(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from various Disney short films from 2000 to 2015)
Doug (vo): I surprisingly got quite a few requests of people asking me to do Disney's short films collection, and my first thought was, "Well, it seems kind of pointless, 'cause I've seen them all, right?" I mean, I watch Pixar films, and I see the shorts before them. But then I realized, the Pixar shorts and the Disney shorts are two very different things. The Pixar shorts were released before, well, Pixar movies. The Disney shorts were released sometimes before Disney movies, but sometimes just on DVD, which means, some of these, I have missed, and looking them all over, I have to say, they're pretty damn impressive. I guess the best way to go about it is to talk about each short. I mean, there's only 12, and I can just give a quick sum-up of what I thought of them.
Review of John Henry (2000)
Doug (vo): The first one is John Henry, the story of the classic railroad man born with a hammer in his hand. I love the music in this, and for the most part, I like the style, too, incorporating a lot more of that old sketchy look that you may remember from movies like Robin Hood and The Rescuers and so forth. It's weird, I never cared too much for it in the older films, but something about it here, it looks kind of nicer and cleaned-up, even though it's kind of sketchy. It's odd, but somehow, it works.
Review of Lorenzo (2004)
Doug (vo): The next is Lorenzo. This might have my favorite art style out of all of them. Look at how simplified yet complex it is. It looks amazing. The story is hilariously twisted, too, with a literal fat cat mocking the starving cats outside, until one of them decides to curse him, making it so that his tail has a mind of his own. Lorenzo does everything he can to kill it off, drowning it, trying to have a train run it over. It's actually a little dark. Seeing how this is set to classical music, my guess is, this was originally supposed to be a Fantasia segment, but never made the cut. But what we got is pretty damn awesome, even though I feel like the curtain call at the end was kind of an attempt to give a happier ending to what should have been a more twisted ending.
Review of The Little Matchgirl (2006)
Doug (vo): Next is The Little Matchgirl. I've already talked about this one before, but watching it again...yeah, it's still sad as hell. It's animated beautifully, the music is fantastic, and, again, I won't give away the ending, but it's a perfect kind of tearjerker that can really hit adults and some kids, though others may look at it and not quite catch on, which I kind of respect. I feel like the ending might change the older you get, and that's not a bad thing. I still love it just as much now as when I first saw it.
Review of How to Hook Up Your Home Theater (2007)
Doug (vo): Next is How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, a Goofy cartoon, and, by God, it really is a Goofy cartoon. As some of you have probably figured out, I'm a huge Goofy fan when he's done right. Anytime he's in an environment where he's surrounded by other Goofys, for some reason, those were the funniest. The slapstick was great, they were refreshingly mean-spirited. And this one does its homework. When it started, I kind of thought it was gonna be like the Goofy cartoons we saw in House of Mouse, where they were a little too friendly and not really going all the way. Well, this goes a million percent. If you're obsessed with Goofy cartoons like I was, you'll recognize a lot of these backgrounds, you'll recognize a lot of these gags. There's so many little callbacks, but it's also just a straight-up funny cartoon even if you've never seen Goofy. I really laughed my ass off watching it, and have to tip my hat to the people that love Goofy as much as I do.
Review of Tick Tock Tale (2010)
Doug (vo): Next is Tick Tock Tale, a short that looks like something right out of a children's book. I mean, look at this. It looks like an illustration come to life. It's pretty much about a little clock that everyone makes fun of, 'cause he has an embarrassing ornament on the top of him. It's really interesting how well they give these clocks expressions with no faces. It's all in the body language. Even though there's no eyes, eyebrows, or mouth, I can always tell what they're thinking at every moment, and that is not an easy thing to do. I would say if you wanted to have more of an emotional impact, it probably should have been a little longer, like maybe an additional five minutes, but it still works out pretty well.
Review of Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa (2010)
Doug (vo): Next is Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa. Mrs. Claus instructs two elves to sneak into Santa's office and get something for her. I'm not gonna lie, watching this, all I could think of was Arthur Christmas, that had kind of the military elves, though I don't know. That can't be the first one that did that. Regardless, this was still animated well and had a few laughs, and nothing really groundbreaking or is probably gonna stay with me that long, but I remember liking it fine when it was on.
Review of The Ballad of Nessie (2011)
Doug (vo): Next is The Ballad of Nessie, a cute little tale about the Loch Ness Monster and the importance of, get this, having a good cry. Yeah, how often do you have that be the moral of your story? A little different, but the more I thought about it, a good moral. It's a decent thing to teach, especially as you get older. And with the legend himself, Billy Connolly, narrating, this is definitely a sweet fable.
Review of Tangled Ever After (2012)
Doug (vo): Next is Tangled Ever After, which takes place in, you guessed it, the Tangled universe. But the horse and the gecko* have to get the ring in order for Rapunzel to get married. And as you'd imagine, comedy ensues. It is exactly what it is, a funny little romp that takes place in the Tangled universe, so it's the same characters, the same backgrounds, which all look nice. I just always remember finding the horse funnier when he was chasing after someone, like when he was, like, Javert from Les Mis or something. But it's fine, I laughed enough through it.
- Just as he did in the original Tangled review, Doug incorrectly referred to Pascal, the chameleon, as a gecko.
Review of Paperman (2012)
Doug (vo): Next is Paperman. At the time, a lot of animation buffs were saying this is the future of hand drawn animation, and I didn't know how to take that. When I first saw it, I could definitely tell it was CG with lines put over it, and it felt a little off to me. I don't know. Maybe there's a part of me still wanting to hold on to traditional hand drawn animation, but looking back at it years later, it is a very nicely worked out piece of art. It's a nice little fairy tale about a man trying to get a woman's attention, and it honestly does everything it's supposed to do, have a lot of style, have a lot of unique charm, have a lot of expression. When I think of the kind of animation it did eventually inspire, like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I do realize this was kind of a game-changer, and probably does deserve to be recognized as that.
Review of Get a Horse! (2013)
Doug (vo): Next is Get a Horse, a Mickey Mouse cartoon, an unbelievably smart idea that's projecting an old school Mickey Mouse cartoon on a screen, but then they jump out of the screen and they constantly keep fighting in-between 3D and 2D. That's funny enough, but it all takes place in one shot. You're just watching it, laughing and having such a good time seeing them constantly fighting back and forth and going in-between styles. It's very clever.
Review of Feast (2014)
Doug (vo): Next is Feast. Kind of like Marley and Me, it shows the relationship between a dog and his owner, and then a dog and his owner and a woman he's interested in, and the stuff that they go through. The fun part of it, though, is that it's done entirely through how a dog would probably notice. When he's alone, he's fed nothing but junk food, but then she enters the picture, and suddenly, it's healthier food, and he doesn't focus as much on him. As it goes on, you probably put together that everybody realizes what's most important and where everything should go, and, yeah, it's done very well.
Review of Frozen Fever (2015)
Doug (vo): And finally, we have Frozen Fever, which is, again, exactly what you would think it is, especially by this point...you know, with a lot of these loveable Frozen shorts that everybody loves. (A poster of Olaf's Frozen Adventure is shown) It's pretty straightforward. Elsa wants to throw Anna this big party, and she has all sorts of gifts lined out throughout the kingdom, and, of course, she sings about it, and puts on all sorts of new dresses that you can now buy on new dolls, and...yeah, it's pretty obvious why this exists. For what it is, it's fine. The song they have is very well put together and catchy, the animation is beautiful, and unlike Olaf's Frozen Adventure, they know to keep it relatively short. It's decent if you know what you're going in for.
Doug (vo): So, yeah, that's 12 animated shorts that are all...good, some...even great. There's different styles, different techniques, different tones, and honestly, I never would have seen probably half of them unless I checked this Blu-Ray out. So, yeah, if you're an animation buff or a Disney buff, I really recommend this. It's great seeing so many wonderful animators take a break from these super-long stories and tell something that's a lot shorter, a lot simpler, and sometimes, even a lot deeper. Pop it in and give it a quick watch.
(The final scene of Frozen Fever, showing millions of tiny snowmen running into Marshmallow's ice castle as Kristoff and Sven look on, is shown)