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Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 2
Starring Donald DVD Review

Buy Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 2 - Starring Donald from Amazon.com Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 2 - Starring Donald
DVD Details

Running Time: 60 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen, Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
Originally Released Between 1937 and 1950
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
White Keepcase


Review by Jack Seiley

After stealing the show in his first appearance in the Silly Symphony short, The Wise Little Hen, Donald Duck quickly became Walt Disney’s most popular cartoon character. The output of shorts with the temperamental duck in the starring role soon surpassed those of Mickey Mouse. Although his shorts were probably the most formulaic that the Disney studios ever did, his feisty personality and knack to get into frustrating situations was a winner with audiences.

Today, Mickey is generally considered Disney’s number one cartoon star, but Donald is still an incredibly popular character, and arguably their most entertaining. Therefore, it seems fitting that in a brand new line of DVDs dedicated to the company’s roster of classic cartoon characters, Donald finds himself in the second installment, following the famous mouse in Volume 1.

Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 2 – Starring Donald features 8 cartoons selected from the duck’s vast assortment of over 100 shorts. They seem to have been picked rather randomly, other than perhaps being chosen for their proposed entertainment value for families or casual fans, who would appear to be the target audience for this DVD collection. Indeed, animation aficionados have little to be enthused about this release, as 6 of these shorts previously appeared on Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald – Volume 1, and the remaining 2 will certainly appear on future volumes of the Treasures line.

Reviews of the individual cartoons follow, in the order they appear on the disc (which is neither chronologically nor alphabetical – I guess when sorting them, they just did “eenee-meenee-minee-moe”)

"Inferior Decorator" "Don Donald" "Golden Eggs"

"Inferior Decorator" (1948) (6:19)

While Donald is putting up some flower-covered wallpaper in his house, a bee mistakenly thinks they are real, and flies right into his wall. Finding it hilarious, Donald decides to have some fun with the little insect, until the bee makes an effort to sting him in his feathery behind.

"Don Donald" (1937) (8:04)

The quackster finds himself in what seems to be a Mexican desert, riding on a burro to meet Daisy (making her first appearance). The two hot heads get into an argument rather quickly, but Donald manages to win her over when he gets a shiny new hot rod . . . until car troubles arise.

"Golden Eggs" (1941) (7:57)

After the price for eggs skyrockets, Donald enthusiastically tries to collect as many as he can from the hens on his farm, not realizing that he’ll have to contend with the resident rooster, who matches the duck in feistiness. In an effort to distract him and get at the eggs, the duck dresses up as rather seductive hen, only to get more than he bargained for.

"Bee at the Beach" (1950) (5:26)

Donald and a bee (a returning character from “Inferior Decrator”) battle it out over a spot on the beach, ending up trying to stay above afloat in shark-infested waters. This is one of my favorite Donald cartoons – its nothing out of ordinary, but I find it very, very amusing. (In an odd note, the beginning credits of this short seem to have a few seconds cut off).

"Donald's Dog Laundry" "Donald's Vacation" "Old MacDonald Duck"

"Donald's Dog Laundry" (1940) (8:15)

Once assembling a deluxe contraption for washing dogs, Donald tries to lure Pluto to get a bath with a squeaky bone toy and a cat puppet, only to find himself being washed instead!

"Donald's Vacation" (1940) (8:16)

All he wants is some peace and relaxation, but yet again, he gets into several exasperating situations. After having trouble setting up a lawn chair, and dealing with a group of chipmunks stealing his food, Donald ends up at odds with an angry bear.

"Old MacDonald Duck" (1941) (7:47)

During a morning of barnyard chores, the farmer duck tries to milk his cow. Unfortunately, a fly gets in the way of doing his job, so Donald does his best to get rid of the annoying pest.

"Chef Donald" (1941) (7:31)

Having a hankering for some waffles, Donald tries to follow the baking directions of a radio program. However, he gets the ingredients wrong, and as usual, things go awry.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The shorts are all properly displayed in their original aspect ratios of about 1.33:1. The 6 shorts that were previously on The Chronological Donald – Volume 1 look to have the exact same transfers as they did on that set - which is fine, since they appear fairly pristine and colorful. The other 2 fare worse in terms of picture quality. They’ve probably been cleaned up somewhat, but they haven’t been restored to the level of the Treasures. They seem overly soft, display a lot of grain, and look slightly darker than they should. Considering their age, they still look okay, but could definitely use improvement (which they will presumably get, when they are included on future Treasures volumes).

The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtrack suits the cartoons fine. As with the video, the shorts ported over from the Donald Treasure are a little clearer than the others. Nevertheless, audio quality is good overall.

Starring Donald Main Menu "Chef Donald"

BONUS FEATURES AND MENUS

Besides the toons, there’s no extra material to be found. The only thing that could possibly be constituted as a “bonus” on this DVD would be the option for Disney’s FastPlay, which allows the shorts to play out without having to select them individually. Ever wished DVDs were more like VHS? Here’s your answer!

When FastPlay begins, a voiceover says a selection of a bonus features will be included. That is true of other DVDs equipped with FastPlay, but not in this case. All we get are the shorts themselves.

Previews for the highly anticipated 2005 Platinum Edition DVDs, Bambi and Cinderella, play before the cartoons when choosing FastPlay. They can also be found under the “Sneak Peeks” menu, alongside previews for the DVD releases of Mulan II and the Miyazaki Wave 2 titles: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso, and The Cat Retuns.

The menus are enhanced for 16:9 televisions, and feature lively music. The main menu features some animation depicting sparkles and lighting. The disc comes in a standard, white amaray keepcase. Included are a 1-page insert, that lists the cartoons and advertises other volumes of the Classic Cartoon Favorites, and an advertisement for Disney Learning Adventures.

"Bee at the Beach" Donald does some math in "Old MacDonald Duck"

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 2 – Starring Donald offers an entertaining selection of shorts from the duck’s career. This line of DVDs is probably somewhat broader in its appeal than the Walt Disney Treasures. Those who aren’t interested in owning a complete collection of these cartoons, or younger members of the family, would be most apt to pick up this disc. For Disney animation buffs, its harder to recommend - there is no bonus material, and all the shorts either have been, or will be, part of the Treasures line at some point. However, if one missed out on owning the Donald Treasure (which should still be available at certain places), or would just like to have a small compilation of the character’s shorts for his or her collection, it’s probably worth a purchase.

More on the DVD

Buy Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Volume 1 from Amazon.com

UltimateDisney.com | Review Index | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Classic Cartoon Favorites: Wave 1 | Walt Disney Treasures Page

Related Reviews
Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Volume 1
Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 1 - Starring Mickey
Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 3 - Starring Goofy
Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 4 - Starring Chip 'N Dale

Reviewed January 13, 2005.

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