Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Walt Disney Treasures Wave 4: Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2

Walt Disney Treasures Wave 4: Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2

Spring 2005 DVD
Ages: 12 & Up
Producer: Disney DVD
Length: 5 hours 34 minutes
DVD Price: $32.99
Music is the real star of these two disks. With the animators' art of syncopating action and sound, these cartoons hint at what Disney will do with "Fantasia". A few cartoons stand out, such as "The Barn Dance," "The Opry House," "The Jazz Fool," "Jungle Rhythm" and "The Musical Farmer." Adults will probably find this collection of cartoons more interesting than young children, because Mickey and his pals look far different than the Mickey children have grown accustomed to seeing. The early Mickey is more angular and thinner than today. I watched the disks with an eight-year-old and even though the disk plainly says that the cartoons are in black and white, she kept asking when Mickey would be in color.

The humor in the disks derives primarily from slapstick and pratfalls rather than dialogue and some parents may find it objectionable. Though much of the violence is of what animators call "squash and stretch," with bodies moving in exaggerated, impossible ways, some younger children might try to imitate what they see.

The bonus features are quite impressive. One of the most interesting is "Mickey Mania: Collecting Mickey Merchandise." Though Walt Disney was not the creator of product tie-ins, he was a genius at marketing America's most famous Mouse. The range and variety of products created over the years is staggering, and fascinating. The collection of animator's drawings included also detail the difficulty and magic of full animation. The rough drawings stand in stark contrast to the finished material, providing a lens through which to see how Mickey evolved into the icon he has become today.

Michael Birdwell   ©2005 Parents' Choice
Dr. Michael E. Birdwell is a cultural historian who focuses upon the importance of film in world culture. He teaches at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee. Other areas of research include the cultural impact of World War I on 20th Century Culture, creation of cultural stereotypes, and Appalachian history.

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