Appropriately enough for a pair of films conceived as an attempt to curb flowering Nazi sentiments in WWII-era South America (I guess they thought garish colors and corny Donald Duck tantrums would win more fans than, say, Leni Riefenstahl), Saludos Amigos and its sequel (or, more accurately, expansion), The Three Caballeros, had a shelf life significantly shorter than that of your standard MRE. Together, they kicked off nearly a decade’s worth of anthology-based wastes of time and resources that all but derailed Disney’s manifest destiny to rewrite children’s dreams in the corporation’s own latently art deco, actively anti-twat image until Cinderella put the needle back on the record. (Uncle Walt, according to some biographers, couldn’t have cared less at this point; Fantasia‘s heroic failure to achieve Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs‘s instant pop-cultural canonization reportedly soured the titan’s taste for the feature-length format and turned him on, instead, to the idea of buying up cheap land and turning it into overpriced theme parks—and printing his own money in the process.)
Like most anthologies, Saludos Amigos, Three Caballeros, and the four portmanteau features that followed all wobble unevenly without ever matching the alternately heady and misguided highlights of Fantasia. That would be bad enough in itself, but the entire enterprise represented by the bookend films callously summarize South American culture. That too would be bad enough in itself, but then comes the distasteful realization that Disney, when making Saludos Amigos, thought South America could be handily summed up in 40 scant minutes, many of which are devoted to Goofy fucking it up north of the border. That also too would be bad enough in itself, were the follow-up, Three Caballeros (i.e. Disney’s chance to validate his already dubious proposition), not even more risible, featuring such opening credits as “Featuring Aurora Miranda of Brazil…Dora Luz of Mexico,” women who are at various points manhandled and mentally undressed, as is practically everyone else in the live-action cast, by Donald Duck. (Who knew the hot-tempered duck was nursing a scorching pair of huevos rancheros?) Though pleasantly carefree and occasionally batshit, the two films are sadly no more than footnotes. Call them Dispanic Fever.
You want further proof that the Disney brand doesn't really give a shit about these two films? Compare this disc with practically every other feature-length animation they've released. Compared to even the most problematic, like Robin Hood, the transfers on Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros are downright neglectful. Poor focus, washed out colors, and dirt practically caked on the print. Even the DVD menus suffer from major blocking. The sound is hollow, but par for the course on that count.
Apparently there is actually less here than there was on the films' first respective discs. All we have are two unspeakably boring "Backstage Disney" documentaries, mostly self-congratulatory with regard to the cultural conquistador job, and two shorts, one of which ("Don Donald," previously collected on a Donald Duck collection) easily outdoes the main features.
The menu buttons are shaped like sombreros. I trust I needn't say more.