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

Walt Disney Treasures Wave 4: The Complete Pluto

Walt Disney Treasures Wave 4: The Complete Pluto

Spring 2005 DVD
Ages: 12 & Up
Producer: Disney DVD
Length: 4 hours 26 minutes
DVD Price: $32.99
This is an impressive collection of cartoons. Viewers witness the trajectory of Pluto's development from a prison bloodhound used to track down escaped convicts in "The Chain Gang," to the loveable dog everyone has come to know. Pluto acts just like real dogs do in many of the cartoons, and is one of the few characters in the Disney stable that never spoke in human language. The plots of many of the cartoons are similar and predictable, which children will find reassuring. Many revolve around Pluto being hungry and in search of a bone, creating a series of mishaps, near disasters, and potential danger, yet in the end he is satisfied. (e.g. "Bone Trouble" "T-Bone for Two" and "Pluto at the Zoo."). Several cartoons focus upon family and the interaction of parents and siblings. Pluto, the dutiful father, often makes mistakes, but takes his parenting seriously, such as in "Pluto's Quin-Puplets," or "Pluto Junior."

Several cartoons on the disk provide an opportunity for adult interaction with their children for they refer directly or obliquely to World War II, including "The Army Mascot," "Private Pluto," "Dog Watch," and "Canine Patrol." They provide a series of moral object lessons about responsibility, frugality, obedience, teamwork, and patriotism, and do not do it in a condescending way. The cartoons are also interesting historical documents and offer tangible insight to wartime America.

The bonus material, while not as extensive as that found on other disks, does have features that children and adults should both enjoy, especially "The Life and Times of Pluto," and the excerpt from "A Story of Dogs."

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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