Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Series: Walt Disney’s Timeless Tales #3
Release Date: 3 January 2006
Length: 65 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
“This beautifully animated Disney storybook contains some of the most endearing – and enduring – children’s tales of all time. Your kids will be whisked off to a delightful world of baseball heroes, kings, magical dwarfs and other fanciful characters. The classic stories, which each convey a moral message, include “Casey at the Bat,” “Little Hiawatha,” “The Wise Little Hen,” “The Golden Touch,” “Morris the Midget Moose” and “Ben and Me.”” — Netflix.com
This DVD was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I loved some of the cartoons and enjoyed others, but this not a DVD full of favorites for me. Still, there are some classic cartoons found on this DVD, even though most of them are available on other collections. Again, I feel like the DVD costs a bit more than it should as it is only a little over 1 hour long and you are paying about $15 for it. This seems a bit steep for cartoons that you can find on YouTube if you look for them separately. It is too bad that Disney does not show any of their old cartoons on the Disney Channel anymore as their new cartoons really don’t compare in quality or cleverness. I really had a fun time watching this DVD, though, as I rented it and felt like it was worth my time and money. This DVD contains:
“Casey at the Bat” – this classic cartoon is based on the poem of the same name that is read as the narration during the cartoon. Casey is the dominant player on his team, but through his overconfidence, loses the game in a stunning surprise. I just can’t bring myself to like this cartoon. I am such a dork as I always feel so bad for Casey as he blows it. I am not a very athletic person so I hated being up to bat while playing softball at school and this cartoon always brings back those memories. I also am that person who wants both teams to play well so that they can leave the arena with some pride. Anyway, I know that this cartoon is meant to bring up a message of good sportsmanship and to try your best whenever you play and not to get overconfident, but it always brings back some bad memories for me. However, this cartoon is cute and has some funny parts. The turn-of-the-century setting with the very beginnings of baseball is charming and I loved the little town and seeing all of the clothes and methods of travel and everything from the time period.
“Little Hiawatha” – this classic cartoon is based on the poem of the same name that is read as the narration during the cartoon. Again, there is a moral message here about not killing innocent animals and that, if you take care of nature, that nature will take care of you. I get where they are going with the cartoon, but I must say that there is a kind of circle of life and we do kill to eat and to live. This aspect of Hiawatha not hunting isn’t really dealt with, but, from a child’s perspective, the little boy made the right choice in choosing not to kill any of the cute, cuddly animals that he encounters.
“The Wise Little Hen” – a mother hen goes and asks her two closest neighbors if they will help her plant, sow and eat her corn, but they keep saying that they are sick and cannot help out as they would rather play all day. I love this little cartoon. It is so adorable and really does have a good message about being a hard worker. This is also one of the first cartoons to feature Donald Duck and I must say that, while Donald looks different in later cartoons, his personality is already recognizable here. There is a charming little piece of music and some singing that accompanies this cartoon and I think that children will really enjoy it.
“The Golden Touch” – King Midas is obsessed with his treasure and spends most of his time counting his gold. When a fairy appears and offers him a power that will enable him to turn anything he touches to gold, King Midas begs for it! Of course, Midas comes to realize that there are many things in life that are much better as they are without being turned into gold. This cartoon features a catchy little tune with easy to remember lyrics so I think that you will find yourself skipping around the house to it as I found myself doing for a few days. Again, there is a moral message attached in that money is not everything and that there are some simple pleasures in life that are worth more than any amount of money you can get.
“Morris the Midget Moose” – this is a cute, lesser-known cartoon about a moose named Morris who is born with a huge rack of antlers, but absolutely no height. He cannot reach the branches to eat, he cannot fight for tribe leadership and he is teased by everyone around him. Morris believes that he has the worst lot in life until he meets another moose who is big and strong, but has a tiny set of antlers. Separately, they are picked on and made fun of, but together, they find they are unbeatable! This is charming little cartoon that teaches that, even though you are different, you can still make a difference and that two are stronger than one. There are plenty of funny moments and children will enjoy this charming tale as they all know what it is like to be shorter than everyone else.
“Ben and Me” – this cartoon retells the story of Benjamin Franklin and all of his many accomplishments. According to this cartoon, a little mouse named Amos helped Ben along the way, but has never been given real credit. The Franklin stove, bifocals, the Pennsylvania Gazette, the discovery of electricity and the Declaration of Independence and more are covered in this charming cartoon. This is one of my favorite cartoon features (longer cartoons that are 15-30 minutes in length). By giving Ben Franklin a little animal sidekick, the story becomes much more approachable to children and more entertaining for everyone. Viewers won’t even realize that they are learning about history and a great American statesman until it is too late and they are sucked into the story! I simply love this cartoon and think that everyone will enjoy it.
Each of these cartoons feature a moral message and, while some are a bit heavy-handed, they are are enjoyable and they all teach good messages that children need to learn sometime in their lives. This is a great little DVD to rent or, if you don’t have access to it, you can find these cartoons online with a little bit of searching. None of them are too long so they are easily watched on your computer or, if you are lucky enough to catch them on the Disney Channel, simply record and keep them on your DVR. An enjoyable hour for the whole family.
There is a mildly scary bear chase and some flashing of bare buns in “Little Hiawatha.” This movie is appropriate for viewers of all ages.