Pluto shorts are the toughest ones for me to watch, because I don’t connect to the character. How can I? He’s a dog, and I am not. But really it has more to do with the fact that Pluto is a difficult character to get right. So often we see him merely pitted against another animal, and that conflict is what drives the short. Such is the case with Pluto’s Surprise Package.
The opponent in this case is a turtle that appears in the mail. It’s never explained why someone was sending a turtle in the mail, which is the question I was wondering the entire time. Why is someone sending Mickey a turtle through the mail? Is it the same person who once sent a kangaroo that Donald had to deal with? I’m not sure what the deal is with sending livestock through the mail, but I’m pretty sure it’s not cool these days.
Regardless, we get to see Pluto face off with the turtle, which is about as exciting as you’d guess from reading that sentence. The turtle has a little string noise that plays every time it takes a step. That’s a neat little quirk as the short starts, but to be honest it became quite annoying throughout the short. It was not adding anything to the turtle’s personality or identity. Since the turtle and Pluto do not talk, this was the only way that we were able to get some sounds from the small creature.
I have not talked much about what happens in the short, because not much really does occur. Most of the short is about a little dance between the turtle and Pluto. It’s a group of small actions that don’t really add up to much. Pluto tries to pack the turtle up and take him with him, that doesn’t work. The turtle tries to run off, Pluto tries to catch him. The most excitement comes when there’s a chase over the side of a cliff, which ends with mail ending up in the water below.
I’m not sure that Pluto’s Surprise Package qualifies as a bad short, it’s just not that interesting. While Pluto and the turtle work out their differences in the end, there’s really not much of a difference to start with. I’d rather have seen some more conflict or something new from this short, so it fell quite flat.