Despite Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and his cartoons being popular and well received at the time, they have been vastly overshadowed over time by succeeding animation characters. It is a shame as, while not cartoon masterpieces, they are fascinating for anybody wanting to see what very old animation looked like.
Oswald in the Disney years saw mostly good to very good cartoons, and while the Winkler years had some duds there were also cartoons as good as the best of the Disney years. The 1929-1930 batches of Walter Lantz-directed Oswald cartoons were a mixed bag, with some good, some forgettable and not much special and a few mediocre. The 1931 batch was mostly underwhelming, with only 6 out of 18 cartoons being above average or more. The 1932 batch had a few not so good, though the cartoons in question were nothing compared to the worst of the previous 3 years, cartoons, but most were decent to good and some even very good. The 1933 batch is one of the most consistent, with the weakest 'Beau Best' still being decent. The 1934 batch were mostly nice and decent if unexceptional, with a few average ones and 'Sky Larks' and 'Toyland Premiere' being very good.
'Beachcombers' is pretty good, and so much better than the weak previous cartoon 'Kiddie Revue'. Oswald here is a little bland and has little to do, considering he is meant to be the lead he felt more a supporting character if even that.
The story is pretty flimsy, then again this component has rarely been a strong suit in an Oswald cartoon, and the ending is easily foreseeable and tries too hard to be cute, a common problem with the later Oswald cartoons (though most are still decent regardless, one just misses the more chaotic nature).
However, the animation and gags are very well done. Once again the animation is terrific, it is elaborate, beautifully and cleverly drawn and rich in detail in the backgrounds. The fight with the octopus is the animation standout, so imaginative and the attention to detail is a wonder.
Gags too are very amusing, with the best being the rescue from the octopus, to say it's funny is an understatement as well as tense. They are well timed and misfires are few. Only the ending doesn't quite work.
Oswald's underuse is a disappointment but the colourful supporting characters more than make up for it. Love the resourcefulness of the ducks, while the dog is both funny and interesting in personality and the octopus appropriately antagonistic.
In summary, pretty good and worth watching. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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