Was very fond of Woody Woodpecker and his cartoons as a child. Still get much enjoyment out of them now as a young adult, even if there are more interesting in personality cartoon characters and better overall cartoons.
That is in no way knocking Woody, because many of his cartoons are a lot of fun to watch and more and also still like him a lot as a character. This is going to be a reiteration of a lot of my reviews for the later Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but mainly because the later Paul J. Smith-directed cartoons have pretty much the same strengths and faults. Not all Smith's efforts are average or less, 'Niagara Fools' is one of the not many very good and more Woody Woodpecker cartoons of his (excellent in that cartoon's case despite the lacking animation).
'Buster's Last Stand' (taking its title from the story of Custer's Last Stand when Custer led the 1876 Sioux Indian ambush) is another one of the lacklustre late Woody Woodpecker cartoons (though not one of the worst), with a few exceptions such as 'Skin Folks' and especially 'Three Little Woodpeckers' Woody was well past his best at this best and 'Buster's Last Stand' does nothing to change my mind.
If there was a best asset, it would have to be the music score. It is bouncy, energetic and very lushly orchestrated, not only synchronising and fitting with the action very well but enhancing it. There are a few vibrant colours and the setting is suitably picturesque.
Voice acting is solid. Grace Stafford continues to prove why she was the best voice actor for the character and the one that understood him the most.
However, Woody compared to his original manic personality is just too subdued and his material is too obvious and safe, one misses the manic energy and the risk taking. The Indians don't have any personality or comic timing to make any impression which severely hurts the conflict.
The timing could have been sharper and the humour is primarily let down by that it is derivative of better and fresher humour in other Woody Woodpecker cartoons and also the lack of wit and consistent energy. There are nowhere near enough laughs and what there were not funny or well-timed. The recycled and repetitive story, the premise being similar to other Woody Woodpecker cartoons with Indians and very derivative of other cartoon characters with similar stories doesn't help matters.
Just as problematic is the animation quality. Time and budget constraints shows in a lot of the animation, which is very rushed looking in the drawing and detail wise it's on the simplistic and careless side like many of Woody's cartoons from this period continuing through to the 60s.
In summary, mediocre at best. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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