Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Disney vs Warner Bros, where I put these two studios at each other’s throats to see who comes out on top.

Now Disney’s biggest claim to fame are their fairytales. The studio is practically built off the practice. Disney and fairytales go together hand in hand. But Warner Bros is no slouch either, what with their countless adaptations. So, the only fair way of judging these two studios is taking the adaptation of the exact same source material and seeing how it plays out. So without further ado…

And once again, we have an example of there being two competing Bugs Bunny shorts that both center around the same thing. Fortunately this time the discrepancy is easier to solve, since Tortoise Wins by a Hare is a sequel to the original Tortoise Beats Hare (and, since the latter was one of Bugs’ first shorts, it’s interesting see how different his ultimate character is). So in this case we’ll for the earlier short in the series, rather than the latter.

The Story

Yeah I know, another Aesop, but that’s near enough to a fairytale in my book.

A hare challenges the tortoise to a race for whatever reason, and the hare gets a very comfortable head start. So comfortable, in fact, that he stops and rests while the tortoise slowly plods along. But since the hare takes too long goofing off, he’s not prepared for the slow-moving but consistent tortoise’s win. Moral of the story: Finish fast and then gloat.

Faithfulness

Disney’s The Tortoise and the Hare: Well you have a tortoise, you have a hare, you have them racing. Again, very bare bones, but very much keeping with the original Aesop. Of course this version adds in clever little things like how the hare ends up wasting his time, which mostly involve him chasing rabbit tail. It expands on the concept at hand without any real changes.

Warner Bros’ Tortoise Beats Hare: While this short isn’t as faithful, the idea behind it is genius. The tortoise, rather than try to beat the rabbit fairly, instead gets all his mates to appear on certain legs of the race and pretend to the be same tortoise. Therefore, the poor rabbit is constantly being overtaken no matter what he does to slow the tortoise down. Cheating, sure, but the moral “Use every trick in the book to win” is a far more useful one than “Slow and steady wins the race”.

Winner: Just for the fact that it doesn’t change the story around all that much, The Tortoise and the Hare walk away with the win. While the Warner Bros short does more interesting things with the concept, when it comes to faithfulness, the Disney short wins.

Protagonist

For this category I’m saying the Tortoise is the protagonist cos he’s a nicer guy.

The Tortoise and the Hare: The Tortoise is a fantastic character, especially when it comes to the animation. He looks so beautiful when he runs. Plus he’s got a lovely can-do attitude where he takes it all in his stride and he doesn’t get too upset by what’s going on around him. He’s an all round nice guy who is great fun to watch.

Tortoise Beats Hare: Cecil Turtle (Yes, he really is a turtle, don’t as me why) is an interesting character to say the least, being one of the few characters in Looney Tunes history to actually get the one-up on Bugs freaking Bunny. Throughout the entire short Cecil is unworried, constantly playing the rascally rabbit and besting him at every turn. This is even more true in the second short, where Cecil so cleverly outsmarts Bugs that it’s quite amazing to watch the tables flip like that. This was made in Bugs Bunny’s early days (only being his 8th short, after all), so they’d yet to nail down the character, but nevertheless it’s a rare moment of seeing Bugs lose.

Winner: Well at the end of the day, I’ve got to go for the character that is more interesting, and that has to go to Cecil Turtle. I won’t lie, seeing as this is the only character to ever really get the drop on Bugs, it makes him stick out all that more. Not that the Disney version is bad, not by any means, but the Warner Bros version is just more iconic in my eyes.

Antagonist

So while the Tortoise was our good guy, it makes sense that the Hare would be our bad guy.

The Tortoise and the Hare: In this corner, wearing all brown, we have Max Hare, who… Okay, not a word of a lie, this guy is the guy who directly inspired the creation of Bugs Bunny. And watching him it’s not hard to see why he was the being that inspired Bugs Bunny. A lot of Bugs is in this character, from the cocky attitude to the playful swagger. However, perhaps crucially, Max Hare is a much meaner character than Bugs ever was. Max is a much less likeable character, which is admittedly the point of the hare. But even then, it’s debatable about how much fun it is to watch a jerk, even if he does get his comeuppance.

Tortoise Beats Hare: And in this corner, wearing all grey, we have Bugs Bunny. I don’t need to elaborate on who Bugs Bunny is or why he’s so great, just that it’s really odd comparing him to Max. It really is like seeing a first draft version of a character next to their final draft counterpart. While this whole series has been about comparing the two companies, nowhere is it more clear than in this short. Both companies have their own take on the Bugs Bunny character, but which one wins?

Winner: At the end of the day, despite Max’s heritage, Bugs Bunny is the all-round better character. This short plays to Bugs’ strengths, even if he spends most of this short losing terribly to Cecil. So Bugs Bunny manages to take home another win.

Side Characters

The Tortoise and the Hare: Well aside from the three little rabbits that pop up, there are plenty of clever little characters in here. This short is filled with clever little side characters and gags, each one with their own little story to tell. It’d take too long to list them here, but go check out Disney’s clever animation at its finest.

Tortoise Beats Hare: Well you could argue that the other turtles are characters, but on the whole, this short is kinda barren when it comes to side characters as a whole. Not much to talk about really.

Winner: On a technicality (because technically the other short has no characters) The Tortoise and the Hare takes the win.

Visual Presentation

The Tortoise and the Hare: Oh how this film looks so beautiful. There’s a reason why it won the Academy Award for best short animated film in 1934. I mean it is just so lovely. The way the colours pop, the background is so beautifully painted, all the characters just work. It’s truly beautiful.

Tortoise Beats Hare: This short actually looks rather good as well. While other Warner Bros short have been rather blasé, this one really does look better than the rest. I don’t know why this one happens to look better, maybe it’s just a fluke, but it does look great. And the animation on the characters is fantastic.

Winner: It’s close, but The Tortoise and the Hare won that Academy Award for a reason, you know. It once again shows just how good Disney is at the animation game.

Humour

The Tortoise and the Hare: The short relies on two types of humour: Visual gags and the over-confidence of Max Hare. Now the visual gags are pretty clever, if a bit too signalled in advance. Meanwhile the gags about Max Hare being so great are a bit forced and don’t really sit well with me. Maybe other people will like it, but I find his showmanship a bit obnoxious.

Tortoise Beats Hare: This short is hilarious, simply hilarious. From Bugs attacking Cecil to Cecil and his friends winding Bugs up, pretty much every gag in this short hits home. Like I said, it’s rare to see Bugs upstaged, so seeing this reaction really helps make it an outstandingly funny short.

Winner: Yeah, when it comes to humour, Tortoise Beats Hare wins out for me. While it’s all subjective and all that, funny is funny, and this short is just so much funnier than the other.

Film Factor

The Tortoise and the Hare: This short, like I said, won that Academy Award for a reason. It’s a fantastic short, showcasing the best that Disney has to offer, while also providing an interesting perspective on the history of animation. A must watch for every Disney fan, and something for every Bugs Bunny fan to check out.

Tortoise Beats Hare: A funny, funny short that left me in stitches the entire time, this is also something animation fans should check out, if only for a change in pace when it comes to the regular Bugs Bunny shorts. The animation is probably the best it has been in a while, the gags are great, this short is all round great.

Winner: It’s a close race, a very close race, but I cannot say, with any trace of irony, that Tortoise Beats Hare won by a hair. At the end of the day if I had to choose which short I’d want to watch again, it’d have to be this one. It’s just so much funnier.

Winner

Well with a score of 4-3 the winner is Tortoise Beats Hare. A well deserving win for a fantastic little short that I’ve gloated enough about here already. Go track it down and watch it if you haven’t done so yet, it’s easily worth your time.

So there you have it. My fourth look at the Warner Bros vs Disney debate. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.

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