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.
Mostly the 1931 batch of Oswald cartoons was sadly average or less. This said, some of the 1931 cartoons were above average or more (a few very good), particularly 'The Farmer', 'Country School', 'The Bandmaster', 'Radio Rhythm', 'The Hunter' and 'Wonderland'. 'The Hare Mail' is unfortunately not one of them, instead along with 'Northwoods' one of the weaker Oswald cartoons from that year.
Best thing about 'The Hare Mail' is the music. 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, with 'Northwoods' being one of few exceptions.
Synchronisation is good and Oswald is endearing, with a decent adversary.
However, 'The Hare Mail' is not one of the better-looking Oswald cartoons, being one of the few Oswald cartoons from 1931 to look like it was made in haste. The animation has been much smoother and more detailed before, with some roughness and incompleteness at times, transitions that are on the choppy side and characters not looking firmly grounded.
Furthermore, there is very little in 'The Hare Mail' that is amusing, let alone funny. The crippling predictability hurts it, with many seen-it-before gags that have been done with far more imagination, and generally the cartoon lacks sharp timing and fully realised development, everything feeling sluggish and half-baked.
While one doesn't see an Oswald cartoon for its story, this aspect is particularly weak in 'The Hare Mail'. The over-familiarity may have been forgivable if timing was crisper and if events were cohesively structured, instead it all feels dull and the story and material feel very cobbled together. Even the title feels like an afterthought. The sound does lack resonance.
In conclusion, weak and one of the worst 1931 Oswald cartoons. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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