The Terrytoons are oddly interesting, mainly for anybody wanting to see (generally) older cartoons made by lesser known and lower-budget studios. They are a mixed bag in quality, with some better than others, often with outstanding music and with some mild amusement and charm and variable in animation, characterisation and content.
'Codfish Balls' is one such cartoon. As with many early-period Terrytoons cartoons it is worth a look but doesn't have much that bowls one over, which is much better than it could easily have been for so early on. Unlike earlier Terrytoons cartoon, the print via which 'Codfish Balls' is available does not contain a silhouetted orchestra introduction and, at a guess, a US print rather than earlier French prints with German subtitles.
Its best asset is the music, which is incredible. It is so beautifully and cleverly orchestrated and arranged, is great fun to listen to and full of lively energy, doing so well with enhancing the action. The backgrounds are detailed enough and show a studio that were aiming for ambition and succeeding in some aspects.
Pacing is neither too hectic or dull, there is a natural charm and fun and the characters may not have significant development to them but are not annoying or personality deprived. Some of the synchronisation is pretty neat and there are more gags than the previous cartoons with a nice amusing absurdity.
However, the amount of detail that went into the backgrounds doesn't show as much in the character designs, which tend to be crude and simplistic. The story is not dull or incoherent but there is not much to it and what there is is formulaic, unremarkable stuff.
Other gags are bland and many are far too short. Other parts are a little too random and there are times where it gets on the wrong side of weird.
Overall, watchable if unexceptional. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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