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It's Father's Day, and Junyer and Ma have a bunch of big surprises in store for good ol' Pa, including a pipe filled with gunpowder. To top it off, there's a gala Father's Day pageant, and Pa sits cringing through Junyer's recitation and aghast at Ma's tap-dancing rendition of "I'm Just Wild About Father." Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Chuck Jones was, and still is considered to be, one of the geniuses in animation with many classics under his belt. There is much to like about his barely talked about "Three Bears" series, and 'A Bear for Punishment' is one of the strongest.
It is also one of those cartoons that this reviewer appreciates and loves even more as a young adult. It is true that it is essentially plot-less but with everything being so well done this is a case of that not mattering.
The animation has Jones' distinctive animation style all over it, especially in the character designs. Everything is vibrantly coloured, the backgrounds are rich and meticulous in detail and it's all beautifully drawn. The music from Carl Stalling, though an uncredited Milt Franklyn also had a hand in orchestration, is typically outstanding, there is so much energy and life to the rhythms, orchestration is cleverly matched and lush and it fits so well with the action and adds to the impact.
What is especially good about 'A Bear for Punishment' is the humour. At its best, like the uproariously funny gag with the pipe and the riot that is the deliciously bizarre climax, 'A Bear for Punishment' is hilarious, and is unusually dark (but wonderfully so) and the satirical edge bites. The dialogue has plenty of wit and bite and the gags all work, starting very strongly and getting even better all the time.
Lack of story, as said already, is not an issue, it's still engaging and has not a single dull stretch and there's enough heart and charm too. The brilliant execution of the humour helps here too. All three characters are very well written, with Junyor coming off best. With the voice acting, sure you do miss Mel Blanc but Billy Bletcher, Bea Benaderet and Stan Freberg (three of the better and most prolific voice actors of the time) voice with every bit the same amount of enthusiasm and energy, if just lacking that special touch that Blanc had which was his ability to bring distinction and individuality to multiple characters (which in all fairness that opportunity is not necessarily given to them here).
Overall, hilarious and brilliantly executed cartoon. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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