Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto, Vol. 1

That most under of dogs gets his own silver-tinned two-disc Treasures collection, though whether he merited the attention is subject to debate. The collection spans the years from 1930 (when the Pluto prototype appeared as two nameless bloodhounds in The Chain Gang) to 1947, by which time he had clearly come into his own as a character. It is indeed interesting to watch the evolution of the Disney method, as the simple logo-like stylisation gives way to a smoother quasi-realism aided by technical advances; it's also fascinating to note the complication of his misadventures as time goes by. But a little Pluto goes a long way. You have to be completely entranced by the Disney warm-fuzzy ethos to get much pleasure out of his pathetic incredulity, generally hinging on uncooperative small animals or Byzantine efforts to retrieve large bones; he's such a befuddled sad sack that it's hard to watch him get into the same gently humiliating trouble over and over again. All this I could forgive if the cartoons were funny, but they generally lack the cut and thrust that good comedy requires (and that the rowdies on the Warner lot had in surfeit). If you're a Disney enthusiast, this is a must have, but a blind purchase is out of the question for novices. Extras include introductions by Maltin, a "dogumentary" (arf, arf) on the subject of our hero, a session with Maltin and animator Andreas Deja on how to draw him and a bizarre and clip-heavy 1954 episode of the Disneyland show that pays homage to him. There's also a segment on creator Norman "Fergy" Ferguson and several galleries of animation and publicity art. (Disney)