Silly Symphonies

film 38 of 61

The Tortoise and the Hare

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

This has lovely backgrounds, lots of nice business related to the effects of the hare’s speed, or the particularities of the tortoise’s passage. Is it familiarity though? Academy Award or not, in the end I find this version of The Tortoise and the Hare to be kind of, even basically, annoying.

The fault probably lies in the character of the hare—he’s just so obnoxious! (Worse, maybe. Why is he, a collegiate hare, trying to chat up those six year old females?) On the surface of it, this fact appears to help the film’s/fable’s moral, or message. Slow and steady wins the race, not only athletically, but also with regard to virtue taking precedence over talent. I like that, as a parent and as my own self. But the production ensemble makes this point at the expense of both behavioural verisimilitude and the qualities of mercy. The Wise Little Hen and the Grasshopper, respective to these two essential qualities, seem to me to be far superior.

Wait a minute though. Am I being inconsistent? The Sillies can be overly schematic, or goody-goody. Couldn’t we see the Hare (who acts a lot like Bugs Bunny, doesn’t he?) as bringing in an welcome dose of untidy naughtiness here?

We could indeed. Let me stand at least semi-corrected.