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.
Of the twenty seven "Rainbow Parade" cartoons (a very hit and miss series, the best cartoons being decent and the worst being very weak), 'Molly Moo-Cow and Robinson Crusoe' is among the low middle ones. From the title, the summary and if one is familiar with the previous Molly Moo-Cow and "Rainbow Parade" cartoons, it is impossible to not know what to expect. Not unwatchable or without redeeming qualities, it just didn't do anything for me. Saw it really as somebody who is trying to see as many Van Beuren cartoons as possible, so that is pretty much the main reason to see it.
There are strengths as aforementioned. Quite liked the animation, which has come on a lot since (human) Tom and Jerry and Cubby the Bear. Despite the character drawing lacking refinement and some garishness which does give off a primitive feel, the colours appeal generally to the eye while the backgrounds are elaborate and meticulous. Even better is the music score, it is so beautifully and cleverly orchestrated, is great fun to listen to and full of lively energy, doing so well with enhancing the action.
Some of the synchronisation is sharp enough. Robinson Crusoe is a fun character and the one with the most personality, in fact the only character really with any kind of personality.
'Molly Moo-Cow and Robinson Crusoe' has a lot of things wrong and pretty much all the flaws are apparent in other "Rainbow Parade" cartoons as well. The content is very thin, not much to it, and not only are there not enough gags as such but any absurdist humour or surrealism present in some of Van Beuren's earlier work is completely absent. The cartoon is too saccharine and very cutesy in characterisation, some of the sugar excessive. The first part of the cartoon goes on for too long.
Tension and urgency is not much at all, but at least the more conflict-like moments are not too bizarre or jarring tonally. It's just pretty ordinary in a bland way. Molly herself is just not a strong enough lead character, even her playfulness doesn't compel here, while the rest of the characters are insipid. Only Robinson Crusoe makes an impression in a good way.
Story is flimsy, non-existent actually (what there is of any is very predictable that surprises are nil), and things really drag and badly. The ending leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
At the end of the day, it was very difficult to remember anything from 'Molly Moo-Cow and Rip Van Winkle' other than the animation, Crusoe and music and also that it is just pretty dull, bland and excessively cutesy with a distasteful ending. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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