Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cartoon a Day: The Art of Self Defense

The Art of Self Defense
Directed by Jack Kinney
Available on: Walt Disney Treasures - The Complete Goofy

Goofy really hit his stride when Disney began producing a series of shorts that featured him in various sports activities. Baseball, Football, Swimming, Golf, even the Olympics were all fair game for the Goof. In "The Art of Self Defense" he is training for a boxing match.

The short begins with a short history of one-on-one combat which takes us all the way from cavemen hitting each other with clubs up to the present day. There are a few good gags in this sequence, but in some ways it feels like padding.

The short really gets going when Goofy goes through some scientific training for his upcoming match. Our leading man does not speak at all in this short, he simply responds to the narrator. Though the Goofy voice is classic, the character works very well when done in this style. It leaves him to engage in more physical comedy, which has always been his strongest suit.

The highlight of the short is the shadow boxing sequence. Of course, the shadow does not confine itself to the wall and ends up having the upper hand in this sparing match. The sequence takes good advantage of the physical flexibility of the Goofy character. Though not as strong as some of the other Goofy sports films, this is still an enjoyable entry in the series.

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