Raiding the Disney archives, Walt Disney Fables Volume 2
is a collection of animated fairy tales from as early as the mid-1930s. Of the two volumes, this is perhaps better suited to younger children, featuring as it does a succession of short, easy-to-follow stories told through bright, colourful characters and songs. It may not feature any of Disney's more recognisable creations, but the chosen fables are imbued with strong enough stories to hold the attention.
The animation, while state-of-the-art in its day, comes over now as more than a little awkward and crude--especially in comparison to the studio's classic output of the 1960s. While not really an example of Disney at its best, this does give a good indication of the company's roots and the start of a process that would lead to countless magical moments along the way.
On the DVD: Walt Disney Fables Volume 2 presents a snapshot of early animation and as such is not really amenable to technical enhancement, leaving an overall effect that offers no substantial improvement on the VHS format. The chapter selection, however, will be a boon for anyone who has sat through increasingly worn video tapes over the years. There is a reasonably appealing interactive game based on Disney's films over the years, yet with no other extras at all this is a long way short of the standard of presentation that the studio itself has set. The more satisfying first volume is also available. --Phil Udell
Six more animated stories from the Disney studios. In 'Little Hiawatha' Little Indian cannot seem to kill the animals he hunts and ends up befriending a rabbit. In the Oscar-winning 'The Ugly Dickling' a baby duckling is shunned by his family for being ugly but finds a mother swan who takes him under her wing. 'Farmyard Symphony' sees a rooster, pig and lamb make beautiful music. 'Wynken, Blynken and Nod' sees three babies going to the moon in a wooden shoe. 'Merbabies' sees ocean waves turning into cherubic sea-maidens. And finally the Oscar-winning 'The Old Mill' goes inside a windmill during a stormy night.