Mar 29, 2015

Review: Flowers and Trees (1932)

As the 29th entry in Disney's Silly Symphonies, Flowers and Trees is notable for being the first full-colour animated short film ever released. Technicolor had been developing a three-strip process as a one-up on their two-color process and successfully convinced Walt Disney to try it out. Disney was even able to strike an exclusivity deal with Technocolor until 1935 for the technology, leaving other studios in the dust. With brighter and more vivid animation, Disney took home the first ever Academy Award for Animated Short Subjects.


Genre: animation, short, comedy
Directed by: Burt Gillett
Produced by: Walt Disney
Written by: N/A
Music by: N/A
Running time: 8 minutes
Production company: Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by: United Artists, Walt Disney Home Video
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry

Starring: N/A



It's morning and the forest is waking up. The Flowers, trees and birds slowly wake up before creating a beautiful combined symphony. However, a rotten tree stump isn't interested in playing nice with the rest of his forest neighbours and decides to kidnap one of the female trees to be with him. He does this despite her clearly being in love with a younger and more dashing tree who must now protect her.


To get right to the point, Flowers and Trees is mega cute. It opens to a bunch of plant-life and other forest creatures yawning, stretching and doing else whatever they normally do in the morning. Once they're all ready to go, they all come together to create some lovely music. I literally thought that would be the movie and I was fine with it. How could I mind watching a caterpillar taking a shower with water tipped out from inside a flower or sunflowers doing morning exercises? Doesn't matter if you're a kid or an adult, this is great stuff.

Opposite the cute tree couple, a villain is thrown in to add some stakes and a bit more of a story. He's pretty easy to dislike the minute you see him since he's ugly, mean and he's got a lizard for a tongue. Just imagine that bad breath. An entertaining and amusing fight ensues after his attempted kidnapping with all the animation and sound effects fitting in tightly with the music. This honestly is one of the reasons why Flowers and Trees is so satisfying to watch. The timing is just perfect.

There's nothing particularly in-depth or deep about Flowers and Trees, but it's a delightful little production. The forest feels alive and there's timeless humour thrown in all over the place. Animation isn't the most advanced, especially when it comes to shadows that never move, but it's understandable. I mean this was 1932 and a whole new colour system was being tested out. I definitely can't be too harsh there.

Flowers and Trees is simply a great way to spend a free eight minutes of your time. It does a great job at pairing animation and music into a sort of symbiotic organism that fits just as well as maple syrup in waffle holes. The story features an easy good vs. bad fight, but it ends up being fun and amusing to watch as it plays out. Creatively and technically, I'm doubtful any other short could compete with this Disney production.



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