Van Beuren cartoons are extremely variable, especially in the number of gags and whether the absurdist humour shines through enough (sometimes it does, other times it doesn't), but are strangely interesting. Although they are often poorly animated with barely existent stories and less than compelling lead characters, they are also often outstandingly scored, there can be some fun support characters and some are well-timed and amusing.
'Hot Tamale' may not be a great cartoon, it is yet another case of two mismatched halves that agreed starts decently but becomes less interesting halfway through. It is neither among the best Aesop's Fables/Van Beuren cartoons, but there are certainly far worse. Instead of living up to its name, hot, it ends up rather lukewarm.
As said, 'Hot Tamale' is very easy to criticise. The animation is not good, in fact it is downright bad most of the time with erratically sloppy character designs in particular while the simplistic background detail and lack of fluidity and crispness are just as difficult to ignore. The sound can be muffled.
The pace slackens quite significantly in the second half, gags are too few, all bland, and is very repetitive. It was also disappointing that, even though formulaic and still on the thin side, the first half did show signs of a story, and a cute and charming one at that, that had more likeable characters rather than the annoying ones in the second half. There are some amusing and sweet gags, nicely timed if not exactly imaginative, in the first half too.
Faring best in 'Hot Tamale', and the only outstanding asset, is the music score, it is typically peppy and great fun to listen to. It is so beautifully and cleverly orchestrated and full of lively energy, doing so well with enhancing the action.
Overall, lukewarm. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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