Chilly Willy's best cartoons were perfect examples of how a potentially one-joke character and concept could end up actually being a perfect mix of the cute and the funny with a lot of colour and good comic timing to go with it.
'Airlift a La Carte' is an interesting Chilly Willy cartoon for two reasons. One is seeing Chilly, Gooney, Maxie and Smedley together in the same cartoon, something that had never been seen before in a Chilly Willy cartoon. The other is being the only time when Smedley's attempts to prevent Chilly getting food are actually successful, usually they fail spectacularly. 'Airlift a La Carte' is an okay, watchable effort and again not bad for a very late Chilly Willy cartoon, despite some obvious debits and never really being great.
Chilly is adorable and is also a lot of fun, with his actions speaking far louder than words. Prefer him when silent but he still makes an impression. His anarchic personality is hardly toned down and he is still the exceptionally clever and brutal penguin we know and love. He is well partnered by Maxie and Gooney, Gooney especially is amusing and likable. Maxie deserved more to do but he is not bland or annoying at least. The chemistry is fun and Daws Butler voices as professionally as can be.
Gags in the second half are very over-familiar and similar to those in previous cartoons, but they are fun at least. The climax is particularly good, and the ending is a nice touch. Walter Greene's music is lively and rousingly, cleverly and beautifully orchestrated and fits very well. Love the opening title credits music.
However, Smedley has been better used and has had much better material before. It was interesting for him not to have a boss ordering him around or a character threatening him if disturbed, but his dialogue has been wittier and the gags do have predictable outcomes. He does take the laughs well and his chemistry with the other three characters is good.
Although Greene's music mostly works, it does seem out of kilter at the end, sounding far scarier and cheaper than it ought to have been. The animation is scrappy. Despite some nice colours it's very simplistically detailed and even more carelessly drawn. Smedley does look odd here again.
First half is on the dull side and basically set up, and the story is predictable, sometimes repetitive and thin as ice. Once again, Chilly's voice is far too much of a mismatch, Chilly just doesn't sound right when not with a sparingly used high-pitched voice and made to sound older than he looks, it's like a mouse trying to sound like a tiger or something.
In summation, interesting but could have been better. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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