For some weird reason, the pauper Judge Clark Douglas traded places with won't return his calls.
Our review of The Prince And The Pauper, published February 18th, 2008, is also available.
"I'm not really the prince!"
The final installment of the first batch of "Disney Animation Collection" DVDs offers the 1990 animated short "The Prince and the Pauper and four additional similarly themed vintage shorts. Let's check 'em out.
"The Prince and the Pauper" (25 minutes): A peasant (Mickey Mouse)
and a prince (Mickey Mouse again) decide they would like a change of scenery.
They agree to trade places for a while, allowing the prince to live like a
peasant and vice versa. Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck all play supporting roles.
This is far and away the most recent animated short on any of the first three
DVDs, and there's definitely a considerably more modern sensibility and style of
humor when it comes to the animation and storytelling. That said, it's a very
well-animated outing featuring a reasonably enjoyable variation on the Mark
Twain story. It has been included on numerous previous DVD releases.
"The Pied Piper" (7 minutes): The town of Hamelin is suffering
from a horrific rat infestation. They're willing to do just about anything to
get rid of the rats. So, when a pied piper comes to town promising that he can
rid Hamelin of the pesky rodents, they hastily agree. Once things are taken care
of, the townsfolk are hesitant to pay the piper's fee, and the consequences may
be devastating. I didn't particularly like the animation on this one, and the
songs aren't exceptionally good. The story itself is a pretty traditional
retelling of the tale. The short was previously included on the Walt Disney
Treasures: More Silly Symphonies release.
"Old King Cole" (7 minutes): The incredibly ugly Old King Cole
throws a grand party for all the nursery rhyme characters in his kingdom, from
Old Mother Hubbard to Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary. They all sing and dance for
the duration of the short. This one is very similar in tone and animation style
on "The Pied Piper" (in fact, the Pied Piper makes a cameo appearance
at the beginning of the short) and it's similarly underwhelming. Parents may
also want to be aware that characters briefly appear in blackface here. The
short was previously included on the Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly
"A Knight for a Day" (7 minutes): That lovable goofball Goofy
travels back to the 15th Century to participate in a jousting tournament.
Despite his general incompetence when it comes to such things, Goofy (going by
the named of "Cedric") somehow manages to do pretty well in the
tournament. This one is amusing from time to time, but the background animation
takes an awful lot of shortcuts. Not one of the better Goofy animated shorts
I've seen. The short was previously included on the Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy
"Ye Olden Days" (8 minutes): This black and white short stars
Mickey Mouse as a wandering minstrel. The minstrel is journeying across the land
in search of people to play music for. During the course of his journey, he
spies a beautiful princess and determines to have her for himself. Alas, a
wicked prince (played by Goofy, then known as "Dirty Dawg") has all
ready been promised the hand of the princess, and will stop at nothing to make
sure that his marriage takes place as planned. Like most of the shorts on this
set, this one is rather ordinary and unmemorable. The short was previously
included on the Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey
Mouse in Black and White release.
As you might expect, the transfer on "The Prince and the Pauper" is considerably superior to the transfer on any of the other shorts. Vibrant and rich, the short looks quite solid aside from a very minor stream of scratches and flecks. In addition, the audio on the lead feature is considerably busier and more immersive than any of the other shorts. The rest tend to suffer from quite a few scratches and flecks in addition to very pinched audio. In terms of audio and video, this disc is simultaneously the best and the worst the Disney Animation Collection has to offer. There are no extras included on the disc.
This double-dip has been rather affordably priced, but I'd recommend checking out the previous two releases before you consider this one.
It's a close call, but this one is guilty.
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