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Disney Animation Collection Volume 4: The Tortoise and the Hare by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B001RTKKMQ
Date: 18 May 2009 List Price $19.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

As a young child I watched The Wonderful World Of Disney with my family on a weekly basis and I developed a fondness for the classical Disney animation, so when I received an offer to review any or all of Disney Animation Collection Volumes 1-6, I eagerly accepted and requested all six.

Disney Animation Collection Volumes 1-6:

1: Mickey and the Beanstalk
2: Three Little Pigs
3: The Prince and the Pauper
4: The Tortoise and the Hare
5: Wind in the Willows
6: The Reluctant Dragon

While I enjoyed Disney's remake of "The Tortoise And The Hare" and I found the colors to be vibrant, the video footage was extremely grainy and I expected Disney to do a much better job of restoring this 1934 Academy Award winner (8:38). Max Hare was suitably arrogant and Toby Tortoise was funny in an innocent way, and I particularly got a chuckle out of the scene where the garden snails are gamboling around Toby's feet as he races.

"Babes In The Woods" was an entertaining children's fable ruined by grainy video, as well as abysmal audio, both in terms of its low volume and badly distorted quality. Payback's a witch.

"The Goddess Of Spring" is some absolutely gorgeous animation spoiled by grainy video and poor audio. Here Satan comes topside to take the Goddess Of Eternal Spring as his queen, thereby bringing eternal Winter to the surface. Surprisingly he agrees to her offer of an arrangement where she spends half the year on the surface and the other half year below. Now you know why we have Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

In "Toby Tortoise Returns", Max Hare defends his boxing championship against challenger Toby Tortoise. While I was surprised by the use of Mexican music as the soundtrack, it was as hilarious as it was appropriate. And watch for the homage to the immortal Mae West as well as the fireworks at the end.

Other than watching the story of "Paul Bunyan" and Babe, his blue ox on the 4th of July, you can get more patriotic than watching it over the Memorial Day Weekend. The fine folks at Disney sure used to make some great American history cartoons and this is a prime example of their craft at its peak.

When I watched "The Saga Of Windwagon Smith", I don't remember either reading about him, nor of seeing this cartoon, but in any case, it was an entertaining cartoon.

Once again I have to confess my disappointment in the very uneven quality of the audio and video from one feature to the next. This was the best of the four volumes I have watched so far, but I feel that "Babes In The Woods" and "The Goddess Of Spring" deserved better treatment.

Hopefully Disney takes all 6 volumes, restores them equally to a pristine state, and releases them as a Special Edition set in DVD and Blu-ray.

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