Old King Cole (1933)

Old King Cole ReviewOld King Cole Review

Old King Cole is a 1933 Disney Silly Symphony film. It is a weak entry that is one of the worst in the series’ run.

I was really disappointed with this film and it currently ranks in the five worst for the series in my opinion. It isn’t bad as the technical aspects are as great as always with good score and very good color animation. But everything else is just so mediocre and dull.

Of the characters, King Cole is somewhat okay, but all of the others are forgettable and are just cameos of nursery rhyme characters and not one got anything substantial to work with. I found the ending to be memorable, but the rest of the film is all pretty much forgettable and uninspired and frankly even boring, at least it was to me. I do not understand why the critics think differently, but to me ‘Mother Goose Melodies’ is a much better film than this one.

Old King Cole is an inferior remake with good animation, but weak characters and many dull scenes.

My Rating – 3.2

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The Cat’s Out (1931)

The Cat's Out Review

The Cat’s Out Review

The Cat’s Out is a 1931 Disney animated short film from the Silly Symphonies series. It is a solid early entry in the series.

The premise isn’t executed as well as it should have been, but it still provides some great moments. I loved the beginning and especially ending. The highlight was the cat chasing the bird, that was funny. Watching what happens to a cat when it’s outside during night was a lot of fun.

I really liked the animation despite the character design of the cat being as unfortunately unrealistic and unappealing as usual for these early entries. I thought that the sound design wasn’t the greatest as the meows did not sound right. The plot is basic, but mostly well utilized. The only big problem is the second half as it is filled with too many imagination and dancing sequences which were subpar when compared to the first half.

The Cat’s Out has a weaker second half, but the premise is solid and the film is quite amusing and interesting.

My Rating – 3.5

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Bugs in Love (1932)

Bugs in Love Review   Bugs in Love Review

Bugs in Love is a 1932 Silly Symphony animated short film by Disney. It is s a very entertaining, hilariously brutal film.

As the last black-and-white Silly Symphony, Bugs in Love is certainly well animated and polished. Again the designs of the bugs themselves are weak, but the crow looks great and sounds good. To me this premise where the crow torments the two bugs who are in love is archaic and the first half is somewhat dull, but the second half is so good that it elevated the material quite a bit.

Yes, watching the bugs torment and absolutely destroy the crow was so much fun. Both the score and sound design are great here, but the highlight is watching the various tools and machinery they used to fight the evil bird. It was brutal, but amusingly so and it even reminded me of Looney Tunes in some moments. I liked the ending, but the second half was really good as a whole.

Bugs in Love is typical in plot, but great in its action which is amusingly quite brutal and inventive.

My Rating – 3.6

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Summer (1930)

Summer ReviewSummer Review

 Summer is a 1930 Disney short film in the Silly Symphony series. It is a typical seasonal short.

As a sequel to the previous year’s ‘Springtime‘, Summer fails as it is nowhere near as good. To me the musical score here is quite solid and fun and the animation is pretty good for its time. Some moments were memorable and the film utilizes on the season somewhat well as we witness bees, frogs and other animals that thrive during summer.

But it is very light on gags as the film is never as comedic as it should have been. The dance sequences are expectedly overdrawn and somewhat dull and the film is too short and not particularly eventful during its runtime. And more animals should have been used for sure. I guess the film is solid for its time, but it’s a typical early Silly Symphony nonetheless.

Summer is solid and well scored, but forgettable and definitely not as good as its predecessor.

 My Rating – 3.3

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Peculiar Penguins (1934)

Peculiar Penguins ReviewPeculiar Penguns Review

Peculiar Penguins is a 1934 Disney short film in the Silly Symphony series. It is a solid, cute little film.

Peculiar Penguins is definitely overly long, clocking in at nine minutes which is rare for the series. But it is actually very entertaining and never boring despite that. It doesn’t have enough plot in it and it is definitely typical and predictable in its every scene, but it is cute with its penguins who are quite endearing and I loved the romantic aspect to it which was sweet with a wonderful ending.

I loved its animation. Very warm with great character design and beautiful scenery. As I said, the action is typical, but still well executed and I liked its cartoony situations nonetheless. It is a pure Disney movie both in style and substance and I really liked that. And the score is pretty good with the song in the first and third act being sweet and memorable.

Peculiar Penguins is typical, but very charming, so well animated and quite pleasant.

My Rating – 3.6

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Merbabies (1938)

                                                 Merbabies Review

Merbabies Review

Merbabies is a 1938 Disney animated short film

from the Silly Symphony series. It is a

superbly animated, but such a problematic film.

This film is basically a remake of ‘Water Babies’ and it is in terms of quality pretty much the same when compared to the original. The plot is once again non-existent and we basically just follow the merbabies as they swim, play around and eventually get attacked by a whale. The film was honestly a bit slow and boring to me. And certainly overlong.

But the animation is great except for the character designs which are just horrible. I don’t get Disney’s obsession with baby butts during this time period, but here they are mermen and they should not have visible butts at all. It was a horrible and stupid choice. But the overall animation is actually something special as it is made during the release of their first feature film when they mastered animation and it shows as the results are more than stellar. The bubbles are great, the water imagery is just splendid and some of the scenery honestly felt like a work of art. So beautiful.

Merbabies is beautifully animated with some gorgeous scenery, but the plot is dull and the character designs are horrendous.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Robber Kitten (1935)

The Robber Kitten ReviewThe Robber Kitten Review

The Robber Kitten is a 1935 Disney film from the Silly Symphonies. It is a solid, but very flawed flick.

It follows a kitten who dreams of becoming a robber and disobeys his mother until he comes across a real robber who scares him into running back home. I guess the message here is clear, maybe too clear and the film is definitely a bit too simplistic. To me the biggest problem is its prolonged running which resulted in a very slow second act, way too extended. Plus the characters are admittedly unlikable.

The protagonist is very annoying, but I liked the villain quite a bit, especially his dangerous voice provided by always great Billy Bletcher. He is the reason to see this film along with the animation as he posed real threat and is very memorable. The film looks as great as usual with great colors and a polished style to it. I just wanted more from it in terms of storytelling and editing.

The Robber Kitten is very well animated and has a great villain, but is too simplistic and weakly edited.

 My Rating – 3.5

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Birds in the Spring (1933)

Birds in the Spring ReviewBirds in the Spring Review

 Birds in the Spring is a 1933 Disney Silly Symphony film. It is a clichéd Silly Symphony.

We follow the hatchling of the birds, then we see their parents teaching them how to sing and afterwards one baby bird wanders away and encounters a rattlesnake and hornets. It ends with his father spanking him. Again we see Disney’s early obsession with spanking and again we follow birds and the parents are as annoying as ever. Its message in the end is typical and all of the plot points that happened here are beyond familiar and obvious.

The birds sound as great as ever as the sound effects are terrific. And of course the animation is expectedly splendid. I loved its colorful  style and not only do the birds look endearing and well designed, but the backgrounds are surprisingly crisp and polished as well. The technical aspects elevate an otherwise tiresome flick.

Birds in the Spring is technically terrific with great sound and splendid animation, but the message is obvious and its familiar story hurt it in the long run.

 My Rating – 3.3

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The Bears and the Bees (1932)

The Bears and the Bees ReviewThe Bears and the Bees Review

The Bears and the Bees is a 1932 Silly Symphony animated short film by Disney. It is one of the better entries of its time.

I really liked this cartoon as it is immensely endearing. We follow two mischievous bear cubs who play around and find honey, but upset the bees who thankfully turn their attention to another big bear and attack him instead. That final part was definitely troublesome. I wouldn’t punish the little bears either, but having them enjoy the honey all by themselves and the big innocent bear take the blame felt problematic. Such an odd choice from the writers.

But other than that, it was a great little film which is actually very underrated and one of the best Silly Symphonies of 1932 for sure. The animation is pretty good and the character designs were pleasing. But I loved how sweet the cubs looked and their playing around was wonderful. It is the kind of simplistic, yet very well crafted entry that I wish there more of them like this, without music and with an emphasis on humor, heart and characters.

The Bears and the Bees definitely has an odd ending, but fine animation, endearing characters and it is such a sweet little film and quite underrated.

 My Rating – 4

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The Busy Beavers (1931)

The Busy Beavers ReviewThe Busy Beavers Review

 The Busy Beavers is a 1931 Disney animated short film from the Silly Symphonies series. It is the usual stuff from the series.

This is one of those early Silly Symphonies that are meant for educating children, this time around we follow beavers and how they build and repair a dam. Now I found this short to be solid with fine animation and sound and a good, cute ending. I liked that the beavers got their short and they were utilized quite well.

However, the short is dull and pretty uneventful. The humor is nowhere to be found and the action on screen is pretty typical and never memorable at all. But the biggest problem lies in the animation. The character design in particular. I just really dislike the early Silly Symphony designs and this is no exception as the beavers look ridiculous and totally unrealistic. Too big and almost like bears. Instead of cute, they looked ugly and thus ruined the flick.

The Busy Beavers is solid and well made, but it is typical and filled with terrible looking beavers.

 My Rating – 3.3

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