STUDIO: Walt Disney Video
MSRP: $32.99
RUNNING TIME: 227 Minutes
• Animation commentaries by Randy Cartwright and Andreas Deja
• Animation tests
• Art galleries
• Certificate of authenticity
• Color photo card
• Eight page booklet
• Pencil tests

The Pitch

An anthropomorphized mouse keeps a dog for a pet that continually gets in trouble thanks to its taste for bones.

The Characters

Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and some suit named Leonard Maltin.

The Nutshell

Pluto is one of the more unique characters in the Disney shorts. While the other characters may also be animals like ducks and mice, they basically act like humans. They speak in English, they own homes and they even enlist in the army from time to time. Pluto is just a dog. He can’t speak, he lives in a dog house and his only goal in life is to accumulate as many bones as possible.

Since he can’t speak, Pluto is a character for which animation is vitally important. The animators have to do their very best to make sure the audience can tell exactly what Pluto is feeling based solely on his facial expressions and exaggerated movements. It’s animation at its purest and most basic level.

All the bitches on the block just line up for Pluto.

The Lowdown

Pluto sure gets around. He’s supposedly nothing more than Mickey’s pet, but somehow he ends up serving as a mail delivery dog and a rescue dog in the arctic wilderness among other things. The only constant between shorts is that Pluto’s short fuse and uncoordinated movements will get him into deep trouble for at least ten minutes.

The shorts in this second collection range from the late 1940s to the early 1950s and are representative of the Disney animators at the top of their games. They aren’t afraid to try out new and innovative techniques in animation, even devoting entire shorts to simply seeing what they can get away with. So what if the crazy effects demonstrated when Pluto enters a hall of mirrors defy all laws of physics? It’s animation, go crazy with it.

Don’t worry too much. All dogs go to heaven anyways.

Like most Walt Disney Treasures releases, this collection also includes various shorts from “The Vault,” which are always preceded with an introduction by Leonard Maltin in which he attempts to place the cartoons in their proper contexts. It’s admirable that Disney doesn’t shy away from collecting shorts that could be considered racist and offensive by modern sensibilities, unlike other animation studios.

This second compilation of Pluto shorts is a treasure trove of material for fans of classic Disney animation and every aspect of its production indicates that the people assembling it have just as much respect and love for the material as Walt himself did.

Got some junk in that trunk.

The Package

Most of the supplemental features on this disk are geared towards animation aficionados and fans of the art form. Disney animators Randy Cartwright and Andreas Deja provide running commentaries on two selected shorts featuring Pluto. Cartwright focuses more on the different tricks the animators used to convey Pluto’s emotions and the effects they were able to pull off with some trickery.

Specifically, he goes into detail on the way animators convey depth and create blur effects. Deja focuses his commentary more on how the classic shorts have influenced modern Disney style. The Hawaiian themed short he screens factors heavily into the art style used in Lilo and Stich. Many of the water colored backgrounds from the short look identical to the ones used in the modern feature.

"I’m Federal Agent Pluto, and this is the longest day of my life."

Animation and pencil tests allow viewers to see Pluto shorts at varying states of competition. Walt Disney had his animators screen black and white versions of the shorts in order to determine if there was any room for improvement before the colors were added. The DVD places the final product, the rough version and storyboards on the screen at the same time so viewers can everything that went into the creation of these ten minute shorts.

The rest of the extras include various galleries of artwork and fancy DVD case inserts to reassure you of how much work went into restoring these shorts. If anyone ever accosts you on a street corner and has the nerve to suggest that you don’t own an authentic version of The Complete Pluto Volume 2, feel free to shove the included certificate of authenticity in their dumb face and smile in smug satisfaction as they bow down at your feet.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10