When watching Donald Duck battle it out with Chip and Dale in All In a Nutshell, it occurred to me that everything would be so much simpler for Donald if he paid protection money of a kind to the chipmunks. After all, it seems like every time he settles down to a meal or to a business venture, Chip and Dale show up to ruin it. If he just gave them a little food every time, I imagine he’d be alright. He usually has more than enough to go around.
In this version of the epic war between these parties, Donald has set up a roadside stand to sell Don’s Nut Butter. The catch? His stand is shaped in the form of an acorn, which attracts the attention of the chipmunks rather quickly. They’re out gathering acorns for food, after Donald has stolen their acorns to make his nut butter. Hilarity ensues.
What I find somewhat interesting about this version of this long running battle is that most of the short involves Chip and Dale trying to hijack the giant acorn stand, instead of messing with Donald directly. Their efforts are futile, of course, but they are quite entertaining. It’s when we finally see the two crack the shell of the acorn that the real fun of working against Donald begins. But that doesn’t happen until about midway through the short.
While it’s fun to see these little skirmishes between Donald and the chipmunks, it ultimately doesn’t add much to the overall war. There’s nothing new or original in this short, it falls mostly along the lines of every other Chip and Dale short. To be fair that’s not a bad thing, as these shorts are generally entertaining. The fun and whimsy of these shorts make them easy to watch, even when there’s nothing new.
My problem is that I expect big things of Disney, and there’s not big things in the Chip and Dale shorts. They are formulaic, lack any sort of breakthrough animation and do not measure up artistically with the earlier shorts. Again, they’re fun and entertaining, and that counts for a lot. There are many other companies that produced shorts that were not entertaining during this period. While I enjoy Chip and Dale, I don’t think it’s enough to make for classic Disney fare. Enjoy it for the brief escapism that it is.