22 June 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Won't banish the blues away
While not one of my favourites, Ub Iwerks was responsible for a lot of interesting work. Especially when working with Walt Disney, his oldest friend and one of his best, and co-creating one of animation's most famous characters in Mickey Mouse. His career since opening his own studio had interest value but the quality was variable, often being successful in the animation and music but wanting in the story and variable in gags, lead characters and tone.
1933 to 1936 saw twenty five cartoons, mostly based on famous fairytales and familiar stories, as part of Iwerks's "ComiColor" series. The "ComiColor" series is very much worth watching and interesting, as is the case with many series some cartoons are better than others but there are no real animation nadirs. 1936's 'Little Boy Blue' is very disappointing, and a contender for being the weakest of the series, it's between this and 'Mary's Little Lamb' for that title for pretty much the same reasons as each other.
'Little Boy Blue' is very slight, pretty plot-less, and is too saccharine, like at the beginning. There is just not enough content and the middle especially is where one feels the over-stretching.
Its characters should have been much more interesting, their personalities are bland to the point of being personality-deprived. The title character has too little a role and is neither likeable or compelling. There is far more imagination and humour in other cartoons in the series, it is just as and even more bland as the characters. A vast majority of it is not very funny, could have had a sharper kick pace-wise, has very little conflict or enough urgency and tries too hard to be cute that it goes too far the other way.
However, 'Little Boy Blue' has merits to stop it from being completely dull. There are a few amusing moments that aren't too repetitive or corny, though this is very sporadic, and there is some charm here and there, again not enough. The wolf is by far the most interesting character, the only one to make an impression, and is amusing and menacing. Billy Bletcher couldn't have voiced him more perfectly.
Furthermore, the animation is great apart from an awkwardly animated Mary. Meticulously detailed, fluid in drawing, vibrant in colour and often rich in imagination and visual wit. The music, by far the best thing about the cartoon, is cleverly and lushly orchestrated, is infectiously catchy and adds a lot to the cartoon.
Overall, another example of a worth a look once but not repeat viewings cartoon. 5/10 Bethany Cox