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Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 7
Extreme Adventure Fun DVD Review

Buy Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 7 - Extreme Adventure Fun from Amazon.com Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 7 - Extreme Adventure Fun
DVD Details

Running Time: 57 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen, Dolby Digital Mono (English, French)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

DVD Release Date: May 31, 2005
Originally Released Between 1938 and 1952
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
White Keepcase with Side Snaps


Those who enjoy classic Disney animation but are not enthusiastic enough to collect the comprehensive Walt Disney Treasures series must be glad that the studio began this year to offer an alternative. Low-priced samplings of vintage shorts are now available as part of a line called Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites. For roughly $10 a volume, you get roughly an hour of animated shorts from the heyday of the format. No numbered limited edition tin, no replica of artwork, and no bonus features whatsoever. All of that will continue to be left to the Treasures, the fifth wave of which is shaping up nicely and expected to arrive this December.

The Classic Cartoon Favorites instead simply deliver to you the cartoons in the remastered quality expected from earlier presentations on the digital format. Whereas the first four volumes of the line were centered on characters, this second wave arranges its shorts thematically. Volume 7 - Extreme Adventure Fun follows Donald, Goofy, and (in one short) Mickey outdoors and on the road. The settings provide a source of primarily visual comedy and serve to link the otherwise unrelated shorts.

As usual, most of these cartoon shorts have been released before as part of the collector-friendly Treasures line. Three of the eight have not been on DVD until now, though two (No Sail, Old Sequoia) are likely to turn up in the second Chronological Donald volume expected before year's end, and the last (Trailer Horn) in a future Donald set.

Nonetheless, this single disc does not fail to bring you an hour of entertaining shorts which remain diverting many decades after they were made. Three shorts center on Goofy, the clumsy anthropomorphic dog, and thankfully these do not adhere to one specific formula. Three shorts star Donald, the irascible duck who has always finds a reason for rage. Donald and Goofy team together for No Sail, in which their differing personalities provide a source of humor. Finally, those two are joined by Mickey in Mickey's Trailer, the oldest and most delightful cartoon on the disc.

Extreme Adventure Fun presents eight shorts in the following random order:

Mickey, Goofy, and Donald enjoy some breakfast on the road in "Mickey's Trailer." Donald and Goofy stop singing soon in "No Sail." Huey, Dewey, and Louie prove they are "Good Scouts."

"Mickey's Trailer" (1938) (7:46)

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are all together for adventure on the road in Mickey's mobile home, which can change a room with the press of a button. This very fun short is filled with gags, and as many laughs come from a corn-on-the-cob breakfast as anything else.

"No Sail" (1945) (7:30)

Donald and Goofy go for a ride in a rented boat which sneezes out a sail for five cents. Only problem is the sail keeps going down and Donald soon runs out of nickels. Stuck at sea with no way to move and no food to eat, Donald grows some stubble and loses his mind while Goofy remains as happy-go-lucky as ever. Throw in some angry sharks and you have quite the amusing cartoon.

"Good Scouts" (1938) (7:30)

In the next Oscar-nominated short, Donald goes camping with his nephews at Yellowstone National Park. His efforts to teach them outdoors skills all result in disaster, of course; a hungry bear and reliable geyser pose peril. Sixty-seven years later, his tomato catsup lesson remains very funny.

"Hello Aloha" (1952) (6:30)

Goofy's everyman personality George Geef escapes the big city workaholic existence for a more leisurely lifestyle in paradise, i.e. an island in Hawaii. The narrator explains how Geef enjoys getting accustomed to the land, with leis, a dancing woman, and shark fin soup. A very relaxing short, in spite of the surprising conclusion.

Donald tries to save "Old Sequoia." Goofy demonstrates "How to Ride a Horse." The jig is up for Goofy in "Two Weeks Vacation."

"Old Sequoia" (1945) (6:43)

Donald Duck is a forest ranger who must put up with a pesky pair of beavers who chew on trees until they fall. Donald tries to guard one particularly aged tree, Old Sequoia, the safety of which his job relies upon. Fairly standard hijinks ensue, with the beavers standing in for Chip 'n Dale.

"How to Ride a Horse" (1941) (8:07)

Goofy demonstrates the title activity, with a narrator explaining every aspect. The disagreeable horse that Goofy is to ride contradicts the narration and makes things difficult for the Goof. This short was originally released as part of the 1941 feature film The Reluctant Dragon, which appears in full on the now-discontinued Behind the Scenes at the Disney Studio Walt Disney Treasures tin. Not sure if it looks so beat-up there, but it does here.

"Trailer Horn" (1950) (6:24)

Chip and Dale awaken to find a big footprint and they soon discover a trailer housing...Donald Duck, of course. The two mischievous chipmunks proceed to make trouble for Donald on his holiday.

"Two Weeks Vacation" (1952) (6:19)

Goofy's dream two-week paid vacation takes one bad turn after another, as he's stuck driving around in a shoddy car, plagued by road mishaps and filled hotels.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Each short was animated for the Academy Ratio and therefore, the 1.33:1 "fullscreen" presentation appropriately preserves their original dimensions. The most recent cartoon is still more than fifty years old, so you cannot quite expect the pristine picture quality of the latest direct-to-video sequel. Those cartoons which have already been remastered for a Walt Disney Treasures release definitely looked better than those that haven't.

The one exception is How to Ride a Horse. This Goofy short appears very rough, with an excess of grain and print intrusions and a ghastly glow atop the frame. I'm not sure if this is how it looked as part of The Reluctant Dragon on Behind the Scenes or as part of the television special included on A Goofy Movie, but it's definitely lacking in comparison to this disc's other cartoons.

Donald scolds Chip 'n Dale in "Trailer Horn." Extreme Adventure Fun Main Menu

For the most part, the rest of the cartoons look satisfactory, with imperfections kept to a minimum. Marks turn up more frequently on the three shorts not yet released to DVD: No Sail, Old Sequoia, and Trailer Horn. The color palettes on these cartoons also appear in need of some fine-tuning next to the others, as they simply look darker. Treasures owners interested in picking up this unreleased trio may reconsider, since remastered presentations of these films will ultimately only turn up in Treasures, it would seem, and in spite of the potential to use lower compression on the other shorts, those already available on Treasures look no better here than there. It's worth mentioning that Mickey's Trailer is slightly windowboxed on all four sides, though overscan will render the black border rather tiny.

Like most cartoon shorts from the '30s, '40s and '50s, these eight offered monaural sound in their theatrical exhibitions. It makes sense then that they are presented in Dolby Digital Mono on DVD. Dynamics are consistent but much lower than the menu, so be sure to adjust volume levels accordingly. The quality of the recordings is mostly proportional to the short's year of release (Goofy's Two Weeks Vacation being the most pleasing to the ears) and history on DVD (again, those previously released as Treasures fare better). Of course, at no point does the audio blow you, but it does a reasonable job of delivering the dated mix of music, effects, and dialogue.

BONUS FEATURES and DESIGN

As has been stated before and will be stated again, the Classic Cartoon Favorites series do not contain any bonus features. Likewise, they do contain Disney's "FastPlay" playback mode, which enables you to enjoy uninterrupted passivity by not making you press any remote control buttons to view the disc. Before the feature presentation, trailers play for Cinderella and Tarzan II. You can skip these one at a time or both and go directly to the menu. More promos await you in the faithful Sneak Peeks section. In addition to the aforementioned pair, the 2005 Disney DVDs previewed here are Kronk's New Groove, Lilo & Stitch 2, upcoming Pooh Learning Adventures, Pocahontas 10th Anniversary Edition, and Wave 3 of the Disney Princess DVD line.

The 16x9 menus are consistent with the other DVDs of this line. A backpacking Mickey (who appears in just one of the eight cartoons) is at the Main Menu's center, and otherwise it is the same: loud music, sparkles, a rainbow of colors, a chapter per short, and a noticeably absent Bonus Features listing.

A slightly misframed shot of Donald, Goofy, and a bird in "No Sail." Mail's here, Hawaiian style: Goofy in "Hello Aloha."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Variety is the key to Extreme Adventure Fun's success. Since every one of the eight shorts presents something different, it makes for an entertaining and not redundant cartoon collection. Fans of Goofy and Donald will be most pleased with this DVD, as they each appear in five shorts.

The usual comments again apply here. More than half of these shorts are available on other Disney DVDs and those that aren't could benefit from remastering work. Walt Disney Treasures collectors will be glad with their more expensive and more fulfilling compilations. Those wanting just a taste of vintage Disney, look no further than this affordable sampling of enduring cartoons. As a whole, this selection of outdoor-themed shorts, running just under an hour, might be the most consistently enjoyable volume yet offered in the Classic Cartoon Favorites line.

More on the DVD

Buy Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy from Amazon.com Marketplace
Buy Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald Vol. 1 from Amazon.com

UltimateDisney.com | Review Index | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Classic Cartoon Favorites: Wave 2 | Walt Disney Treasures Page

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Reviewed May 18, 2005.

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