Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Series: Walt Disney’s Timeless Tales #2
Release Date: 16 August 2005
Length: 60 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 4/5 stars
“See where it all began in these classic Disney short cartoons. Meet Mr. Toad and go on his wild ride in the funny adventure “The Wind in the Willows,” based on the Kenneth Grahame children’s story. And enjoy the 1936 and 1939 Academy Award-winners for Best Animated Short: “Country Cousin,” in which a country mouse explores the big city with his urban cousin, and the delightful “Ugly Duckling,” the story of a waterfowl who just wants to belong.” — Netflix.com
This was an enjoyable collection of Disney classics, but not my favorite. I know that many reviewers complained about this series as all of these cartoons are found in other collections. I rented it so I did not feel like I missed out on anything. I will say that buying these DVDs could become really expensive, though, as there are only 4 cartoons on this DVD and it costs around $15 and is only about 1 hour long. This is a bit much for me – I don’t think that I would be willing to pay more than $10 at the most and I would have to really love the cartoons on the DVD! I think that I would have preferred to get these cartoons in a collection or a boxed set so that I had more to choose from. Also, I hate getting really short DVDs like this one as you have get up and change them all the time. I know, I know, that is so lazy that I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but there you go. Give me something with at least 2 hours worth of cartoons on it and let me pick which ones I want to watch instead of doing that ridiculous “fast play” option to show 15 minutes of previews and then, finally, the cartoons after that. Anyway, this DVD contains:
“The Ugly Duckling” – the classic story of a poor, confused baby swan who thinks he is a duck is absolutely adorable. This cartoon is so well animated that you can tell every emotion that the animals are feeling even though they cannot talk. I also love the message that comes across that no one is really ugly, they just need to grow into their true selves and find the right group of people to be around. This cartoon can also be found on the Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies DVD and you can usually find it online if you look for it as it is only a few minutes long.
“Country Cousin” – I hadn’t seen this cartoon in a long time and forgot how cute it was! A poor country mouse goes to visit his rich relative in the big city and ends up creating all kinds of trouble. He doesn’t understand the dangers of his cousin’s wealthy home and ends up antagonizing the cat, ruining the lavish dinner and almost getting squashed by all of the foot traffic outside. He is only too eager to escape to his own home after surviving his visit! This cartoon is also found on the Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies DVD and you can usually find it online as it is pretty short. Just a note for parents, though, that the country mouse gets drunk by drinking a glass of champagne at dinner and doing all kinds of silly things because of it.
“Ferdinand the Bull” – this cartoon is based on the children’s book by the same name and is pretty cute. It is about a pacifist bull named Ferdinand who just wants to sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers. But one day, Ferdinand is stung by a bee and acts so crazy that his owners send him to the big city to be in a bull fight. Of course, Ferdinand won’t fight so he ends up back home under his tree, where he is happy. I think this cartoon is a little boring and it has never been one of my favorites. It is okay, but there is not enough humor in it for me and, being an adult, I know that they would just slaughter poor Ferdinand and sell the meat as they cannot make money on him any other way. This cartoon is also found on the Disney Treasures: Rarities DVD and can also be found online.
“The Wind in the Willows” – this cartoon is based on the children’s book by the same name. It is about the wild Mr. Toad who has spent almost all of his money on frivolous pursuits and now is almost bankrupt. He asks his good friend, Badger, to help balance the books, but, before he can help, Toad is arrested for stealing a motorcar! Toad’s friends Rat & Mole can’t believe it, but all of the evidence is against Toad. Still, they try and help their friend and discover a nefarious plot by the weasels to steal Toad Hall out from under their noses! Now they must find a way to get the deed to the house back and save their friend. This is a fun mini-feature. It is a bit longer than most Disney cartoons and is about 20 – 30 minutes long, which is a great length for children as it is long enough to be a “real show” but short enough that they don’t lose interest. Toad is hilarious and is such an over-the-top character. I really don’t know why his friends stick by him, but he is lucky to have such good friends. Rat is very conservative and very methodical, Mole is shy and timid, and Badger is a fiery Scottish senior who doesn’t hesitate to give all those around him the benefit of his wisdom and advice – whether they want it or not! This cartoon is also found on The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad DVD.
Again, this is not my favorite cartoon collection put out by Disney, but I still enjoyed watching these cartoons again. It had been a while since I had seen most of these and so it was a fun trip down memory lane. I think that children will enjoy watching these cartoons over and over again. It would be a fun rental for the family or a good purchase if you find that your family loves it.
There is some teasing, drinking and mild violence in these cartoons. Appropriate for viewers of all ages.