Friday, March 15, 2013

Slipping a Mickey

Was I drugged?  Did I really see that, or was that a weird dream?  Someone took the iconic Mickey Mouse and made a far out looking short - with Disney's backing!  Huh?  Whu?
Sacre merde!  Un nouvelle conception de Mickey!  Voyez-le ici.
Unless your internet has been down, you have probably at least heard about the new Mickey short released on the internet.  The blogosphere has been buzzing about it.  The wondrous part of the internet is its ability to capture one's knee-jerk reaction as public record.  My own knee-jerk reaction was smile, smile, wince, smile, lose interest, and that's not Mickey.  There.  Public record.  You can nod in agreement or gnash your teeth.  

Like it, hate it, or think, "Meh." this short does something no Mickey short in 60 years has done - it makes an impact.  Someone actually did something different with him - that someone being Paul Rudish.  Hats off for that.  It also has Walt and Fred Moore spinning in their graves.  Maybe this explains my mixed feelings, or maybe its just that it runs out of gas half way through.

After the initial impact of the design, I'm left waiting for some character animation to arrive.  It doesn't, but not for lack of opportunity.  The short gets burdened down by "cartoon stuff" - clever, wacky, or indulgent business that doesn't reveal character or promote the story.  It's just stuff.  The whole chasing around Paris bit....stuff.  Had there been a rival after the croissants as well - like Pete - then the chase could have been character driven (no pun intended).  And chase scenes are like drum solos - they lose impact the longer they go.  When Mickey rides off on the goat, time for Gene Krupa to cue the band back in.

From a business standpoint, I think it's a brilliant move.  Disney's been playing with Mickey's design in their merchandising for several years now, so why not do it with films?  And to step so far away from the classic design frees the filmmakers from the constraints of working with the crown jewels.  I've animated Mickey - I know how daunting this can be.

It's not a bad start, and I look forward to the next one.  Good luck guys, and please lay off the "stuff".

PS:  Eat yer hearts out......

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