Casper the Friendly Ghost and Billy the Kid in the Old West
Wording in this review with my other recent reviews for the Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons is going to be very similar. This is mainly though because the cartoons do have the same merits and also similar faults.
Famous Studios' cartoons are not for all tastes, but my opinion is that their early stuff and some of the early 50s output are good. While they were very formulaic they were always well animated and voiced with some funny parts, some poignancy and decent characters and their regular composer Winston Sharples could always be relied on to write a great and often outstanding score.
Admittedly though, by the mid-50s through to the late-60s Famous Studios' cartoons did get repetitive. While Sharples' music still shone and the voice actors did their best the animation suffered due to lower budgets and tighter deadlines, the humour became more tired and slow in timing than sharp and funny, the stories became increasingly predictable and rehashed and some characters started losing their initial spark, this is particularly true of most of the later Herman and Katnip cartoons.
'Boos and Saddles' is an okay cartoon, but there is not much that is special about it. The music score is the only real thing that is outstanding about it.
Story-wise, while sweet and amusing, it is repetitive and very more of the same (Casper wanting to find a friend, people or animals being afraid and running away from him, making a friend and then saving them from a life or death situation), if you have seen any Casper cartoon it won't take long seeing more that you're watching basically the same story or structure but with variations. The dialogue also falls on the wrong side of twee and is by far the asset that is the most easily forgettable, also so similar to previous Casper cartoons that you can practically recite the next line from a number of seconds away.
While the friendship between Casper and Billy the Kid is sweet, it is too like any other friendship in a Casper cartoon to really resonate. The climax is also just too predictable and reads too much of how a Casper cartoon often ends, which hurts the urgency and intensity.
Animation on the whole was well done, and an improvement on the animation in the previous Casper cartoon despite being fairly similar stylistically. Thankfully being closer to the very fluid and detailed animation style of the early output rather than the sparser and flatter style of the studio's later cartoons. The colours are vibrant and atmospheric, it mostly looks smooth, apart from some roughness here and there, and the backgrounds are meticulous in their detail.
Winston Sharples' music score here is typically merry and whimsical, it's beautifully orchestrated, energetic and adds so much to the mood, his music has always been one of the best assets of the Famous Studios cartoons and it's not an exception here. In fact how it's composed and how it meshes so well with everything going on in the animation, story and action contributes to it being the best thing about the cartoon.
Reactions towards Casper are nice and varied with some imaginative visuals. The voice acting is good.
In summary, okay Casper cartoon but not much special about it. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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