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.
'The Fisherman' is yet another lukewarm cartoon of the mostly disappointing 1931 batch of Oswald cartoons, though a little better than 'Northwoods' and 'The Hare Mail' (the weakest two of the batch). The exceptions, the ones that were above average or more, were 'Country School', 'The Farmer', 'Radio Rhythm', 'The Bandmaster', 'The Hunter' and 'Wonderland'.
It is the animation that is the bright spot in 'The Fisherman'. It may occasionally lack refinement, but most of it is smooth and detailed with Oswald's movements, gestures and expressions still very much natural, like the generally freer, more elaborate and faster look of a good deal of Oswald cartoons at this time. Drawing has occasional crudeness but is mostly fine and transitions don't feel as choppy and incomplete as some of the worst Oswald cartoons.
Music is another strength. It has an energetic nature, fits well and is dynamic with the action, then again the music is nearly always good in the Oswald cartoons. Synchronisation is good and Oswald is endearing.
On the other hand, the story feels formulaic and very cobbled together, what very little there is, most of it is barely existent. Good pacing and gags would have made this more forgivable. Neither are there enough. This may sound like me being too harsh in giving a lacklustre rating, but the pacing, story thinness and gags were major enough issues to deduct more than one point each unfortunately.
Some of the pace lacks momentum and the entire cartoon is just lacking in laughs of any kind, not even raising a small smile, most being drawn out and over-familiar. The supporting characters are pretty forgettable and the sound can lack resonance.
All in all, not awful, far from it, but there are other Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons that are far more deserving of being worth fishing for. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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