Archive for the 'Walter Lantz' Category

Barber of Seville

There’s a fine line between crazy and maniacal. Woody Woodpecker takes that line and beats you to death with it. At first I was a little taken aback by Woody’s intensity in this cartoon, but I can’t help but appreciate that willingness to make Woody stand out from the crowd by pushing him further, even if he does come off like he’s a serial killer. It’s interesting to see the changes these characters go through as they are passed around over the years. I like these interim portrayals, when they’ve been refined slightly but not enough to smooth out all the rough edges.

Man, when it gets going, this one tears right into it. The escalating jump cuts and rapid-fire editing add so much to the madness. Director Shamus Culhane is the Godard of animation. At first I found the human characters to be a little soft, but in the end they make a nice contrast to Woody’s angular, manic performance, as if the entire world is sleepwalking until he comes along. That sequence when they’re fighting along the counter is just masterful, and Woody has so many rich poses in this thing.

Posted in Animation, Walter Lantz on June 15th, 2011 by Steven

Vicious Viking

Brian Wood’s Vertigo title Northlanders was an easy sell to make to a particular subsection of my friends, what with its Vikings crossed with Battles Without Honor or Humanity conceit. I guess I just didn’t push it hard enough. In honour of Northlanders imminent demise, I present Walter Lantz’ Vicious Viking.

Right from the start I was getting serious flashbacks to a childhood wasted on indiscriminately watching fourth-rate cartoons on television all day, every day. Chilly and Smedley are both so stiff and cloying, then the titular viking shows up and everything becomes a whole lot more awesome. There’s some really nice bits in there, including the Viking’s bite anticipation and his paranoid jumping around once thawed out. There’s also something wonderfully off about having him eat an entire moose head, or stabbing a bomb with his sword like it were a meatball. Sure, the Viking comes off as a cheap knock-off of Yosemite Sam and The Tasmanian Devil, but it works, and I would love to see more of him. And really, if you’re going to watch one cartoon with a surf version of The Ride of the Valkyries today it may as well be this one.

Posted in Animation, Vikings, Walter Lantz on June 9th, 2011 by Steven

Hell’s Heels

It looks like I spoke too soon when talking up the craziness of yesterday’s selection. I thought for sure that the best thing Hell’s Heels would have going for it would be its title, but it turns out it’s one of the weirdest, most primitive cartoons I have ever seen. Nothing makes any sense, from the patchwork plot to the twitchy animation and on to the gags that aren’t funny the first time let alone the second or third. It really does seem as if it were all just thrown together, but I’ll be damned if I can’t be won over by a cartoon with this many gratuitous skeletons in it.

Posted in Animation, Walter Lantz on June 1st, 2011 by Steven