21 August 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Goldilocks, The Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in the same cartoon- and it's a riot
'The Bear's Tale' had so much going for it, with the enormous level of talent involved with the animation, the music, the writers and the voice actors.
At the same time, there was a worry that 'The Bear's Tale' might not come off. Cartoons using fairy-tale characters and stories and putting their own spin on it can suffer from feeling like too much going on, too many characters, feeling rushed due to so much happening in so short a time and the gags and such varying in whether they work well or not. One example being 'Foney Fables' from 1942, an interesting, often amusing and very well made cartoon but uneven with some great moments and also misfires.
Luckily, there is absolutely nothing to worry about in 'The Bear's Tale'. This is as close to how to perfectly put your own spin on more than one fairy tale character and story, and it doesn't have any of the traps mentioned above. It is true that the earlier Looney Tunes stuff is somewhat more subdued and not as wild as later (Tex Avery definitely did wilder stuff since), and that cartoons from about 1945 or so on-wards took more risks and were even funnier. However, is this a bad thing or a knock on this cartoon or any other early Looney Tunes effort? Absolutely not.
Best things about 'The Bear's Tale' are the animation and music. The animation in particular is simply stunning, so clean, smooth, beautifully drawn, always interesting to look at and very colourful and vibrant to look at. Carl Stalling never (if he ever did, have yet to hear it) put a foot wrong, and he brings his usual energetic rhythms, lush orchestration, lively wit and seamless ability to not only add to the impact of a gag or an action but enhance it, something that his successors didn't come close to excelling so well in.
Even with a subtle edge, 'The Bear's Tale' crackles with energy, is never dull and there is not a gag that doesn't work. All the material is very funny at least and at most hilarious. Unforgettable also is the ending which is agreed hilariously risqué for early Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies (and in general), am amazed it made it past the censors.
All the characters are a joy. Little Red Riding Hood is neither bland or annoying, though Goldilocks is funnier and more charming. Making even more of an impression are the riotous Three Bears and the wolf. The voice work is superb from all involved.
Overall, a riot and a fantastic cartoon. Fairy-tales rarely get more colourful or entertaining than this, of the numerous Looney Tunes takes on fairy-tales 'The Bear's Tale' is one of the best and should be seen more. 10/10 Bethany Cox