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Walt Disney Home Video presents
Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto Volume Two 1947-51 (1947-51)

"He never says a word, but you always know what he's thinking."
- Leonard Maltin, from the Disc 1 introduction

Review By: Jeff Wilson   
Published: February 02, 2007

Director: Charles Nichols

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for cartoon violence, minor ethnic stereotypes
Run Time: 03h:47m:00s
Release Date: December 19, 2006
UPC: 786936702231
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B-C+A- B+

DVD Review

Before I begin, a quick confession: I really don't like dogs very much. In real life, I should add. Cartoon dogs? They're okay, so here I am with Disney's second collection of shorts dedicated to Pluto, The Complete Pluto: 1947-51, one of four entries in the studio's Disney Treasures series. The first collection gathered shorts from Pluto's earliest appearance through the war years, and this batch gives us the post-war goods to wrap up the run.

Like the first volume, Pluto's adventures here usually revolve around the same basic tale: Pluto encounters another animal, and chicanery ensues as Pluto and his animal foe battle it out. Sometimes it ends in Pluto learning his lesson, other times he gets the upper hand. It's never too intense, and usually even stays within the laws of physics, unlike most Looney Tunes, for example. Pluto is more or less modeled on a real dog, though his behavior naturally has to go beyond that basic set of characteristics or these would be pretty boring shorts. That said, Pluto is still too pleasant a character to be all that interesting, and that general blandness of personality results in this set being taken best in small doses; anything more than a few at a time becomes overbearing pretty quickly.

The set begins with 1947's Mail Dog and ends with 1951's Plutopia, though the final three shorts are relegated to the "extras section for having material more questionable or violent in nature, which frankly automatically makes them more interesting to me. Plutopia gives us some trippy visuals during a dream sequence, and Cold Turkey ups the mayhem level to pleasing levels, including attempted electrocution, which accounts for its relegation to the "dangerous" vault section.

While it's good to see Disney give fans the older material many have long been yearning for, their presentation leaves me less impressed. Am I the only one who finds the use of superfluous tins a waste? Judging from some online discussions, most people seem more interested in how to get a tin without dents than in the material on the actual discs. Throw in a silly certificate indicating your limited edition number, and voilà, instant "collector's item"! Disney has long been the king of marketing, however, and they clearly know their audience in that respect. So if you need a complete set, by all means grab a copy while you can, but others may find a little Pluto goes a long way.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: While the video generally looks quite fine, occasional problems briefly crop up; the discs feature progressive transfers, but on my player, there are odd seconds here and there where combing occurs. See Food for Feuding on Disc 2, where combing is visible on my player at timecode 1:02, or Cold Turkey at 2:06, 2:56, and 5:48. This occurs in several shorts; I have seen no other confirmation of this, but it occurs on both of my players, so whether this is a question of a faulty disc or fault with the transfer is open to debate, I suppose. While these are very brief disturbances, they do often result in a visual hiccup of sorts that is noticeable. Also, some shorts seem a little ragged on occasion, due to print damage.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The original mono soundtracks are on hand, and they sound perfectly acceptable.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unknown double keepcase
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Galleries with production art and promotional materials
  2. Bonus shorts
Extras Review: Disc 1 includes two "master classes" with Disney animators on a short each one personally selected. Randy Cartwright goes over Bone Trouble (14m:43s), and Andreas Deja covers Hawaiian Holiday (09m:07s). To be honest, I didn't find either one to be especially revelatory in terms of technique; too much time is wasted describing the action onscreen. Pluto's Judgment Day (08m:15s) is the subject of the other extras on the first disc, presented first as a pencil test, and then in a "deconstructed" format that combines the finished product with the pencil tests and design art. The latter is interesting, as we get an immediate demonstration of the steps in creating the short.

The second disc has some shorts classified as extras. In the From the Vault section, we get the three "questionable" shorts from 1951 discussed in the main review section, and also three shorts starring Figaro the cat, who appeared first in Pinocchio and then became an occasional foil for Pluto. The three shorts are Figaro and Cleo (08m:23s), Bath Day (06m:39s), and Figaro and Frankie (06m:53s). The first features a Mammy character for those who may be offended by politically incorrect material. Also on this disc are three galleries containing production art and promotional items, providing the fan with a plethora of material to comb through.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

For Disney collectors, it's a no-brainer, but your mileage may vary otherwise. The shorts here follow the same general story pattern as much of the first set, and too much in one sitting gets somewhat repetitive. The extras are okay, and the packaging is the usual Disney Treasures standard.

 


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