts look pretty rough, filled with grain and severe color problems, while the “newer” ones are a little more sharp and clean. All of the segments have a notable amount of grain, though, and many also suffer from dust and scratches on the negative. Some of these problems are to be expected with older sources such as these, but there comes a point where it is clear that much more could have been done if the studio wanted to make the investment.
I can’t in good conscience give this disc a complete “zero” when it comes to extras, but I would certainly like to. Technically, there are some extras here. First and foremost, this disc is equipped with Disney’s Fast Play feature, which is always a welcome sight for parents of young children. This allows kids to put the disc in the player themselves, and the cartoons will automatically play without having to push any additional buttons. This allows parents to let kids get their own movie ready without any outside assistance… a welcome feature for parents and kids alike.
There is also a sneak peaks segment on the disc that includes trailers for Pooh’s Grand Adventure, Bambi II and Lady and the Tramp. As this is a disc targeted solely at kids, that’s all that is here as far as extras go. For all intents and purposes, a clean slate.
There really isn’t a good way to review a product like this one. After all, it accomplishes every goal it set out for itself. It is clear that Disney’s plan was to throw together a quick and easy product that would provide a couple of cartoons on a disc for the non-discriminating DVD buyer to pick up on a whim for their children or grandchildren. I guess my problem is not that this disc meets the expectations it set out for itself, but that the thing exists in the first place. Disney can do extraordinary work when they feel like it. The problem is, more and more these days, Disney is content with talking the easy way out and making a quick buck instead of investing time, money and effort into something truly outstanding.
The Walt Disney company didn’t become the giant that it is today by putting out mediocre products in an effort to make a little extra cash. I fully believe that if they stick to their roots, and concentrate solely on the high quality entertainment that they are so obviously capable of, they will remain a giant in family entertainment for decades to come.
Special Features List
- Disney’s Fast Play
- Sneak Peeks