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Cartoon Hell #32 – “Little Hawk”

January 11, 2010

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome. 

Brother to Fat Dove and Trifling Pigeon.

The titles for this cartoon don’t make things very clear. After the title, the words “Young Peoples Records” appears. I wish it had a possessive, which would make it sound like an old person describing a music collection they’d just stolen. 

This map gives the impression of Lord of the Rings set in Detroit.

As far as opening images go, this one is damn confusing. Am I looking at a leaf, or a poorly drawn depiction of the Great Lakes? Fortunately, the narrations clarifies that our story takes place by Lake Michigan. I should learn to trust my keen eyes.

 The story is about an Ottawa boy that everyone calls Lazy Bones. He’s a watches people do common activities, suggesting that thoughtfulness is correlated with laziness, which let’s be honest, isn’t entirely unfair.

 As far as shoddy limited animation techniques go, Little Hawk’s is one of the worst. They took real pictures of natural scenery and cut them to fit their forest areas, drawing a few crude trees on top to give the appearance of depth. The Ottawa boy isn’t the only lazy one here. 

Utterly stuffed with nuts.

Lazy Bones watches things like where the squirrels put their nuts (yes, I giggled), where the badgers left their tracks, where the deers drank, where the bear shits, and so forth. He relays this all back to a girl named Gray Faun, who tolerates it politely. What I didn’t expect was a brief musical number discussing his friendship with nature. At this point I don’t know why I should be surprised by anything musical in a cartoon.

 What’s aggravating is whether it’s from the 30’s or the 70’s, it’s the same cheesy Dudley Do-Right tenor singing from the back of the throat. Is this just what animators think good singing is?

They will stop to admire craftsmanship, consequences be damned!

Gray Faun goes out to do some gathering, and when she doesn’t return we’re treated to a shot of Ottawa men staring at her moccasins. This animation style is essentially only a step up from a slide show, so the narration does a lot of the heavy lifting. 

"See this muscle right here? It powers THE HAMMER! And you don't mess with THE HAMMER!"

Their chief, who either has a fancy nose piece or a fabulous mustache, suspect the Saginaw of foul play  and get ready for war. Lazy Bones has other ideas, visiting the watering hole where Gray Fox disappeared and getting an idea: 

Gadzooks!

Yes, it’s the first expression he’s made besides benign interest, so he makes it count. He realizes she would have dropped her berry basket and…. whoo…. sorry, felt myself drifting off a little. Only two and a half minutes into a five minute cartoon and I find myself taking an interest in objects around my desk. This is the sort of cartoon that, as a child, made me consider giving up on morning television for the day and get started on homework. 

So he does what any good detective would do, he sings to the woodland creatures asking where she went. Everyone knows the Ottawa tribe has the finest tenors in North America, so of course the woods respond. I don’t know why music and animals have such a strong association in the minds of writers, music irritates the hell out of most wildlife.

Animals are awfully smug about their direction-giving.

A porcupine points in the exact direction she went, and Lazy Bones has the balls to say, “I think she went that way!” and cites several clues besides the porcupine obviously gesturing in that direction. That porcupine must feel shafted. From there he keeps singing at the creatures and they keep pointing at clues.

Reflection in the water or overhead shot, only the animators know for certain.

In this shot I’m not entirely sure where the land ends and the sky begins, whether he’s facing the water or the sky. It’s absolutely miserable to watch.

We salute your innovation in the area of laziness.

A pack of crows lead him to Gray Faun, and when they return the chief, who no longer has the awesome decorative mustache, he is pleased with Lazy Bones’ efforts. He puts a hand on the boy’s head and proclaims that his new name is Little Hawk, on account of his ruthless killing. No, I kid, it’s because of his sharp eyes.

 The end says it’s a Mel-O-Toons Production, emphasis on the mellow. Did this story even have a conflict? It barely clocked in at five minutes and contained as little animation and art as possible. I accuse them all of being Lazy Bones.

 UNPC Moment:

 Beyond a hint of noble savage simplification, this is probably the first portrayal of Native Americans in this collection that didn’t seem blatantly racist. They actually bothered to use a real tribe in a real location and didn’t give them pidgin-English voices. Unfortunately, this just ends up making it more dull.

 Rating: Nearly Unwatchable

 This may be one of the most boring cartoons I’ve watched so far. There’s very little voice acting, lots of dull singing, backgrounds cut out of nature magazines, and a sliver thin story. I’m guessing originally this was a dull educational snippet stuffed into the center of a children’s variety show to get the kids excited at the prospect of a cartoon. Those kids most likely felt betrayed.

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