Monday, April 21, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Get a Horse! (2013) ****

G, 6 min.
Director: Lauren MacMullan
Writers: Paul Briggs, Nancy Kruse, Lauren MacMullan, Raymond S. Persi
Voices: Walt Disney, Marcellite Garner, Russi Taylor, Billy Bletcher, Will Ryan

Since I never saw “Frozen” until this past week, I also never got a chance to see the Academy Award nominated short that accompanied it in theaters. Although I hadn’t seen it, I thought for sure the Academy would award Disney for going back to their roots with this retro-transformation animation that involves an classic style Mickey Mouse cartoon come to life in the new CGI world of animation through a clever plot that pits Mickey against his old nemesis Peg-Leg Pete, who is eventually thwarted when Mickey and his pals quite literally break the fourth wall to enter the modern world and used Pete’s mere two dimensions against him. I was wrong, but they could’ve.

The movie is Walt Disney’s first voice credit in 58 years, which is quite remarkable since he’s been dead nearly as long. The filmmakers used voice elements from Disney’s body of work voicing Mickey to create Mickey’s dialogue. The original voice artists for Minnie Mouse and Peg-Leg Pete also reprise their roles through the same process, although a few bits are added by modern voice over artists to fill out their dialogue. This production also marks the first sole female directing credit on a Disney production.

Disney has been putting a lot of work into their classic characters of late, keeping them alive and relevant in a day and age when animation character population is exploding. There’s been a great emphasis placed on replicating the classic style of these original Disney characters as well. I can’t be happier for it. It’s wonderful to see these characters still speak to audiences, and they can do it in an animation style that was once thought to be obsolete. The brilliance of this particular cartoon is the way it combines its modern elements with the classic ones.

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