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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Donald Duck
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
Don't miss the world's most loveably cranky duck in this must-have collection of Donald's greatest cartoon shorts. Each hilarious adventure is filled with the irresistible antics that have made Donald a fan favorite for generations. Laugh along with "Chef Donald" as the irritable duck accidentally mixes rubber cement in with his waffle batter to create a very sticky situation, and catch the first appearance of Daisy Duck as Donna in the hysterical "Don Donald." Get in on the fun with this cartoon collection of Donald's funniest moments - it's great.

MPAA:
Rated NR

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

Runtime: 59 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 1/11/2005

Bonus:
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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 Donald: Walt Disney Classic Cartoon Favorites (Volume II) (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 Donald, this one presents eight of the Duck’s adventures in one package.

As one might expect, there’s a fair amount of repetition with The Chronological Donald, Volume One. Any shorts not found on that set will be marked with an asterisk. If you don’t see that star, this means the cartoon is a retread from the “Treasures” release.

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.

*Inferior Decorator (1948, J. Hannah): When Donald’s flower-covered wallpaper attracts the attention of a confused bee, the Duck taunts the insect. However, the bee eventually gets back at Donald. “Decorator” has its moments, but I don’t much like the cutesy bee. Maybe he just reminds me too much of that Honey Nut Cheerios bee, but he’s a little too heavy on the adorable side and gets on my nerves. 5/10.

Don Donald (1937, Ben Sharpsteen): Set in Mexico, Donald woos Donna, the fowl later known as Daisy. However, his schadenfreude gets the best of him. Donna spurns Donald when he laughs at her misfortune. He trades his faithful burro for a shiny new car to win her affection. The concept of a Mexican Donald seems odd, and it’s also strange that Donna/Daisy wouldn’t reappear for three years; we’ll not see her again until 1940’s “Mr. Duck Steps Out”. Nonetheless, “Don” is a fun and fiery short. 8/10.

Golden Eggs (1941, Wilfred Jackson): Donald tries to capitalize on the escalating price of eggs as he spurs his chickens to greater production. However, the henhouse’s rooster resists this, and the two battle. The protective rooster created an odd character - I couldn’t figure out what part of the deal bothered him so much - and not much else redeems “Eggs”. It’s a cute short but a mediocre one. 5/10.

*Bee at the Beach (1950, J. Hannah): Donald fights with the bee from “Inferior Decorator” again as both attempt to vacation at the shore. The oddness of a bee on holiday should make this one interesting, but since I still dislike the character, “Beach” doesn’t go much of anywhere. 5/10.

Donald’s Dog Laundry (1940, Jack King): Donald buys a dog-washing machine to start his own business. He tries to test it on Pluto. As with “Picnic”, Pluto really plays the starring part here. Donald acts as the cause of the pooch’s issues but he doesn’t get a ton else to do. Surprisingly, we don’t see much use of the complicated cleaning device itself, as the short fails to exploit its potential. 6/10.

Donald’s Vacation (1940, Jack King): Donald tries to take a relaxing camping/canoeing trip. Nature conspires against his pleasure. I like Donald best when he battles against sentient foes, not just disobedient objects. “Vacation” creates some fun obstacles but doesn’t soar. Oddly, it uses the same Indian headdress gag seen in a prior cartoon. 5/10.

Old MacDonald Duck (1941, Jack King): Donald tends to his farm. This one suffers from the absence of a strong target for Donald’s rage. He battles with a flying insect but that’s about it. The bug doesn’t make a good foe, especially since we’ve seen Donald plagued by similar creatures in other shorts. 4/10.

Chef Donald (1941, Jack King): The Duck tries to follow a recipe he hears on a radio cooking show. He botches the job. “Chef” suffers from a one-note tone, since its main gag revolves around a problem ingredient. It doesn’t go much of anywhere. 5/10.


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

Starring Donald 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. As one might expect, the visuals of this set echoed the quality of the Chronological Donald package, with only two exceptions.

Sharpness generally appeared quite good. At times, some softness interfered with the presentation; periodically, sequences looked a bit blurry or out of focus. However, those instances seemed infrequent, as the cartoons largely were nicely crisp and clear. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, but some light edge enhancement did seem visible on occasion.

Print flaws varied but generally stayed minor for material of this vintage. Overall, the most significant issues related to light dust along with some occasional marks, speckles, grit and blotches. These issues weren’t major, however, and the shorts mainly looked solid.

Colors consistently seemed strong. The tones were bright and vivid throughout the shorts, with very few exceptions on display. The cartoons stuck largely with primary colors, and these looked quite distinct and vibrant at virtually all times. Black levels also appeared nicely deep and rich, while shadow detail was clear and accurate throughout the shorts. Overall, I was quite pleased with the quality of Donald.

Where did I find the two exceptions I mentioned? From the pair of cartoons that didn’t appear on Chronological Donald, Volume One. Clearly “Inferior Decorator” and “Bee at the Beach” haven’t yet received the same restoration work enjoyed by the other six shorts. They didn’t look bad, but they displayed weaker definition and sharpness along with many more specks and marks. Colors were flatter and the shorts displayed an overblown sense of whites that threw off their contrast. These two cartoons didn’t look terrible, but they were noticeably uglier than the other six shorts and dragged down my grade from a “B” for the Chronological package to a “C+” for this one.

At least the monaural audio of Starring Donald remained consistent. Dialogue sounded a little edgy at times, a factor exacerbated by the naturally rough tone of Donald’s voice. However, for the most part, the lines were acceptably clear and accurate. (I don’t want to call them “intelligible”, though!) Effects showed a bit of distortion and harshness, but they stayed fairly clean and distinct through the shorts. Music also demonstrated variable levels of shrill and rough tones, but this wasn’t unexpected, and the score seemed reasonably solid.

Decent depth accompanied some effects, but the track was pretty thin and tinny as a whole. In addition, the tracks seemed pretty clean for audio of this era. Overall, the sound heard during Donald won’t win any awards, but I found the mixes to come across as pretty clear and accurate for their age.

No significant extras appear on Starring Donald. 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

My favorite Disney character, Donald Duck doesn’t get his due in the lackluster Starring Donald. Of the set’s eight shorts, only one is above average; the other seven are mediocre at best. The DVD presents generally strong picture quality, though one pair of cartoons look noticeably worse than the others. Audio is fine for its age, and the set includes no significant extras.

Fans should steer clear of this bland set. If you want some Donald, go for the vastly superior Chronological Donald. It’s more extensive and includes better shorts. Starring Donald will tempt some fans just to get the two cartoons not yet issued elsewhere. Be patient – they’ll come out eventually in The Chronological Donald, Volume Two, and I’m positive they’ll receive better treatment there.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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