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Case Number 16358: Small Claims Court

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Walt Disney Animation Collection: The Reluctant Dragon

Disney // 2009 // 62 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 12th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is a reluctant stud.

The Charge

From Disney's animation vaults, four cartoon shorts to add to your collection.

The Case

Here we go:

• The Reluctant Dragon
The titular short tells the story of a little boy who happens upon a dragon reading poetry. Though he's obviously not dangerous, when the boy tells renowned dragonslayer Sir Giles about his existence, the showdown is on. With the townspeople out in force cheering for dragon murder, Giles and the Reluctant Dragon square off, but can their mutual love of iambic pentameter defuse the violent situations before there's any bloodshed? Yes, I think so!

This is an oldie but a goodie, full of positive moralizing about not judging a person (or fire-breathing mythical beast) by stereotypes or external appearances and enemies finding common ground to work out their problems diplomatically. There is one small problem: the Reluctant Dragon is the biggest animated dork I've ever seen. I don't have the words to properly describe this foppish twit, but I will tell you this: I was sincerely hoping that Giles would sack up and drive a lance through his stupid brain.

• Ferdinand the Bull
So there's this bull and his name is Ferdinand and the last thing he wants to do is compete in a Spanish bullfight. See, he's a lover not a fighter. But when Ferdinand accidentally sits on a bumblebee his pronounced reaction impresses the bullfighter scouts and he's drafted in. When it's time to go toe-to-toe with the bullfighter, he opts instead to practice his pacifist ways and smells daisies.

A short, short film this one, and not terribly interesting. Basically Ferdinand is a little wuss that would rather stick his head in a flower than gore a man to death. What gives?!

• Goliath II
No, it's not Disney's first foray into animated adult entertainment (rimshot!), but a small tale about a smaller elephant, named Goliath the Second. He's freakishly tiny, about the size of a mouse. Ironically, his dad, Goliath, is the biggest, baddest elephant mofo in the jungle. As a result, he's ostracized by the herd because of his diminutive size until he does something awesome and wins back their affection. Not shown: when Goliath II suffocates in a sadly misplaced clump of elephant stool the next day.

This installment is pure Disney: jungle animals with disabilities working through the challenge to earn the respect of their jackass elders.

• Johnny Appleseed
The man who carved his name into American mythology by dropping a bunch of seeds in the ground and growing some awesome apple trees gets himself immortalized in this fairly boring (but whatever) retelling of his legend.

Again, straight-up Disney: laughing and dancing woodland creatures and a narrator that sounds like your grandfather and some rhyming and feverish hallucinations of bearded angels.

Overall, it's a charming, eclectic selection of short films with enough broad appeal to keep the kiddos interested all the way through. I do suspect they'll come to ridicule the Reluctant Dragon as much as I did, and you may want to keep close tabs on the family computer for particularly violent fan fiction about his gruesome death.

The video quality is solid, save for The Reluctant Dragon. I'm willing to give Disney the benefit of the doubt and trust they dug up the best source elements they could for the transfer, but the picture for titular cartoon is regrettably low quality. The stereo sound gets the job done and that's it. No extras.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Disney
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 62 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Animation
• Disney
• Family
• Short Films

Distinguishing Marks

• None

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