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Walt Disney's Funny Factory DVDs: V1: With Mickey V2: With Donald V3: With Goofy V4: With Huey, Dewey, and Louie

Funny Factory with Goofy (Volume 3) DVD Review

Buy Funny Factory with Goofy from Amazon.com Funny Factory: Volume 3 - With Goofy
DVD Details

Running Time: 53 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen, Dolby Digital Mono (English, French)
Subtitles: English (Enhanced for Hearing Impaired); Closed Captioned

DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006
Originally Released Between 1937 and 1961
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
White Keepcase with Side Snaps

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By Aaron Wallace

Though he has far fewer starring cartoons to his credit than his brethren, Goofy is probably as well-liked by the masses as Mickey, Donald, and the rest of the gang. That's true in Tinsel Town, at least, as a poll of various celebrities conducted by Disney in 2005 found that Hollywood identifies with Goofy more than any other Disney character. The company still sees mouse and duck as their meal ticket, with the former providing an icon and the latter leading the way for the studio since the mid-1930s, but Goofy is never forgotten.
Even when Pluto, Minnie, and others are ignored, Goofy is on hand to fill out a trio and he's gotten a TV series of his own too, even going to theaters in a stand-alone feature last decade. It comes as no surprise, then, that he's been put in the spotlight for Disney's latest round of character-driven DVDs.

Walt Disney's Funny Factory is one of several DVD lines that present around an hour of the studio's animated short subject fare with no bonus features and little fanfare. The phenomenon started with Classic Cartoon Favorites and, thanks to rapid sales, expanded to Timeless Tales in 2005 and Funny Factory and It's a Small World of Fun in 2006. There is very little difference between the lines, with the moniker determining only a menu scheme, packaging design, and loose guidelines for content. Timeless Tales and It's a Small World of Fun have been applauded for including some harder-to-find animation and Funny Factory's unique menus have been commended but in general, all of these DVDs are understood as a less than ideal method of collection. That's because the Walt Disney Treasures line is unquestionably superior, presenting most of this same content in greater abundance at a better value in usually top-notch form. Those are produced in limited quantities, though, and can soar to top dollar prices on the resell market once they're out of print. Therefore, Funny Factory and others of its ilk are decent alternatives for those not interested in the collector-targeted Treasures line or not willing to save up for them.

January brought the first and second volumes of Walt Disney's Funny Factory, devoted to Mickey and Donald, respectively. That makes Goofy the logical candidate for the next installment and indeed, the end of the year brings Volume 3 - With Goofy. It is comprised of seven shorts, all but one ("Clock Cleaners") bearing a Goofy title card at the beginning. It's not quite a display of Goofy's greatest hits, but the selection is a strong one. Of course, one could argue that "Clock Cleaners" should have been saved for another Mickey volume somewhere in the future and replaced with one of Goofy's own short subjects. Still, they run from 1937 to 1961, including Goofy's first and last starring short. At only 53 minutes, though, there's enough room for an eighth cartoon, even when keeping the hour-long standard in mind.

Goofy's bumbling antics and laughable attempts at instruction make his cartoons a pleasure to watch. His good intentions lead to disastrous results and this pattern is a large part of what makes him so endearing. It's doubtful that a viewer of any age will be disappointed in the entertainment value, so criticism can only be leveled at its quantity and presentation. Goofy was previously given his own installment of the Classic Cartoon Favorites line, making this his second of this kind of DVD. Fans of the format will be happy to know that none of the seven of the shorts are duplicated from that or any other of the numerous hour-long compilation DVDs.

The seven shorts presented in Walt Disney's Funny Factory: Volume 3 - With Goofy are as follows:

Goofy takes his pal Wilbur out for some fishing in "Goofy and Wilbur." Goofy's supposed to be cleaning the clock (hence the title "Clock Cleaners"), but gets clocked himself instead. It's a dog eat dog world.

"Goofy and Wilbur" (1939) (8:08)

Goofy and his grasshopper friend, Wilbur, set out for a fishing trip. There's fun at first and Wilbur attracts plenty of hungry fish but the targets soon get the upper hand. This was Goofy's first starring cartoon.

"Clock Cleaners" (1937) (8:33)

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy go to work at cleaning a very tall clock tower but are met with many obstacles from the building and its inhabitants. (This retains the same edit displayed in Mickey Mouse In Living Color; read here more information).

"Goofy's Glider" (1940) (7:59)

Goofy builds a glider of his own and tries his best in getting it to take flight.

"Man's Best Friend" (1952) (6:28)

Showcasing Disney's ability to treat some animals as animals and others as human within the same cartoon, Goofy (himself a dog) adopts a puppy as his new pet. As the dog grows, Goofy's parental skills are put to the test.

On the open road during "Father's Week End"... A mountain lion is no match for father and son (and a toy gun) in "Father's Lion." "Aquamania", Goofy's last cartoon, showcases the Xerox animation method that distinguished the appearance of '60s Disney animation.

"Father's Week End" (1953) (6:44)

Goofy takes his son (not Max, mind you, but his other son) on vacation but finds that the workplace would have been better suited for some R&R.

"Father's Lion" (1952) (6:50)

Goofy gives his son (still not Max) a how-to lesson in outdoor camping, oblivious to the threat of an aggressive mountain lion.

"Aquamania" (1961) (8:37)

Back at the beach, Goofy is forced into a water skiing contest, battling his mischievous son, the elements, and an octopus.

The puppy is Goofy's pet, but Goofy isn't quite his master. Fans of Walt Disney World's Barnstormer roller coaster will feel right at home in "Goofy's Glider".

VIDEO and AUDIO

All seven of these shorts have already been released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series ("Clock Cleaners" on Mickey Mouse in Living Color and the other six on The Complete Goofy). That line has been praised for its extensive restoration of vintage Disney cartoons and it is these restored versions of the cartoons that appear on this disc. That means that video quality is generally very good. Of course, there are still some visual imperfections but anything cleaner would likely betray the integrity of the original work. In short, they look their age without looking old. All of the shorts were animated in the Academy Ratio, which has been satisfactorily approximated in the 1.33:1 fullscreen ratio.

Presented with their original monaural recordings, the shorts sound great too. Any noisy problems that may have developed over the years have been taken care of and the audio sounds as good as it could or should without bumping it up to a multi-channel presentation (which wouldn't really add anything anyways). The disc adds an optional French language track for those interested as well.

Walt Disney's Funny Factory churns along as Goofy operates the controls from above. The Cartoon Selection screen fits in the Funny Factory motif and even includes a few hidden gags of its own.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING, and DESIGN

None of these hour-long DVDs have boasted any bonus features to date, and Funny Factory With Goofy doesn't change that. The first two Funny Factory discs nearly had one, though, in a virtual game of sorts.
It was simple enough but fun and the extra effort significantly increased the value of the Funny Factory line over that of its companions. I'm afraid that no such game is to be found this time.

However, the clever, heavily-animated menus from those first volumes do return. They present what looks like a working factory that produces, well, funny. Everything -- from bananas to whoopie cushions to pies -- moves down a conveyor belt as a silhouette of Goofy operating the factory inside a window can be seen above. Moving the cursor around the screen, one finds several hidden Easter eggs of sort. Clicking them triggers some sort of quick gag that occurs within the menu itself. The same thing happens on the first screen of cartoon selections as well. It's accompanied by some very catchy, upbeat music and Goofy's signature "Gwarsh" and guffaws. If only all DVD menus could be this much fun.

The cartoons can be selected individually or played all at once via "Play All". The disc is housed in a standard white keepcase with side-snaps. Inside is an insert that advertises the rest of the Funny Factory line on one side and provides a list of contents with run-rimes on the other. These times are off by just a little (surprisingly underestimated on most of them) and the total time of 52 minutes advertised on the back of the case is short by a little over a minute as well.

The disc opens with previews for Peter Pan: Platinum Edition, Meet the Robinsons, The Fox and the Hound 2, and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse": Mickey Saves Santa. The main menu also houses additional sneak peeks for Disney DVD Game World: Disney Princess Edition and Disney Dogs Edition, Robin Hood: Most Wanted Edition, Disney Princess: Enchanted Tales - A Kingdom of Kindness, Cars on DVD, and Air Buddies.

This Goofy cartoon title card precedes six of the seven shorts on this disc. Going water skiing? Don't follow Goofy's example and you'll do just fine.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Funny Factory With Goofy is hardly a must-have but it does make for a solid addition to the single-disc cartoon collection. All of the cartoons have previously been included in the Walt Disney Treasures series, which means fantastic video and audio quality but also that there's no incentive for purchase those who already own the Mickey and Goofy Treasures sets. 53 minutes is a little skimpy, even for this kind of release, but at least Funny Factory sweetens the deal a bit with a really fun and innovative menu design. Fans of Goofy who are looking to expand their collection but have already decided against The Complete Goofy should find this to be a nice complement to the Goof-centered volume of Classic Cartoon Favorites.

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Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 3 - Starring Goofy Goof Troop: Volume 1
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Reviewed December 4, 2006.