Cartoon Roots: Halloween Haunts is a Blu-Ray/DVD anthology of short films from 1907 to 1948. All feature animation, and many feature live action mixed with animation. They are unrated and appropriate for most ages.
Restoration. Some of these films are 110 years old, so it is really incredible to see them looking this good. Considering the projection technology that existed when these were first created and shown, they may look better than they ever have. I really have to hand it to Tommy Jose Slathés' Cartoons on Film for preserving and presenting these treasures.
Innovation. One of my favorite things about early film is how creative and innovative the early filmmakers were. This was all new with no real precedents, and the animators were a lot of young kids with wild ideas, so they were really free to experiment and fail. I don't think we'll ever see such an era again.
History. Included with this set is a booklet with background information on the shorts that is fascinating and helps put them in perspective.
Three Felix the Cat Cartoons. I love Felix the Cat. His early cartoons are still some of the most original, fun, feisty, and original adventures I've ever seen or read. I think he could be a big hit today if a filmmaker would go back to his roots and make something that daring, bold, and irreverent. And we get THREE cartoons on this set. Granted, one is a mediocre color cartoon that lacked the feistiness of early shorts, but it was still fun.
Mundane Selections. Not every film that has ever been made is a classic and deserves to be viewed or preserved. There are a few examples on this set.
No Real Special Features. This definitely targeted to a small and specific audience. While we love these old films and a beautiful presentation of them, we also love the story behind them. It's a shame there weren't more special features beyond a few newspaper clippings on the DVD and a small booklet with a little background information.
What I Would Like to Have Seen
Honestly, this set is everything I could hope for when I first saw it advertised. I've purchased several sets like this in the past and have always been disappointed in them. This one I was truly pleased with. My only minor gripe is a documentary about the films would have been nice. A lot of the work has already been done on the Cartoon Research website.
Cartoon Roots: Halloween Haunts is a true treat. The short films are beautifully restored. Most feature amazing, innovative techniques and original storytelling. And THREE Felix the Cat cartoons! Does it get better than that? I give it 4 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.