Judge Clark Douglas thanks the Three Little Pigs for their contribution to the struggling housing market.
"Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"
The second installment in the "Disney Animation Collection" line spotlights the popular "Three Little Pigs" animated short and a series of similarly-themed vintage Disney cartoons. What's in this batch? Let's take a look.
"Three Little Pigs" (9 minutes): This musical re-telling of the
well-known fairy tale offers a fun variation on the story. We are introduced to
three little pigs, all of whom are building their houses. The first pig is
building his house out of straw. He is a carefree idiot. The second little pig
is building his house out of sticks. He is also a carefree idiot. The third
little pig is building his house of bricks. He is a responsible and cantankerous
prude. The first two little pigs make fun of the third little pig on a regular
basis, until the Big Bad Wolf comes to town searching for some tasty little
pigs. It's a cute little charmer that serves as a fine lead-off hitter for the
disc. The cartoon has been previously issued on numerous Disney cartoon
"The Big Bad Wolf" (9 minutes): In this sequel to "Three
Little Pigs," none other than Little Red Riding Hood meets up with the
Three Little Pigs. Red tells the pigs that she is planning to take some food to
her grandmother. The two foolish pigs tell Red to take a shortcut, but the one
responsible pig warns her that the Big Bad Wolf could catch her if she takes the
shortcut. Sure enough, Red decides to take the shortcut, and not even the
valiant "protection" of the two foolish pigs can keep her safe from
the wiles of Big Bad. Can the third little pig save the day once again before
all his friends are destroyed? It's not too often that one sees an animated
short sequel like this one; and it's a worthy follow-up to the more well-known
original. The short was previously released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies
"Three Little Wolves" (9 minutes): The third and final part of the
epic "Three Little Pigs" trilogy begins in the home of The Big Bad
Wolf. He's training his three little wolf children how to kill and cook little
pigs. Meanwhile, the two foolish little pigs busy themselves being foolish,
being "the pigs who cried wolf" by sounding the wolf alarm in an
attempt to scare the responsible pig. When the big showdown between the pigs and
the wolves arrives, will the responsible pig respond to the desperate cries of
his idiot brothers? I liked this one well enough, but it seems a bit different
in tone than its predecessors, taking a macabre and violent turn during the
final act. The short was previously released as part of the Walt Disney
Treasures: Silly Symphonies set.
"Lambert the Sheepish Lion" (8 minutes): The stork from Dumbo (voiced by Sterling Holloway, who also
narrates the tale) visits a flock of sheep, and brings them some lovely little
lambs. There's only one mistake: one of the little lambs is actually a little
lion. Too lazy to correct the mistake he has made, the stork decides to go ahead
and let the little lion stay with one of the lions. What follows is a sweet
little "Ugly Duckling" story featuring rather delightful animation.
This is actually my favorite short of the set. The short was previously released
on Walt Disney Treasures—Disney Rarities—Celebrated Shorts, 1920s
"Chicken Little" (9 minutes): Long before Disney decided to update
Chicken Little by adding sci-fi
trappings and pop culture references, they created this amusing little variation
on the story that sticks far closer to the original source material. A wicked
fox (aptly named Foxy Loxy) determines to psychologically trick a dumb little
chicken into believing that the sky is falling. If he can cause enough of a
panic, he can lead all of the barnyard animals into his trap and turn them into
a tasty meal. Good animation here and I love the horrifically evil ending. The
short has been previously included on numerous DVD releases.
"Three Blind Mouseketeers" (9 minutes): Three blind mousketeers
(as in mouse musketeers, not the kids from the television show) dance and sing.
Their favorite tune is called, "We're the Three Blind Mouseketeers,
Yay!" Very imaginative mice, they are. While they sing and dance and
swordfight (not a good idea for blind mice), a one-eyed cat sets a remarkably
elaborate deathtrap for the three blind mice. The running gag is that the mice
are able to survive all the traps due to "blind luck." Heh. Some good
comedy here, but this one is rather lacking in terms of characterization. The
short was previously included on Disney's The Rescuers DVD release.
"Elmer Elephant" (8 minutes): Carefree Elmer Elephant goes to the
birthday party of Tillie the Tiger. Elmer has a serious crush on Tillie, and
Tillie really seems to like Elmer, too. Alas, all the other kids seem intent on
making fun of Elmer's great big nose. They treat him with cruelty and beat him
up, leaving Elmer alone and depressed. Poor Elmer. In the classic Disney
tradition, the ridiculed outcast eventually finds happiness. It's a very
sweet-natured little short that serves as a nice finale to the disc. The short
was previously released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly
I'm pleased to report that most of the shorts included here receive a considerably better transfer than those included on the first volume, Mickey and the Beanstalk. The scratches and flecks are kept to a minimum this time around, and the level of detail is quite solid. Colors are bright and vivid. The 5.1 audio is just fine, though these shorts weren't exactly begging for a brand new mix. The dialogue and music are a bit distorted at times, but that's to be expected when one considers that most of these were made in the 1930s. There are no extras included on the disc.
Though all of these cartoons are available elsewhere, this is a pretty solid compilation that offers an hour of nursery rhyme-inspired fun. Arguably the best batch of the new "Disney Animation Collection" releases.
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