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The animation is the best thing here

Author: Robert Reynolds ( from Tucson AZ
23 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a short in the Silly Symphonies series done by Disney. There will be spoilers ahead:

This is basically "Cute sea creatures dancing and playing around under the sea". You see fish, starfish, lobsters among other critters dancing and playing music beneath the waves. The best of these scenes is a lobster playing a harp.

There are a couple of attempts to introduce drama with an octopus trying to catch cute little fish and it might have been a better short if there'd been more of this and less frolicking.

This is a very nice short visually and the animation is very good, but it's disjointed and has no real point. This was often the case with early Silly Symphonies shorts, but I get a feeling of "been there, done that" with this one and the gags aren't quite capable of carrying the short in the total absence of any real story.

This short is available on the Disney Treasures More Silly Symphonies DVD set and the set is worth getting.

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Nothing special, but a nice cartoon all the same

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
26 May 2012

I do enjoy, and in most cases, love the Silly Symphonies. Frollicking Fish is better than El Terrible Toreador, The Merry Dwarfs and Cannibal Capers, but it is not one of my favourites like Father Noah's Ark, Skeleton Dance, The Band Concert, The Old Mill and Flowers and Trees. The animation is suitably dynamic and smooth, the music is lovely and energetic and the dancing is niftily choreographed. But at the end of the day, it is a virtually plot less cartoon, with nothing that comes across as funny, a lack of crispness in the pacing and apart from the octopus who is a remarkable creation there are no characters that are properly engaging. Overall, nice but nothing special. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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Pretty typical for the series...

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
18 August 2011

In the late 1920s, Walt Disney started a series of cartoons labeled "Silly Symphonies". These shorts did not feature the usual Disney characters but consisted of various animals or bugs (in most cases) moving about to the music. While the style is pretty antiquated compared to later cartoons, they're pleasant and a lot better than the competition--who started copying Disney with similarly named shorts (such as Merry Melodies and Happy Harmonies).

"Frolicking Fish" is pretty typical of these films in many ways. While it is odd that it features fish, the rest is pure Silly Symphonies. Cutesy creatures dance about and frolic. However, the fun is cut short when an evil creature (in this case an octopus, but in others it's a cat or bear or bird or some other nasty) appears and wants to do harm to the super-cute folks of the sea. Fortunately, the fish it pursues is pretty handy and the day is saved....huzzah! Overall, while not terribly original, it's pleasant and easy to watch.

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I'd like to be under the sea, in an octopus' garden...

Author: ackstasis from Australia
7 May 2009

'Frolicking Fish (1930)' certainly isn't 'Finding Nemo (2003),' but it's likely that Pixar received at least some inspiration from this early Silly Symphony. When it came to Disney's basic musical cartoons, which sacrificed story for anthropomorphised movement, few directors were more adept than director Burt Gillett, whose finest effort is 'Flowers and Trees (1932).' Here, he takes us beneath the ocean, where life is great. Fish and crustaceans coexist harmoniously, dancing and playing musical instruments; that is, until the evil black octopus arrives to spoil everybody's fun – never trust a mollusc! The Disney animators were fond, where exotic creatures were concerned, of zooming in on their gaping mouths, perhaps to create the sensation that the cinema audience is being swallowed up by those massive jaws. Here, it happens with a fish; in ' Hell's Bells (1929)' it was a demon of some sort, and a lion in 'Cannibal Capers (1930).' This was Disney exploring the unique artistic possibilities afforded by the animation medium, since such shots would have been virtually impossible to replicate in live-action. The cartoon finds some semblance of narrative in its final minute, when the octopus tries to hunt down and eat a terrified fish, which wriggles out from between the octopus' big white teeth (no horny beak on this one) and drops a hefty-looking ship anchor onto his attacker. It's a bloody – or that should be inky – end to one of the most sinister Silly Symphony villains.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Disney Peeps Under The Sea

Author: Ron Oliver ( from Forest Ranch, CA
16 September 2000

A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.

The FROLICKING FISH at the bottom of the ocean are having a wonderful day, swimming & darting about. The arrival of a hungry octopus, however, seriously threatens to disrupt their fun...

With virtually no plot to speak of, this black & white cartoon is another exercise in action/reaction animation.

The SILLY SYMPHONIES, which Walt Disney produced for a ten year period beginning in 1929, are among the most interesting of series in the field of animation. Unlike the Mickey Mouse cartoons in which action was paramount, with the Symphonies the action was made to fit the music. There was little plot in the early Symphonies, which featured lively inanimate objects and anthropomorphic plants & animals, all moving frantically to the soundtrack. Gradually, however, the Symphonies became the school where Walt's animators learned to work with color and began to experiment with plot, characterization & photographic special effects. The pages of Fable & Fairy Tale, Myth & Mother Goose were all mined to provide story lines and even Hollywood's musicals & celebrities were effectively spoofed. It was from this rich soil that Disney's feature-length animation was to spring. In 1939, with SNOW WHITE successfully behind him and PINOCCHIO & FANTASIA on the near horizon, Walt phased out the SILLY SYMPHONIES; they had run their course & served their purpose.

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