Friday, Jun 28, 2013
by Ned Wazowski
The Return of Mickey Mouse
Mickey gets his groove back in a series of new shorts that premiere today.
Mickey Mouse returns to screens today in a brand new series of shorts that reminds us why the world fell in love with him in the first place.
It’s easy to forget that Mickey Mouse was once cool. His name on a marquee might only have referred to seven minutes of an animated short, but it sold tickets. “What, no Mickey Mouse?” was the cry of angry disbelief when cinema-goers discovered that the day’s feature didn’t include their favorite character, and the phrase entered the vernacular as a synonym for any kind of disappointment.
When he first premiered 85 years ago, Mickey Mouse was mischievous and a bit of a trouble-maker. He was flawed and made mistakes, but he had a plucky, can-do attitude that made audiences want to root for him. What’s more, he was funny – he was a comedian, not just the straight man.
Somewhere along the way, Mickey Mouse lost his cool. He played the good guy so many times that he became typecast as the staid and boring safe guy who never took any risks. He drifted into the background as short-fused Donald, dim-witted Goofy and scheming Chip and Dale got all the laughs. Mickey settled into boring middle age.
But now Mickey Mouse is back, and he seems to have got his mojo back. In the series of 19 shorts, simply titled Mickey Mouse, he shrugs off his dull, corporate persona and it not afraid to be a bit of a rascal. In the clips that have surfaced already, he’s shown teasing Donald, flirting with Minnie and Daisy and even streaking naked down the boardwalk.
The new shorts will air on the Disney Channel (the first two this weekend, the rest will air on Fridays starting July 5th), and the production has brought together some of the best and brightest working in television animation today. Emmy Award-winning artist and director Paul Rudish (Dexter’s Laboratory, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Samurai Jack) is the Executive Producer and Director. Other directors include Aaron Springer (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Clayton Morrow (Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls).
The three-and-a-half minute shorts are a return to 2D animation, with character design and a loose animation style heavily influenced by the 1930s and with backgrounds that harken back to Mary Blair illustrations of the 1950s and 60s. And yet – the new shorts feel so fresh.
Mickey Mouse hasn’t starred in a short since 1953’s The Simple Things, but it looks like this is going to be his year. Another Mickey Mouse short, Get a Horse! (not related to this series for TV), will get a theatrical release later this year. It’s been a while, but welcome back Mickey Mouse. It’s good to see you again.
This giclée of the 1986 Roger Believe cover of Well Being (Benessere) is part of...