Lawn mowers, watchdogs, opera, Jules Verne and flower-eating gophers
Love animation to bits. It was a big part of my life as a child, especially Disney, Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera and Tom and Jerry, and still love it as a young adult, whether it's film, television or cartoons. Actually appreciate it even more now, having more knowledge of the different animation styles and directors and what work went into them.
Am most familiar with the 'Mickey Mouse Works' cartoons from them featuring on 'House of Mouse', a show still held a fondness for by me. With the colours and sound effects, that 'Mickey Mouse Works' makes a real effort to retain the spirit of the old/classic/golden age Disney cartoons is to be lauded. The characters' original personalities are admirably stuck true to as well, particularly Goofy and Donald, while also expanding those for a few, Mickey being more interesting here than before. The hyperactive energy present here is one of few things that is different.
'Remote Controlled Laser Lawn Mower', part of Ludwig Von Drake's "House of Genius" series, is a perfect match for Von Drake's delightful eccentricity, like the rest of the series. As to be expected, it is funny and there are inventive details.
'Pluto vs. The Watchdog' is also entertaining and Pluto is immediately endearing and brings a lot of energy to a story that suits him well. Will admit that the motivations of the watchdog reveal didn't surprise me at all, figured it out fairly early on.
"Donald's Dynamite" as a series is formulaic and the cartoons are a bit too short, but they are amusing and have enough freshness in the different scenarios and the execution of the gags to stop things from being repetitive. Do enjoy 'Opera Box' for those reasons and also because of its inspired use of the "Anvil Chorus" from Verdi's 'Il Trovatore'.
'Around the World in Eighty Days' is the best of the four. That it is Jules Verne, albeit condensed but with the important details given a Disney spin, and that it is one of his best-known works for good reason, has a lot to do with it. As well as the charming way the characters are written, Mickey is very likeable, Goofy is amusingly bumbling and Scrooge is a suitably miserly villain. Anyone who knows the story will know how it all ends but that still doesn't stop it from being satisfying and cute and how charmingly the story is told.
While not surprising in outcome, the stories are lively and engaging, kept afloat by the character interaction, characters and the atmosphere. The writing is clever and very funny, even with the deliberately corny moment and pun which made me grin rather than groan.
Really enjoy the spontaneous flow of the episode and Donald's spotlight stealing/accident with the flowers and the gopher is very funny indeed.
Furthermore, the animation is very colourful, smooth in movement and with some meticulous detail. The music is suitably groovy, jaunty and cleverly used.
Voice acting is very good with some of the best voice actors in the business involved. Wayne Allwine, Bill Farmer and Tony Anselmo are more than worthy successors to Walt Disney/James MacDonald, Pinto Colvig and Clarence "Ducky" Nash. 'Around the World in Eighty Days' fares best when it comes to the voice acting, with John Cleese a thoughtful narrator and Alan Young perfectly cast as Scrooge. Jim Cummings enjoys himself as Pete and Corey Burton brings so much personality to Von Drake.
To conclude, very enjoyable. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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