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Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse
Writing Credits:

Strike up the band as Mickey and his friends warm up their voices and warm up your heart with their hilarious musical antics. The curtain goes up on music and mayhem in "Mickey's Grand Opera," featuring Clara Cluck and Donald in a lively duet full of surprises. Then get into the groove with Goofy as he hilariously attempts to learn "How To Dance." The harmonious fun never ends in this new collection of eight Disney cartoons the whole family will love!

Rated NR

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Monaural

Runtime: 62 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 5/31/2005

• Sneak Peeks


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Extreme Music Fun: Walt Disney Classic Cartoon Favorites (Volume VI) (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 26, 2005)

With the wonderful “Walt Disney Treasures” sets meant for the serious collectors, we now get another series aimed more at casual fans of animation. Earlier we found four packages of character-specific shorts, but now we find some oriented toward themes. Entitled Extreme Music Fun, this one presents eight cartoons in one package that deal with tunes.

Those die-hard fans will already own most of these shorts via a combination of sets. As one might expect, Silly Symphonies provides many of them: “Music Land”, “Farmyard Symphony” and “Woodland Café”. The Complete Goofy tosses out “How to Dance”, while “Mickey’s Grand Opera” and “Orphan’s Benefit” come from Mickey Mouse in Living Color and Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2, respectively. “Donald’s Dilemma” and “Pluto’s Blue Note” are currently exclusive to Extreme Music Fun, but that will change when new Pluto and Donald “Treasures” appear.

For each short, I’ll offer the following information: the year in which it was produced and its director. I’ll also provide a quick synopsis of the cartoon plus my number grade for each one done on a scale of 1 to 10.

Mickey’s Grand Opera (1936, W. Jackson): Mickey leads an opera performance that stars Clara Cluck and Donald Duck. Pluto gets involved with a magic hat and causes havoc. All of this adds up to inspired nuttiness and a strong short. 8/10.

Music Land (1935, W. Jackson): “Music Land” gives us a Romeo and Juliet style romance between some symbols of jazz and classical. Clever but way too cutesy, the cloying nature of “Music Land” causes problems. 4/10.

Orphans’ Benefit (1941, R. Thomson): Though the cartoon itself uses the time-weary motif of ringleader Mickey and a variety show, Donald’s antics make it quite entertaining. “Benefit” offers classic Duck as the youngsters irritate him. 8/10.

Farmyard Symphony (1938, J. Cutting): As various animals awaken, they go about their daily business. A rooster serenades a chicken and leads the whole farmyard in the tune. The short has some moderately witty moments but doesn’t go much of anywhere. 5/10.

Pluto’s Blue Note (1947, Charles Nichols): Pluto tries to sing along with the tunes generated by some birds, bees, crickets and a radio, but no one appreciates his harmonizing. Pluto takes on a bit more of an anthropomorphized role than usual here, and it works. His antics as he tries to make music generate cleverness and laughs. 8/10.

How to Dance (1953, Jack Kinney): We learn about the history of dancing and watch as Goofy demonstrates some steps. I never much cared for the “How to…” shorts, and “Dance” doesn’t change my mind. 4/10.

Woodland Café (1937, W. Jackson): Various insects head to a swanky nightclub to enjoy an evening’s entertainment. Essentially free from any plot, this one relies on the wackiness of bugs and their humanized habitat. Heavy on cuteness, some clever bits emerge, but not enough to make it above average. 5/10.

Donald’s Dilemma (1947, Jack King): A planter hits Donald on the head and causes trauma that makes the Duck believe he’s a great singer. After that he constantly croons and turns into a diva. A weird story that focuses on Daisy’s sadness after Donald becomes a star, this one takes some strange twists and veers from the Duck’s usual irascible character. Heck, Daisy even threatens suicide at one point! It’s consistently interesting and amusing. 8/10.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C/ Bonus D-

Extreme Music Fun appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Due to the inclusion of some of Disney’s oldest color shorts as well as a few non-remastered cartoons, Music presented acceptable but less than stellar visuals.

For the most part, the shorts demonstrated solid sharpness. Occasional signs of softness crept in, but these usually stayed minor. The cartoons generally appeared well-defined and distinctive. Very few issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement stayed at a minimum.

As with other Extreme collections, I saw a distinction between the shorts remastered for “Treasures” sets and those new to DVD. Almost uniformly, the “new” cartoons suffered from higher levels of dirt and dust, and they tended to look messier. For the most part, the shorts that also appeared on “Treasures” collections were fairly clean, though those here offered a few exceptions. The cartoons originally on Silly Symphonies - “Woodland Café”, “Farmyard Symphony” and “Music Land” - showed moderate levels of debris and marks. Although most remastered Disney shorts from the Forties and later tended to be quite clean, “Orphans’ Benefit” was surprisingly messy. It looked dirtier and noisier than I recalled, and when I directly compared the two, it showed more flaws than were evident on Mickey Mouse in Living Color 2. Otherwise, the shorts of Music presented modest source concerns.

In general, colors were positive. Most of the shorts demonstrated nicely bright and vibrant tones. Again, the “new” cartoons were the weakest, as those displayed slightly flat tones. Black levels usually appeared nicely deep and rich, while shadow detail was clear and accurate throughout the shorts. Unsurprisingly, the “new” shorts had the biggest problems here, as they looked a bit blown-out and improperly bright. Overall, this left the visuals of Extreme Music Fun in the decent but unexceptional category.

Partially due to the presence of those cartoons from the Thirties, the monaural soundtrack of Extreme Music Fun was mediocre. In general, the cartoons seemed shriller and noisier than usual. Speech was acceptably understandable but often brittle and coarse. Effects showed a bit of distortion and harshness, but they stayed fairly clean and distinct through the shorts. Music also demonstrated variable levels of harsh and rough tones, but this wasn’t unexpected, and the scores seemed reasonably solid.

Varying levels of background concerns appeared throughout the shorts. Most were reasonably clean, but others suffered from greater problems. “Music Land” and some of the other older clips could be quite noisy, with lots of pops. A nasty hum marred “Benefit”. Ultimately, the audio was acceptable for its age but no better than that.

No significant extras appear on Extreme Music Fun. We get a collection of ads in the Sneak Peeks domain. This includes promos for Tarzan II, Cinderella, Lilo & Stitch 2, Kronk’s New Groove, Disney Learning Adventures, Pocahontas and the Disney Princess line of products.

In terms of DVD and cartoon quality, Extreme Music Fun is the most erratic of the three Disney “Extreme” collections. On one hand, four of the shorts are quite good, as they earned ratings of “8”. On the other hand, the remaining four cartoons received marks of “4” or “5”, which meant they were mediocre at best. Visual and sound quality was similarly mediocre.

Still, there’s some decent entertainment for the casual Disney fan. As always, I don’t recommend Music or any other “Extreme” package for the die-hards. They’ll already own many of the cartoons and will almost certainly be able to get the others before too long. Less dedicated fans may want to give this release a look, though.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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