Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Mickey Mouse in Third Wheel (2014) **½

TV-G, 4 min.
Director: Clay Morrow
Writers: Derek Dressler, Clay Morrow, Paul Rudish, Aaron Springer
Voices: Chris Diamantopoulos, Bill Farmer, Paul Rudish, Russi Taylor

I’m a big fan of the new set of Mickey Mouse shorts that Disney has produced as interstitials for its cartoon network programming. I’ve seen a few now, and they do a wonderful job recapturing the original spirit of the Mickey Mouse shorts originally created by Walt Disney himself. They’re more innocent than today’s cartoons, and yet they’re indelibly clever. They’re bright and vibrant. They’re never too loud and boisterous.  At 17 and counting, it seems the studio is also quite committed to them.

That being said, I wasn’t as impressed with their latest, a Valentine’s Day episode, as I have been with others. “Third Wheel” depicts a date between Mickey and Minnie that is crashed by Goofy. Of course, Goofy’s presence makes an intimate romantic interlude impossible for the mouse couple. It doesn’t help that Goofy doesn’t take hints; and when he does understand that Mickey wants some romance with Minnie, he makes things worse by trying to make them better.

Now, there’s nothing really wrong with the premise here, although it does seem a little worn. Goofy does border on becoming too loud and boisterous. I don’t know anything about the design teams on these shorts. Perhaps there is a new one for each episode, but it also seems as if Goofy’s design is getting a little out of hand. He’s almost unrecognizable at first. One of the refreshing aspects of this series are the simplified designs that bring the characters back to their origins. Goofy’s lines, however seem to be criss-crossing too much in the facial features.

Certainly, none of these concerns are enough to condemn the series, which promises to reinvigorate the classic Disney characters as viable modern commodities. It has great values and is for the most part wonderfully executed in the highest standards of Disney tradition. I can’t wait to see more.

Watch the entire short below.

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