As excited as I was to see Disney trying something different with The Brave Engineer, it was disheartening to see that Trailer Horn, the latest Donald Duck short of 1950, would be the same Chip and Dale battle that we have seen before. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s a formula that seems to work, but I feel like there could be a better use of the animators’ talents than rehashing this same idea over and over again.
The difference in Trailer Horn is the setting. As opposed to the Chipmunks invading Donald’s house, place of business or country cabin, it’s Donald who ventures into their territory. Using what appears to be the same trailer from Mickey’s Trailer, Donald has ventured out into the woods for a time to commune with nature. You would think by now he has learned that this is not the best idea, yet he continues to do it anyway. So in some respects its his own fault what happens.
What happens is yet another showdown with Chip and Dale. Just like in recent shorts, though, we are not given a reason why they should be at odds. Chip and Dale merely wander down from their tree and start messing with Donald’s trailer, including the horn. That wakes our favorite duck up from his nap, so I guess that’s the inciting incident, but it’s as flimsy an excuse as we have seen to start the back and forth shenanigans.
As usual Chip and Dale get the best end of the bargain, despite being hurled against a tree while stuck in a pie. The gags in Trailer Horn are a little better than we have seen recently, including the pie gag as well as a bombing run by the chipmunks with pinecones being dropped into Donald’s trailer. There are some retreads such as Donald and a diving board having a big altercation, but for the most part, it’s familiar territory.
I think at this point, having seen all the previous Chip and Dale shorts I think I suffer from fatigue at seeing them mix it up with Donald every time out. There is definite humor and value in Trailer Horn, but it’s hard to see when you are looking at it through the prism of having seen the exact same thing last week. I think the era of the late 1940s and 1950 (at least to date) is a creative lull in the shorts. While there is good work being done, it’s mostly predictable fare, and hopefully new stuff will start to show up soon.