Thursday, October 7, 2010

Woody Woodpecker Vol. 2 Causes Disagreements

I have been dragging my feet on picking up Woody Woodpecker and Friends Vol. 2 but I am going to buy it soon. I can't wait. Here is an interesting editorial review I found of the Woody Woodpecker DVD set from Amazon.

Woody in his first appearance.
I have to say that I do not completely agree with this man's review. 

I find Walter Lantz' work entertaining and, if nothing else, his cartoons are fascinating from a historical view. His cartoons from the World War II era give a glimpse into the minds of animators at the time. It is also fascinating to see Woody evolve from a crazy bird to a very tame television cartoon character in the later years.
A Review from Amazon
The second installment in "The Walter Lantz Archive" includes 45 Woody Woodpecker cartoons from 1952 to 1958, and an assortment of films made between the early '30s and the mid-'60s. During the '50s, when the Warner Bros. directors were crafting some of the funniest cartoons ever made and MGM's "Tom and Jerry" series was winning Oscars, the Lantz shorts ranked as second-rate at best. Although some talented artists worked on them, the Woody films from this era feel stale and formulaic: the gags lack punch and the character never develops as a personality.

Five Oswald the Lucky Rabbit films qualify as genuine rarities. Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created the character; Universal's Carl Laemmle took Oswald from Disney and ultimately gave him to Lantz. "Carnival Capers" (1932), "Five and Dime" (1933), and "Wax Works" (1934) reveal just how strongly the early Oswald resembled Mickey, down to the two-button shorts and chunky shoes. But the animation remains crude, rubbery and weightless. The most interesting of these cartoons is "Puppet Show" (1936), which juxtaposes live action footage of marionettes with drawn animation of the same characters. At this point, Oswald, who pulls the puppets' strings, had been re-designed to look like a white Easter Bunny.

"A Haunting We Will Go" (1939), starring Li'l Eight Ball, a forgotten stereotypical African American boy, exemplifies the dubious ethnic humor that was popular at the time in America. The extras include a dozen of Lantz's short explanations of the animation process from "The Woody Woodpecker Show." (Unrated, suitable for ages 10 and older: cartoon violence, alcohol and tobacco use, ethnic and racial stereotypes) --Charles Solomon

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