As a child, I can easily remember my prized possession was a Walt Disney book that my father purchased for me and it featured the chronology of the early classic Walt Disney animated shorts. Some of these shorts were shown on the Disney Channel when I was younger but suffice to say, with all the new animation, a lot of these classics have probably been forgotten or have been released on VHS video.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment are now releasing a few of these shorts on DVD for the first time (some have appeared on past Disney DVD releases). With the first three volumes released, the fourth, fifth and sixth volumes will be released on May 12, 2009.
A lot of these short films were created in the 1920-1940's and typically featured characters that were not reoccurring (with the exception of the tortoise and the hare which appeared in a second short). Some were released under the "Silly Symphony" moniker of animated shorts released between 1929-1939 which rarely featured any character dialogue but focused more on the animation accompanied by music and a singing vocal track.
Walt Disney Animation Collection Vol. 4 - The Tortoise and the Hare
The fourth volume of "The Tortoise and the Hare" includes a total of six animated shorts. Included are:
1. The Tortoise and the Hare - (8:40) A Silly Symphony animated short from 1939 featuring the popular tale of the race between the tortoise and the hare.
2. Babes in the Woods - (7:45) A Silly Symphony animated short from 1932 about two children and dwarfs who go against a wicked witch who has captured and turned children to animals.
3. The Goddess of Spring - (9:36) A Silly Symphony animation from 1934 featuring the Goddess of Spring who is captured by the Devil and with her capture has turned the world into Winter.
4. Toby Tortoise Returns - (7:32) a Silly Symphony animation from 1936 featuring another animated short starring Toby Tortoise and the Hare who are in a boxing match.
5. Paul Bunyan - (17:07) a 1958 Technicolor animated short starring the tall lumberjack Paul Bunyan.
6. The Saga of Windwagon Smith - (13:32) A 1961 Technicolor animated short featuring a Western animation about the adventures of Windwagon Smith.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Walt Disney Animation Collection" is featured with an aspect ratio of 1:33:1. These classics are available on DVD for the first time but its important to mention that these animated shorts have not been digitally remastered or cleaned up.
As a matter of fact, you will see a lot of the dust and scratches of the film and some of the animation look fine for being nearly 70 years old but others look grainy and a bit aged. Granted, these are not classic full featured films but I hope one of these days, many of these classics do get cleaned up or even digitally remastered.
As for the audio, audio is featured in Dolby Digital Surround Sound. I found that on my home theater system, the best selection on my receiver to view these animated shorts was to switch it to mono or (if you have this capability) select stereo for all channels.
There are no special features included on this DVD. But each volume does come with a free collectible litho print.
As mentioned earlier in my review, my prized possession as a child was a Walt Disney booklet that covered the Walt Disney animated shorts in chronological order and had the opportunity to watch these classics. Now as an adult with children, a lot of the animation from Walt Disney that my child sees is the latest in CG animation.
But I wanted him to sit and watch these animated shorts with me and sure enough, he enjoyed them. These animated shorts, the majority of them are simple and have no dialogue.
For fans of classic Walt Disney animation and you pretty much have moved on away from your VHS copies, the "Walt Disney Animation Collection" is a great collection of your classic Disney animated shorts on DVD.
Many people who have purchased the "Walt Disney Treasures" DVD box sets from 2001, "Walt Disney's Timeless Tales" from 2005 or the "Walt Disney's It's a Small World of Fun!" DVD release from 2007 probably may not need any of these shorts as quite a number of them have appeared on DVD already.
But a few of the short films that are featured on the six volumes of "Walt Disney Animation Collection" have not been released on DVD until now.
Overall, It all comes down to your preference to the classic animated shorts from long ago and whether or not you owned previous releases. For those who haven't owned the previous Disney DVD shorts or box sets, now is a good time to start because a lot of the past releases have been discontinued.
Otherwise, if you are a person who already owns the previous DVD releases that contain these shorts, unfortunately, these animated shorts offer nothing new and are not digitally remastered. There may be a few titles on these DVD's that have not been released before on prior Walt Disney DVD's but it all comes down to your preference and if these episodes are worth having on DVD.
But if you are a parent or grandparent who wants to show your children or grandchildren the Walt Disney animation that you grew up with or a person who has never seen these shorts and have been curious about them, then definitely give "Walt Disney Animation Collection" a chance.