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While it is not a favourite of mine, 'The Hot Choc-late Soldiers' is still a lot of fun and it is a shame that it is pretty much a rarity aside from featuring in (and being a highlight of) 'Hollywood Party'.
There is actually not very much here in 'The Hot Choc-late Soldiers' that's wrong, other than that it is quite slight story-wise and for a Disney cartoon it did feel a little too short (being about a minute and a half shorter than the average Disney short). It is understandable if it's not for everybody's tastes, especially those expecting something funnier and less cutesy. Just for the record, personally neither are an issue.
Going on to what is good about 'The Hot Choc-late Soldiers' the animation is very colourful and beautifully drawn, drawing favourable comparisons with 'The Cookie Carnival' (one of my favourites) and the traditional early Fleischer animation style. In the battle sequence that dominates most of the short, there are some really clever visuals and inventive animation that makes imaginative (on the same level of 'The Cookie Carnival' in imagination) use of sugary treats. The music is another strong component, from the incredibly catchy title song to the energetic, lusciously orchestrated and sometimes tense incidental music.
Despite how cutesy it all sounds, 'The Hot Choc-late Soldiers' doesn't just have one emotion and such. While there are funnier and faster-paced Disney cartoons around, there are still some fun gags that are mostly down to how the treats are used (i.e the agreed surprisingly suggestive touch with the soldier melting at being kissed). For a Disney short of this time, it's reasonably daring too with the battle having parts of genuine tension as well as genuine fun- yes, fortunately warfare is not "sugar-coated" (pun intended) here- and in particular the poignantly bittersweet ending, that is so unexpected when one expects it to end happily like the defeat suggests.
Although there isn't a main character here the characters are cute and you do care about what happens to them. The singing vocals of (I think) an uncredited Arthur Freed help give the title song its rousing nature.
In conclusion, not a favourite but still has a lot to like and should be known more. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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