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.
Paul J. Smith's first Chilly Willy cartoon, the character's debut 'Chilly Willy', was great and among the best Chilly Willy cartoons, but generally his 60s-onward output (there are also cartoons from Alex Lovy, Jack Hannah, Sid Marcus and notably, in terms of being responsible for the two best of the series, Tex Avery) has been nowhere near as good. Some are decent, but generally they're average at best. Luckily for 'Chilly and the Woodchopper', it's one of Smith's decent 60s-onward Chilly Willy cartoons despite falling short in quite a few ways.
The animation is scrappy and constantly looks like it was done in a rush, especially in the latter half of the cartoon, it actually looks decent to begin with but it becomes more simplistic and careless from the halfway mark. The story is thin to the point of bare existence, a lot of it is very predictable as a result of having a lot of familiar elements from previous Chilly Willy/Smedley cartoons and some of the action (like the milk and pushing the bed down the hill gags) is rather repetitive. The ending can be seen from a mile away, especially one of the cartoon's most repetitive gags being repeated, and apart from the visuals on Smedley it feels fatigued too.
However, some of the colours are bright and lively. Walter Greene's music is lively and rousingly, cleverly and beautifully orchestrated and fits very well. Love the opening title credits music.
Despite the predictability and repetition, the gags are amusing and well timed with some clever visuals showing the characters' shattered nerves. The chemistry between Chilly and Smedley sparkles as always, and it is always remarkable at what Chilly has up his sleeve and how he does it. Underneath all that irresistible cuteness he is one clever, funny and at times fairly brutal penguin.
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 even when speaking sparingly. He may be a nuisance to his opponents but he wins the viewer over with his cuteness and timing. Smedley shows perfectly why he and Chilly Willy work so well together, he has great comic timing with some very humorous lines and is marvellously voiced by Daws Butler in southern drawl Huckleberry Hound mode. Oh and the lumberjack is a much more interesting and effective character than most supporting characters in similar roles, actually having a livelier comedic touch and stronger conflict.
In conclusion, decent. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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