Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Short Subject: How to Fish (1942)


Well two shorts in a row that I think are meh.  While how to play football basically had nothing to do with being a how to short this one does.  It follows the traditional formula of introducing the subject, even uses a book as its framing device, there are different areas highlighted, like approaching the stream, angling, and going out with a boat.  Then of course Goofy demonstrates these skills with the usual slapstick outcome, hooking the motor, falling out of tree, getting caught in his own line etc. 

So what’s wrong with this short if everything seems to be set up like it should?  For me it’s the narrator, the guy could not sound more unenthused if he tried.  Yes, one of the great things about the how to shorts is the narrator and how his deadpan delivery is such a stark contrast to Goofy, but for me there’s a difference between deadpan and monotone and here we ran head first into the latter.  Even at the end when Goofy has hooked the motor and it’s dragging him all over and slicing up the boat and the narrator is supposed to be all excited it just doesn’t come across to me.  Also he pauses oddly throughout the short and it’s awkward and just doesn’t engage me at all.

So even though the formula is in place, Goofy is doing good slapstick, and the animation is fun and pretty as always (there’s even a shot taken from the April showers sequence in Bambi) the narrator’s complete lack of investment in the subject matter keeps me from being invested too.   

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