- Directed by the legendary Chuck Jones
- Narrator-Roddy McDowall
- Mackah-June Foray
A young and unusually colored white seal searches the seas for a place where his kind will be safe from hunters.
Back in the day when schools had film projectors and film reels and teachers decided to take a little time off during the school hour, films such as The White Seal would be popped on. The days they would wheel out the projector felt like something special. This was a particular favorite of mine so much so that I still recall the trauma I felt the day the strip broke.
I was aware of Roddy McDowall and Chuck Jones well before ever seeing this and so they had a connection to screen quality for me. I just knew I was going to get something good. Roddy McDowall was, well, Roddy McDowall and connected to so many things I loved at the time. Chuck Jones was the mind behind so much of what I loved on Saturday mornings.
The animation, sound, and music are a product of their time. And that is a good thing. During the 70s and 80s, the action and adventure cartoon was perfected. They were rousing, fun stories that left you satisfied. This is just that.
Well not just that. The White Seal also has wrapped in it an environmental message against hunting and over hunting. It made quite the impression on my young mind because to this day I abhor the thought of hunting seals. That is among the more heinous things that one can do.
Taking place in the Bering Sea, his strange white seal named Kotick lives an idyllic life for a seal and is spurred on his journey when he first encounters seal hunters. They are something he has heard of but has never encountered and is horrified by what he sees. Like a specter he confronts them and they flee in terror but they will return perhaps in greater numbers.
And so our heroic Kotick begins the search of the seas for a near mythical sea cow who will lead him and his people to a safe haven. This is a story about seeing a wrong and taking responsibility. Kotick had been in blissful ignorance about the ways of things and treating the threat of seal hunters more as a boogeyman story than as anything real. It is a cute story that is light despite its serious nature at the core.
Chuck Jones was a master of his craft and that is on full display here. He knew exactly what he was doing and how to get what he wanted. He is known for his comedic shorts but this along with some other stuff that he came out with at the time proved he had the potential for a much greater range that was still family friendly. We do not have the same type of creative minds available today. Perhaps it is because nobody produces the animated shorts that were done when Chuck Jones came up that preceded many films. Maybe they should be brought back to spur creativity.
My particular copy of The White Seal came from a discount retailer. It was released by Lionsgate Entertainment and Artisan. Whether it is still available or not I do not know. I am not even sure where it might be available for streaming. My suggestion is to scour eBay and wherever you may purchase videos from and see if it is available. It was included in something called The Chuck Jones Collection. You will not regret purchasing this.
The White Seal is a family friendly film that is aimed more at children than it is at adults. That does not mean an adult cannot enjoy but I think the kids will like it more. No bouncy songs but there are cute characters.
The White Seal is a very good short film. It was helmed by a master animator with a great thespian and is an example of quality family friendly storytelling. Bring your kids in with you and watch it.