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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before I start, I'd like to point out that, apart from about five percent, Ron Oliver always writes the same review over and over, which I'd call cheating. Okay, well the first thing I noticed upon watching this fine late entry to this series were the pretty silly-looking fairy sprites that looked nothing even remotely like moths. I didn't think I was gonna enjoy myself when I saw them, I thought it might have been one of those ones that were too childish-but I soon loved it. I wish I could have enjoyed all the Silly Symphonies half as much. I just adored the absolute gorgeous rich animation and colour of all the backgrounds, and really everything. I especially appreciated a theatrical mask that is seen on the wall and the way the expression of it turns sad for a second as it melts. The animation, I think, was of the sublime style of the all-time Disney masterpiece Pinnochio. I also thought the animation of the tempting flame was absolutely incredible. It was so great, the way it danced, shape ever-changing, yellow-red-blue wonder, magic beauty, just like the real thing. I loved the weird effect and colour-change of when the flame turns blue as it's hit with the ink. So like the blaze that crowns the head of Hades way later in the pretty horrible Disney effort-Hercules. I've noticed that the element of fire is used is used to represent evil, or the villain in quite a few of the Silly Symphonies. This is the only one I know of where the fire had a face. As much as I love the look of everything, the action by no means took a backseat. I love the girl moth's deadly dance with the wicked flame... Just like the the saying: "Like a Moth to the Flame" meaning to be helplessly attracted to something that is probably very bad for you. I love when the harmless little amorous flame suddenly becomes a burning blaze and all the moths rally to extinguish it and eventually they do so-with bagpipes! I love bagpipes, they're so daft-looking, I just find them hilarious to look at. I loved the perfect-pitch ending with the cute little bug-fairies kissing in the middle of a gold ring. It's really no different then the endings of hundreds of other Disney cartoons, close-up of some couple who have overcome adversity sharing a bashful kiss-but I loved it! Normally I don't care as only mine matter to me, but I don't get the relatively low rating of this. The animation is superb and it's got tons of excitement and charm. It's definitely a standout of the series in my book. p.s. If you loved the flying characters in this, I would recommend you watch the segment of an Animaniacs episode titled: "Wings Take Heart."
Moth and the Flame is not Disney at their best, the story is rather thin in structure and some of the gags are on the predictable side. But oddly enough Moth and the Flame is still worth watching. The animation is outstanding, really one of Disney's best looking shorts with very richly coloured backgrounds and splendid fire and lightning effects. I don't know about anybody else but I also liked how the character designs reminded me of Fleischer. There are some clever visual ideas such as the moth eating his hat like a turkey. Only the Scottish mannequin design came across as goofy to me. The music is beautiful, with energy and an ability to enhance the action, the girl moth dancing near the flame was a definite highlight. The characters are just as great, both moths are instantly appealing, the girl moth is very pretty especially, but it was the flame personification that was the most well-done, amazingly realistic it was. All in all, well worth watching but not one of the all-time greats to me. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox
A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.
A curvaceous young insect attracts the attentions of a boy MOTH AND THE FLAME of a candle, both of whom want to possess her for different reasons. The flame proving practically inextinguishable, the resulting fiery melee is not settled until further night fliers swarm to the rescue.
Without any great technical innovations or underlying social themes, this pleasant, perky little cartoon seemingly exists purely for entertainment.
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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