EW reviews two Disney animation tributes -- We give grades to ''Celebrated Shorts 1920s-1960s'' and ''The Chronological Donald''

By Steve Daly
December 02, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

EW reviews two Disney animation tributes

Even as Disney bullies its artists into an all-CG animation era, the company’s video division continues turning out splendid tributes to the studio’s glorious, hand-drawn ‘toon past. Case in point: two new Disney Treasures double-disc sets with intros by Leonard Maltin. The more covetable is Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts 1920s-1960s, which rounds up a bunch of fascinating specials. They’re stand-alone shorts with one-shot characters, like the splendid fable ”The Little House” (about a country domicile overtaken by urban sprawl) and the fine historical comedy ”Ben and Me” (narrated by founding father Franklin’s smart little mouse assistant). For The Chronological Donald: Volume Two 1942-1946, Maltin gathers more from the angry duck’s vintage years, splendidly spiffed-up. Major cavil: Because some of Donald’s WWII-era shorts have racist caricatures aplenty (plus Donald attempting suicide and puffing cigars), Maltin offers an explanatory disclaimer. Unfortunately, every time you access them, you have to sit through his entire patronizing talk. No fast-forward, no chapter skip allowed. That probably makes Disney’s lawyers happy, but for viewers, it’s cause to squawk with rage. Rarities: A Donald: B+