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…

The Story

Three Little Pigs decide to build houses (for some reason), with the first building it out of straw, the second out of sticks, and the third out of good old fashioned bricks. A mean old wolf goes on the prowl and, upon being refused entry on the account of some hairs on a chinny chinny chin, huffs and puffs to blow the house down. With both the straw and stick houses destroyed, the two pigs take refugee in the third house (or, you know, get eaten, if you really wanna scare kids straight), which the wolf can’t blow down. And then… Well, then it gets kinda confusing, since some versions have the wolf try to catch them while agreeing to pick apples together or the like, but the usual ending is the wolf tries to go down the chimney, only to land in a pot of boiling water. So he either flees or dies, depending how morbid you’re feeling. Moral of the story: Do a job properly to avoid being eaten. It’s not a twist on the moral, since the fairytale is dark enough as it is.

Faithfulness

Disney’s The Three Little Pigs: Well you have Three Little Pigs, you have a wolf, you have three huts and you have the wolf failing to climb down the chimney. You even have reference to the apple-picking scene from earlier. The only thing that is out of place is the strange… Jewish(?) caricature, which I feel is missing a lot of social context in order to make sense, let alone be funny or racist. Other than that it sticks to the script.

Warner Bros’ Pigs in a Polka: Well it starts off being a parody of Fantasia and is set to different music, but on the whole tends to fit the story quite well until the end (where it gets all slapsticky). But once again, all of the elements are here and in play, with only the end being the main difference.

Winner: It’s hard to choose, but on the grounds of sticking ever so slightly to the original text, the winner of this round is The Three Little Pigs

Protagonist

Note for this I’m gonna use the Third Little Pig, since that’s the one who solves the main conflict of the plot.

The Three Little Pigs: He’s… okay. Nothing particularly amazing about him. He just scolds the other two pigs for slacking off and not working hard, before taking it on himself to actually solve the plot. He fills the roll he’s meant to, but I’d hardly say he’s memorable.

Pigs in a Polka: Again, not much to really say about this one, except that he has slightly more to do in this version of the tale. Not a lot more, but enough to make him a little bit more memorable to watch.

Winner: Pigs in a Polka walk away with the win, even though both characters don’t really have a lot going for them at the end of the day.

Antagonist

The Three Little Pigs: The Wolf… Look, I raved about him in my first blog in the series, and everything I said then is even more true here. He is just so fantastic, in look, in animation, in character. Everything about him works so well that he’s practically the definition of the ‘big bad wolf’. Need I really say more?

Pigs in a Polka: This version doesn’t do too badly, all things considered, but it’s clear a lot of his look was stolen from the Disney version. Aside from that he’s a pretty funny character, but not at all memorable. He’s a laugh, but not an icon.

Winner: Yeah, no contest, The Three Little Pigs walks away with a clear win here. The Wolf continues to be a mainstay in popular culture for a reason.

Side Characters

In this case, the first two Little Pigs.

The Three Little Pigs: A case could be made that the pigs look the same but act different, which is what sets them apart, but for me… Meh. I don’t think there’s enough there to keep me interested in what I’m watching. They’re harmless fun, but I don’t see the lasting appeal. And when compared to the Big Bad Wolf… Yeah, these characters stayed around, but I think that’s more due to lack of competition than anything else.

Pigs in a Polka: A lot of this short is a direct rip-off of the Disney version, but here the two pigs are given a little bit more to do. Sure, they’re less distinctive than their Disney counterparts, but they do more while on screen and have a bigger impact. I at least think they stick out in memory more, even if they are all identical.

Winner: Shouldn’t be a surprise considering out Protagonist round, Pigs in a Polka walk away with the win.

Visual Presentation

The Three Little Pigs: Every blog I’ve raved about Disney animation, and it’s the same case here. The animation is fantastic, simply fantastic. From how the characters move and act to the colour and the background… Just, watch it for yourself. There’s a reason why this won the Academy Award.

Pigs in a Polka: It’s okay. It’s serviceable. It’s nothing to write home about though. A lot of the visuals do work, and they do convey a story, but when compared to the competition they’re rather lacklustre.

Winner: Once again, Disney, and in particular The Three Little Pigs, walk away with another solid win. It really is a triumphant in animation.

Humour

The Three Little Pigs: Disney’s not one for humour, and I’m afraid the same is true here. The Wolf’s reactions are funny, but I don’t think they’re what makes this short stand-out. Likewise the pigs occasionally get a chuckle, but nothing that really makes me laugh out loud.

Pigs in a Polka: A riot from start to finish, the greatest strength of this short may be the fact that it’s set so well to the music at hand. That lends itself to some clever gags and funny jokes, which helps make it stand out as the funnier short in my mind.

Winner: Once again, Warner Bros, and in particular Pigs in a Polka, walk away with another solid win. It’s just a really funny short.

Film Factor

The Three Little Pigs: This short got ranked #11 in the Top 50 Cartoons of All Time and it’s not hard to see why. I mean this short is great, simply great. I can’t emphasise how much everyone should be going out and seeing this short.

Pigs in a Polka: This short is somewhat forgettable if it wasn’t so damn funny. I mean it really is quite funny in places. It has some great jokes and some great subtle jabs at Disney. It has some interesting characters and a brilliant connectivity with the music. It’s a very, very funny short.

Winner: … Ooh boy, talk about leaving the hardest decision right to the very end. Do I go with the historically revered one, or the one that made me laugh more? In the end, there was one joke that sealed it for me. One little background joke. Hanging on the wall of the Third Little Pig’s house were two portraits, both saying father: One was a string of sausages, the other was a leg of ham. For this decidedly morbid and wickedly funny joke, the win has to go to The Three Little Pigs.

Winner

With a score of 4-3, The Three Little Pigs shows us why it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. It really is that good.

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

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