Chilly Willy's best cartoons were perfect examples of how a potentially one-joke character and concept could end up actually being a perfect mix of the cute and the funny with a lot of colour and good comic timing to go with it.
'Mackerel Mooch' is hardly the first time that has Chilly Willy hunting for fish and trying to be prevented from doing so and eating them. Cartoons such as 'Fish Hooked', 'Tricky Trout' and 'Fish and Chips' with Wally Walrus and more memorably Smedley did so as well. Despite the story being fairly weak and very formulaic, like those three cartoons 'Mackerel Mooch' is done with enough colour and imagination to stop it from mattering as badly as it could have done, though the formulaic nature of the story does sadly make a lot of action predictable.
Regardless of that, 'Mackerel Mooch' is still a very enjoyable cartoon and among the better 60s Chilly Willy outings. Oh and Chilly has a different opponent, this time a pelican, and the pelican actually turns out to be one his better opponents that isn't Smedley or Wally Walrus, with enough personality and comic timing to make one not miss either to much. One also feel sorry for the pelican too.
That 'Mackerel Mooch' is directed by Jack Hannah, who was responsible for some truly great work with Disney (some of the best they ever did) may have something to do with it, and Hannah does wonders with the limited budgets and time constraints.
Even if minimal and limited budget-wise, the animation is bright, colourful and has more detail and imagination than most of the Chilly Willy cartoons from this period. The music is full of lively bounce and character, with luscious orchestration. It not only adds to the action and visuals but enhances them too.
All the gags are rarely less than amusing and beautifully timed. The chemistry between Chilly and Wally sparkles, and it is always remarkable at what Chilly has up his sleeve and how he does it. Underneath all that irresistible cuteness he is one clever, funny and at times fairly brutal penguin.
Chilly is adorable and is also a lot of fun, with his actions speaking far louder than words. He may be a nuisance to his opponents but he wins the viewer over with his cuteness and timing.
On the whole, very good if not quite among Chilly Willy's overall best, while being a lot better than most of his cartoons after. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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