Disney Treasures - Silly Symphonies/The Reluctant Dragon review by The Grim Ringler

Good grief, by looking at my reviews of late it’s going to get out that I am a closet Disney whore, really though, I swear it’s not the truth. Honest. I was framed. Though, heck, I will admit this, I am quickly falling in love with Disney’s Treasures series of special edition DVDs. Essentially Disney has realized that they have a lot of neat old archive material (old Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck shorts, assorted television programs etc.) that a lot of collectors would love to have. So the Mouse House has taken to cleaning up these archived goodies and are releasing them as two-dvd special edition sets that are simply loaded with goodies in which to indulge in. Far from your average Disney fare, these discs cater more to the collectors and those that are simply in love with the House of Mouse and are dying for every last scrap of Disneyana. Myself, I am only interested in the few titles in this line that really speak to me, and these two certainly spoke.

I bought Silly Symphonies when it first came out and fell instantly in love with it. Collecting all of Disney’s early animated shorts, Symphonies shows Disney at its earliest, as it first began to spread its wings with animated films. What you have here are the early tests in animation and story-telling that lead to some of the most beloved animated features of all time. Collected here are shorts featuring everything from animals to children, to skeletons and beyond; from the serious to the comic to the downright bizarre, and all are set to a score that is both lively and inventive and which really creates a world for each short. And I have to say, if you love Disney or animated short films, this collection is utterly joyful.

The second collection I saw was The Reluctant Dragon, which, while not quite as fun as Silly Symphonies, is still a very enjoyable collection that focuses on Disneyland itself and its animation studios. The main feature of the disc is the presentation of the rare film The Reluctant Dragon which tells the story of a man who arrives at the Disney studios with a great idea for an animated film and in the process tours the entire complex only to finally meet Disney and find out that the movie’s been made. This movie is called, dum-dee-dum – The Reluctant Dragon and tells the story of a poetic and peaceful dragon that must play-fight with a brave and equally poetic knight in order that they may both retain their leisurely lifestyles. To round out the disc we are treated with three episodes of the wonderful Walt Disney television show entitled Disneyland in which Walt would show the viewers at home how animation was created, how music was chosen, or how some animation tricks were achieved. It really is a treat to watch these episodes and to see Walt as he gleefully tells people how everything is done, knowing full well that even if he does give away all his secrets that people will still always pay to see the films that are created with this magic, pulled into its spell because of the sweet, simple story-telling.

There are several discs in this series and if these two titles are anything to rely on, the entire set that’s been released will all have been created with love and with care. Both discs look and sound clear and crisp and are packed with more extras than any fan could hope for. Of the two I prefer the Silly Symphonies disc because it has so much to offer and has so many shorts on it. Both sets though offer fans and families alike a new look at a company and a man that, even after all this time, we still seem to be fascinated by. But then, there can never be enough magic in the world, can there?


9 out of 10 Jackasses
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