Reviews of Polish Cartoons on DVD by Richard J. Brzostek

Zaczarowany Olowek

Enchanted Crayon Vol 1 (Zaczarowany Olowek)

What would you do if you had a pencil that would make everything you draw come to life? This is exactly what the magical world of "The Enchanted Crayon" (Zaczarowany Olowek) is about. It is a collection of six episodes of this classic Polish cartoon, in all running about an hour in length. Like many classic Polish cartoons, there is no dialogue, so everyone can understand what is going on.

"The Enchanted Crayon" is about a boy and his dog, who sometimes get into mild mischief. A gnome helps them out by replacing their pencil with a magic one that can make things come to life when they are drawn. Overall, this is a very cute collection of cartoons and is sure to be entertaining. For a place where dreams can come true, imagination can run wild, and anything is possible, "The Enchanted Crayon" is just what you were looking for, so pull up some chairs and enjoy the show.


Zaczarowany Olowek

Enchanted Crayon Vol 2 (Zaczarowany Olowek)

The adventures of a boy and his dog continue in "The Enchanted Crayon Volume 2" (Zaczarowany Olowek), with the magic pencil given to him by a little gnome. Whatever the boy draws with it on the wall or paper comes to life and helps him in times of need. Sometimes, once out of trouble, the gnome magically appears and switches the pencil back with a normal one.

"The Enchanted Crayon" is a very well known Polish cartoon, and is practically a classic. Like many of the most well known classic Polish cartoons, there is no dialogue, so language barriers are never an issue.

I like how this series of six episodes builds on each other and has some chronological sequence. The cartoon is sometimes funny, often silly, and always entertaining. Get ready for some fun with a series of cartoons about his seafaring adventures in "The Enchanted Crayon."


Przygody Myszki

Adventures of Little Mouse Vol 1 (Przygody Myszki)



"The Adventures of Little Mouse 1" the first volume, of a two volume set, of "Przygody Myszki" cartoons. This volume has six episodes of the Polish cartoon about a little mouse. They have no dialogue, so they are perfect for an international audience, as well as menu options in nine languages.

Someone is always trying to eat our little mouse or abuse her, but she wins out in the end. Although there are some adventures of cat and mouse, eat or be eaten, overall they are fairly peaceful cartoons. The stories are simple, but have some type of moral to them, such as helping others is the best thing to do and "what comes around goes around." This collection is cute and funny, so they are perfect for a relaxing afternoon of watching cartoons.


Przygody Myszki

Adventures of Little Mouse Vol 2 (Przygody Myszki)



"The Adventures of Little Mouse Volume 2" continues the fun with seven more episodes of our adventurous little mouse. The Polish title of this cartoon is "Przygody Myszki." Although this is a Polish cartoon, there is no dialogue, so language barriers are not an issue.

The main character is a little mouse that has troubles with some other animals living in the forest. Among her adventures, we see her making new friends and outwitting predators who would have her for dinner. These cartoons are cute, entertaining, and have universal appeal.


Bolek & Lolek

Bolek & Lolek, Vol. 2



"Bolek & Lolek 2" is the second collection of Bolek and Lolek cartoons made by Facets Video. The six episodes of this collection are from the "Bolek i Lolek Wyruszaja w Swiat" series. As with all Bolek and Lolek cartoons, there is no dialogue so everyone can enjoy these Polish cartoons.

Each episode in this set begins with Bolek and Lolek spinning a globe and ending up in a country it will be about. They travel the world and have fun adventures in places like Mexico, Argentina, Egypt and even the Caribbean. I am always on the lookout for proof of which one is Bolek and which one is Lolek. In one of the episodes in this set, they autographed their own photo, but inside each photo is the other one so it isn't conclusive.

Bolek and Lolek are full of imagination and they always have fun. This is a very entertaining collection of Bolek and Lolek cartoons worth watching. Unfortunately, the "Wyruszaja w Swiat" series has 18 episodes and between both Facets Video DVDs, we are still short six episodes.


Bolek and Lolek on Vacation

Bolek and Lolek on Vacation (1965-1966)

Bolek and Lolek (Bolek i Lolek) is one of the most popular Polish animated cartoons. Bolek and Lolek are known throughout the world, as they have a universal appeal with most of the cartoons being free of dialogue. With some 150 episodes of Bolek and Lolek and a number of various series, which were made in 1963 to 1986, it is no wonder they have kept audiences entertained throughout the years.

This set has the first seven episodes of the series "Bolek i Lolek na wakacjach" (Bolek and Lolek on Vacation). The rest of this series in on part two (there are thirteen episodes in this series in all). The episodes on this set include:
1) "Pierwszy Dzien Wakacja" (First Day of Holidays)
2) "Klusownik" (The Poacher)
3) "Zyrafa" (The Giraffe)
4) "Przygoda w Pustyni" (Adventure in the Desert)
5) "Skarab" (The Treasure)
6) "Autostopowicze" (The Hitch-Hikers)
7) "Morska Przygoda" (The Sea Adventure)

This series has no dialogue, but makes up for it with music and sound effects. In this series, each episode starts with them traveling by train to their next adventure and often ends up with them back on the train going to their next destination (the first episode sets the stage). My favorite episode was "Skarab" in which Bolek and Lolek go deep into a mine looking for a treasure after hearing the story of an old highlander. I thought the funniest episode was "Autostopowicze" in which Bolek and Lolek try hitch-hiking and try using an unusual way to get noticed by the passing cars.

Bolek and Lolek tease and fight with eachother fairly often, as brothers sometimes do, but always make up quickly. They are adventurious and enjoy finding their own fun in any situation; they are imiginative and create their own escapades; although they are a little mischivious at times, they are also helpful and considerate to others; but most of all, they are very funny.


Bolek and Lolek Are Camping

Bolek and Lolek Are Camping (1965-1966)



This set has the remaining six episodes of the "Bolek i Lolek na wakacjach" (Bolek and Lolek on Vacation) series. Although the DVD title says "going camping part two," it really is the rest of the "on vacation" series. These episodes conclude the second Bolek and Lolek series and were made in 1965-1966. The episodes include:
1) "Luna-Park" (Amusement Park)
2) "Grzybobranie" (Mushroom Hunting)
3) "Strzelba I Wedka" (The Rifle and the Fishing Rod)
4) "Falszywy Dziadek" (The Fasle Grandfather)
5) "Zabawa w Rycerza" (The Knight Game)
6) "Na Biawaku" (Camping)

None of these episodes have dialogue, but makes up for it with music and sound effects. Each episode in this series starts with them traveling by train to their next adventure and often ends up with them back on the train going to their next destination. My favorite episode on this DVD is "Grzybobranie" in which Bolek and Lolek go pick mushrooms in the forrest, but end up finding a German helmet, an old bunker, and several hand gernades. Although most of these cartoons are light on any moral lessons, this one showed the dangers of finding artifacts from the war.

As a bonus, we have one episode from the "Bolek i Lolek Wyruszaja w Swiat" (Bolek and Lolek travel the world) series as the seventh episode on this DVD. This episode is called "W Krainie 1001 Nocy" (In the Land of 1001 Nights). This series brings Bolek and Lolek to very colorful locations and amazing adventures.

Bolek and Lolek (Bolek i Lolek) are very popular Polish cartoons and have fans throughout the world. The Studio Filmow Rysunkowych in Bielsku-Biala, which made very many of the most popular Polish cartoons, produced Bolek and Lolek. Although Bolek and Lolek fight and tease with eachother fairly often, they always make up quickly; they find adventures and fun in every situation, even if they have to use their imigination to create it; they can be a little mischivious at times, but also go out of their way to help others in need; but most of all, they bring us a lot of amusement.


Bolek and Lolek in the Wild West (1972)



Bolek and Lolek is one of Poland's most popular and well-known cartoons. This DVD is the third collection of Bolek and Lolek cartoons released by MGE. It has all seven episodes of the Bolek and Lolek in the Wild West (Bolek i Lolek na Dzikim Zachodzie) series made in 1972.

As always, Bolek and Lolek are funny and entertaining but this time the story is just in the Wild West. The sheriff has a bad habit of falling asleep all day giving the outlaw Jimmy Pif-Paf time to escape from jail and cause trouble. We get to see our favorite duo help the sheriff catch Pif-Paf and save the day.

Bolek and Lolek in the Wild West is a fun collection of cartoons. Although this series was made over 25 years ago, its excitement is timeless and the adventures Bolek and Lolek get into are always amusing. There is no dialogue but plenty of sound effects so these cartoons are understandable by all people.




Curley Hair Teddy Bear: Adventures in the Forrest (Mis Kudlatek Przygoda w Lesie)



Mis Kudlatek Przygoda w Lesie (Curley Hair Teddy Bear: Adventures in the Forrest) is a collection of seven Mis Kudlatek cartoons. Even though it is kid's cartoon, I think it has a lot of funny parts and I really enjoyed it.

Mis Kudlatek is the name of a teddy bear that can talk and he gets into all sorts of mischief. A girl named Agnieszka owns Kudlatek and she also has a dog that tries to help keep an eye on him. Kudlatek makes new friends and has fun wherever he goes, and whatever he is doing always turns into an adventure.

The cartoon is in Polish (there are no subtitles option on this DVD) so a basic understanding of the language is needed, but as it is a children's cartoon the vocabulary isn't too difficult. Like the other classic Polish cartoons MGE has on DVD, this collection runs about one hour. Mis Kudlatek is a cute cartoon that is entertaining and funny.


Curly Hair Teddy Bear: Colorful Mischief (Mis Kudlatek Kolorowe Psoty)



Mis Kudlatek Kolorowe Psoty (Curly Hair Teddy Bear: Colorful Mischief) is a collection of six cartoons and runs a little under and hour in all. Mis Kudlatek is a Polish cartoon that has dialogue, so a basic understanding of the language is needed, as there are no subtitles.

The cartoon is about a teddy bear named Kudlatek. He can talk and even likes to eat honey. A girl named Agnieszka owns him. Agnieszka also has a dog named Waczatek; she has Waczatek keep an eye on Kudlatek because he is always getting into trouble. Kudlatek doesn’t mean to cause mischief but is a little rascal so it happens naturally. Kudlatek does learn his lesson from his mistakes so it all works out in the end.

The way Kudlatek talks and what he says is really funny. Kudlatek reminds me a little of the bear in the Wlatcy Moch movie. Mis Kudlatek is an imaginative cartoon and great for kids.


Please, Mr. Elephant (Prosze Slonia)



Prosze Slonia (Please, Mr. Elephant) is a story about a boy (Pinio) that wants to have a pet, but his parents will not let him. In his attic, Pinio finds a small porcelain elephant named Dominik. Because Pinio does not like to take his vitamins, he gives them to the porcelain elephant. However, the elephant grew and grew as he got more vitamins, until he no longer fit in the house. The escapades of Pinio and Dominik that follow are very funny and entertaining.

This cartoon is in Polish (there are no subtitles), and is 67 minutes in length.


Porwanie Baltazara Gabki (Kidnaping of Baltazar Sponge) (1969-1970)



Porwanie Baltazara Gabki (Kidnaping of Baltazar Sponge) a collection of 13 cartoons made in 1969-1970. The story begins in Krakow and the King asks the Dragon and his Cook to look for the Professor because he stopped sending messages to the King. The story goes in order and each one starts more or less where the last one left off.

There is a colorful cast of characters in this series. Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski) is one of the heroes of the show using his strength and wits to overcome the obstacles. The Dragon has a funny laugh and it will be hard to resist not copying it. Bartlomiej Bartiolini is cook and knight sent by the King to help the Dragon. Bartlomiej is known for saying "Mama Mia!" The journey of our two heroes is not without trouble as Don Pedro, a spy from Always Raining Land that is fond of saying "caramba," follows them.

Porwanie Baltazara Gabki is a Polish cartoon with dialogue (no subtitles). Although spoken in Polish, it is mostly simple language and said slowly so a basic understanding of Polish should be enough to get it.




Antologia polskiej animacji (Anthology of Polish Animated Film)



Antologia Polskiej Animacji (Anthology of Polish Animated Film) is a collection of animation that is very different and certainly isn't for kids. I am very impressed with the creativity and how imaginative the animation in this collection is. There are no bounds in the format of the animation as some mix photography and video with more traditional mediums such as drawings and paints.

A lot of the animations in this set will most appeal to those who like artistic things. They are all visual artwork in themselves. In addition to being a feast in the visual sense, they also have great music that assists in conveying their messages. While some of the films have a deeper meaning or make a commentary on life, others are just entertaining and fun. Interestingly enough, most of them do not have any dialogue.

Most of films have very weird things in them that will make your strangest dreams look normal in comparison. We are brought into bizarre worlds in which reality has no bounds and are unquestionably unusual. The originality is such that the unexpected is to be expected. They have a quality about them that is ahead of their time or perhaps timeless.




Antologia polskiej animacji eksperymentalnej (The Anthology of Polish Experimental Animation)



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Antologia polskiej animacji dla dzieci (The Anthology of Polish Children's Animation)



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Daniel Szczechura - polska animacja (Daniel Szczechura - Polish Animation)



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Akcja Animacja (Action Animation)



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The Cathedral (2003)

Director: Tomek Baginski;

Polish animation has gone a long way from the days of "Bolek and Lolek." Tomek Baginski brings it to a new level with computer animation in his film "The Cathedral." The cartoon, running seven minutes in length, is about a man who discovers a cathedral. Once inside, however, he finds something unexpected. The simple storyline is complimented well with the great computer animation, with most of it being life-like.

"The Cathedral" has no dialogue, giving it universal appeal and sharing something in common with classic Polish animation. "The Catherdral" has an interesting story and impressive special effects. Considering how appealing this film is, I am looking forward to Baginski's future work.






Mis Fantazy

Mis Fantazy (Fantazy the Bear) (2006-2007)

Director: Robert Turlo;

Mis Fantazy (Fantazy the Bear) is a Polish animated series that the whole family, especially children, will enjoy. Like many Polish cartoon series, Mis Fantazy has 13 episodes (in this case, each episode is about 13 minutes long). Although each episode is relatively short in length, they take on such grand adventures and show us such spectacular places that Mis Fantazy will capture the imagination of young and old.

Each episode starts out with a young girl named Julka playing a flute in her bedroom and we see the various characters and landmarks that make up the series as toys in her room. In the world with a little bit of fantasy, adventure awaits us. Julka's blue bear, which she ends up naming Fantazy, are the heroes of the show. They are also friends with Prospero the Wizard, Wesolek the bug, Kapa Kapa the Frog and Zagadka the fortune telling elf-like girl. Although the island they live on is a peaceful paradise, they face an obstacle, opponent or even villain in each episode. They travel to several other islands, even dimensions, leaving their sunny country for a while.

While my two-year-old son loves this cartoon, I am sure those that are a bit older like myself, will also find Mis Fantazy exceptional. This series was made in 2006-2007 and has great animation. The characters look normal enough, but with the use of life-like objects and backgrounds (such as trees), everything really stands out. The life-like objects are blended into the animation so well that they don’t look unusual. So between the great stories, beautiful animation and fabulous music, Mis Fantazy has it all.


Wlatcy Moch: Cmoki, czopki i mondzioly (Lorts of the Flys) (2009)

Director: Bartek Kedzierski;

Lorts of the Flys (Wlatcy Moch: Cmoki, czopki i mondzioly) is a cartoon intended for adults. Wlatcy Moch is a very popular cartoon TV series in Poland and this is their first feature film. The movie introduces the charters so you don't have to be familiar with the TV series. The animation is crudely drawn but has a unique style.

It has a great cast of characters that are likeable and funny. There are four kids are that very good friends. One of them is a zombie named Czesio, but no one seems to notice he is a zombie. Czesio even lives in a cemetery but that doesn't make them think he is any different. There are two more undead in the cemetery, Marcel and the Colonel. The Colonel was in the war and is one of my favorite characters. There are also four teddy bears that can talk, with Sweary Bear being the most funny of the bunch with his constant swearing. At school, there is the teacher, the school nurse, and of course the princess of the class Angelika. Angelika likes to use English words mixed in with her Polish very often, which is pretty funny.

The kids had to write a paper for school describing what they wanted to do when they grew up. Seems like an innocent enough of an assignment, but when they go to a fortuneteller gypsy, they see their future in the crystal ball. They are not at all happy with it because their lives look too much like the way their parents act. Their solution is to not grow up and stay in the second grade forever. They come up with crazy schemes to try to achieve their goal.

This is a movie you can watch again and again, laughing at the jokes each time. I love the airplane scene when the bears are going to China and experience turbulence. The series also has a truly Polish angle to it that makes it special. The language used and some of the situations in the cartoon are totally inappropriate for children. And if you see things misspelled in the movie, those are intentional.


Gwiazda Kopernika

Gwiazda Kopernika: Jak wstrzymal slonce i ruszyl ziemie? (2009)

Directors: Zdzislaw Kudla, Andrzej Orzechowski;

Gwiazda Kopernika is an animated feature film about Nicolas Copernicus, one of the most famous Poles that ever lived. Copernicus was an astronomer and mathematician that changed the world with his idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe and that the Earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around.

This is a great movie for the whole family. My kids and I were very entertained with this film as it has two levels of humor. There are the simple funny things that will make kids laugh out loud when they see them and there is the more sophisticated humor that the kids don't get but the adults will enjoy.

This cartoon is fabulous because it makes history and culture appealing to kids. Creating a story about a scholar that goes to universities to study and discusses intellectual things in an interesting way is no easy feat. There are also a few dilemmas and obstacles. Copernicus is faced with learning about astronomy or astrology, as an alchemist tries to persuade Copernicus to join him on his quest to discover the philosopher's stone. Copernicus also falls in love with a girl, but the alchemist challenges his fate with her. The whole story isn't strictly factual, as it also mixes in some magic such as a reoccurring dream Copernicus has showing him as a boy riding a chariot in the sky along with his father.

One thing I really like about this movie is that it reminds us that people of the day think they are so smart, but really have something wrong about what they think is the truth. In every age, people look back at those that came before them and think they were somehow backwards in some of their thinking, never realizing future generations will think the same about them. Yes, even today people think they now have everything figured out and are so much wiser than those that came before them. At least some of us know better. And who knows, some ideas of the past that are dismissed by scholars today just might turn out to be true as well.


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