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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Chip 'N Dale
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
The world's favorite pair of chipmunks, Chip 'n Dale, are back in this wildly entertaining collection of their greatest animated cartoons. Each episode is filled with laughs and is sure to entertain the entire family again and again. Come along with Chip, Dale, and Donald as the two fairy tale-loving chipmunks go "Dragon Around," mistaking Donald's steam shovel for a dragon, and enjoy Chip 'n Dale's hilarious mishaps on the farm in "Chicken In The Rough." The fun never ends in these nine classic cartoons that mark some of the greatest moments in Disney's animated collection.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 64 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 1/11/2005

Bonus:
• Sneak Peeks


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Starring Chip 'N Dale: Walt Disney Classic Cartoon Favorites (Volume IV) (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 19, 2005)

With the wonderful “Walt Disney Treasures” sets meant for the serious collectors, we now get another series aimed more at casual fans of animation. Entitled Starring Chip ‘n’ Dale, this one presents nine of the chipmunks’ adventures in one package.

For folks with all of the “Treasures” releases, the other three Starring… collections are essentially a waste of time. When we look at the 24 shorts included in the sets devoted to Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy, only two of them don’t appear elsewhere – yet. Found on Starring Donald, both “Inferior Decorator” and “Bee at the Beach” should show up in The Chronological Donald, Volume 2 when it arrives. Collectors will already own the other 22 shorts.

That’s not the case with the nine cartoons on Dale. As far as I can tell, every one of them makes its DVD debut here. I’m sure that eventually we’ll get a “Treasures” release for Chip an’ Dale, but as far as I know, one’s not been officially announced. That makes this set of prime interest to collectors – at least for the time being.

For each short, I’ll offer the following information: the year in which it was produced and its director. I’ll also provide a quick synopsis of the cartoon plus my number grade for each one done on a scale of 1 to 10.

Chicken in the Rough (1951, J. Hannah): The chipmunks try to collect food while they avoid a cantankerous rooster. Dale also runs into trouble when he accidentally hatches an egg. Usually shorts that star cute characters like these or Tweety Bird don’t feature other adorable participants. “Chicken” violates that concept with the baby chick. It doesn’t showcase the chipmunks to great advantage, partially because it mainly focuses on Dale. Still, it’s an interesting twist on the old barnyard concept. 7/10.

Chip an’ Dale (1947, J. Hannah): Donald Duck displaces the chipmunks from their home when he cuts down a little tree. They attempt to reclaim their property. “Chip” doesn’t mark the pair’s first appearance, but it does show the duo in an early state. They bring out the worst in the Duck, which means fun. 7/10.

Out of Scale (1951, J. Hannah): Because it doesn’t fit with the proportions of his backyard train, Donald tries to remove the tree in which Chip an’ Dale live. As with the prior cartoon, the chipmunks create a nice foil for Donald, and that helps make “Scale” another winning short, especially when it takes a clever twist toward the end. It does make one question the pair’s sexuality when they set up house together, though. 7/10.

Two Chips and a Miss (1952, J. Hannah): A female chipmunk named Clarice woos both Chip an’ Dale. Yeah, right - the truest moment of this short is when Chip’s reflection calls him a “gay dog”. The concept of this short is an odd one for this pair, and the preponderance of bland musical numbers makes it inferior. 3/10.

Food for Feudin’ (1950, C. Nichols): Pluto provokes the chipmunks’ wrath when he interferes with their supply of nuts. Back in their normal habitat, “Food” works much better than its predecessor. It works more to their strengths and creates a pretty good adventure. 7/10.

Working for Peanuts (1953, J. Hannah): When the chipmunks see all the peanuts a zoo elephant receives, they try to horn in on that action. As I previously expressed, Chip an’ Dale worked well against Donald Duck, but you won’t tell that here. Donald receives primary billing for this short but plays a surprisingly small role. Instead, the chipmunks mainly battle Dolores the elephant. She’s not a very interesting character, and that leaves “Peanuts” as a lackluster short. 5/10.

Out on a Limb (1950, J. Hannah): Donald trims trees and taunts Chip an’ Dale. Unusually, Donald gets the better of the chipmunks more often than the reverse, as he really sticks it to them for a while. Of course, the situation inevitably switches, and all of this creates a pretty lively short. 7/10.

Three for Breakfast (1948, J. Hannah): Chip an’ Dale try to pilfer the tasty pancakes made by Donald. The Donald/Chip an’ Dale shorts don’t often try to vary radically from the general theme, but they usually prosper anyway. The dynamic works, so despite a typical story, “Breakfast” is fun. 7/10.

Dragon Around (1954, J. Hannah): When Dale sees Donald’s construction vehicle, the imaginative rodent thinks he’s a dragon. The pair battle both mechanical beast and Duck. This one uses the usual basic story, but its use of the construction device and the fantasy theme make it more creative than most. 8/10.

Title footnote: Since this DVD’s cover calls it Starring Chip ‘n’ Dale, that’s what I used. However, the proper way to refer to the characters seems to be Chip an’ Dale, so I called them that anywhere other than when I referred to the title.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

Starring Chip ‘n’ Dale appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. All but two of the shorts found on the three other Starring collections already appeared on “Walt Disney Treasures” sets. Clearly those cartoons got some nice clean-up for those releases, and the Starring discs replicated the same picture and audio when appropriate.

None of these Chip an’ Dale shorts has popped up on the “Treasures” sets, and it seemed clear that they’d also not undergone any new mastering. That made Chip the lowest quality of the four Starring DVDs.

Despite some inconsistencies, sharpness usually was positive. A little softness marred the shorts at times, but not to any substantial degree. The cartoons mainly looked well-defined and concise. Jagged edges and shimmering also stayed minor, but I noticed a little edge enhancement at times.

One domain that differed from the “Treasures” sets related to source flaws. The “Treasures” cartoons - particularly those from the late Forties and Fifites, which is the era covered here - displayed relatively few defects. Unfortunately, Chip looked noticeably dirtier, as I saw various examples of specks, marks, blotches, grain and general debris. The cartoons weren’t atrociously flawed, and compared to most movies of the era, they didn’t look too bad. However, when viewed against other Disney efforts, they displayed substantially increased levels of muck.

Colors also fared weakly when compared to other Disney efforts. At times the hues were pretty bold and vivid, but they also seemed flat and without life at times. They were generally acceptable but not as vivacious as I’d expect. Blacks were fine, but the occasional low-light shot seemed a little murky. Ultimately, these shorts weren’t bad for their age, but they could definitely use an upgrade.

I thought the monaural audio of Starring Chip ‘n’ Dale was more consistent than the picture but not much more satisfying. Speech tended to be a little rough. Granted, since the lines came from the unusual voices of the chipmunks and Donald, they would sound weird anyway, but I heard a little more edginess than I’d like. Effects were usually acceptably concise, though they showed sporadic examples of distortion. Music worked okay, as the scores were decently bold and bright. Hiss became a notable distraction for a few shorts, but otherwise they didn’t suffer from any substantial source issues. Ultimately, this was passable audio for the era but no better than that.

No significant extras appear on Starring Chip ‘n’ Dale. We get a collection of ads in the Sneak Peeks domain. This includes promos for Bambi, Cinderella, Mulan II, and a two-disc set with Porco Rosso, Nausicaa and The Cat Returns

Chip an’ Dale have always been mid-level stars for Disney, and this collection of shorts reminds us why. Across the board, the cartoons are entertaining and fun, but they show that the pair needed a bigger star like Donald or Pluto to make their efforts succeed. Within those parameters, however, they give us quality cartoons.

In regard to DVD quality, Starring Chip ‘n’ Dale is one of Disney’s weaker releases. Both picture and audio are mediocre and don’t live up to the high standards seen in the “Walt Disney Treasures” packages. We also find no significant extras. I’d recommend that fans wait for the inevitable Chip an’ Dale “Treasures” release, since it’ll almost definitely clean up the shorts and present them in a more satisfying manner.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 12
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