Mickey Mouse is back. Whether this is the reinvention that Disney execs promised years ago remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Disney’s most famous character is going to be a star yet again. Mickey’s returning to his roots, in a series of animated shorts to debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Online this June. Entertainment Weekly has the details.
Disney Television Animation has been hard at work creating 19 new shorts starring the famous mouse, his girlfriend Minnie, and surely many of his other most popular cohorts, all to reintroduce Mickey to fans young and old. The series won’t premiere until June 28, but we don’t have to wait that long to get a taste of what they’ll be like.
Disney has posted the first of the shorts, “Croissant de Triomphe,” online for viewing right now. It’s is adorable. It’s drawn in a fantastic throwback 2D hand drawn style, complete with the classic title page, but there are plenty of modern elements to it as well.
As Mickey races around Paris on his scooter, the soundtrack is reminiscent of 70s television cop car chase scenes. Sound effects are splattered on the screen, comic book style, and there’s one scene that’s definitely reminiscent of popular video game “Mario Kart.” Also look out for a fabulous cameo by some other famous Disney characters.
I’m a little disappointed that Minnie still has such a passive role in this short – she’s still waiting on Mickey to save the day – but it’s just the first of the series, so maybe she’ll get more development in the future. The positive thing is that she’s running her own restaurant, and for once, Mickey isn’t called in to save her from danger (or is the one harassing her in the first place).
My favorite thing about the short, however, is that it’s all in French. Most of the vocabulary is simplistic, full of words that are the same in English as in French (croissant, omelet, soufflé), but despite my high school French, I couldn’t identify everything the characters were saying. It’s not necessary to recognize all of the dialog, however, in order to enjoy the short, and I like that kids are being exposed to another language in such a simple, no-frills way.
I’m curious about what the potential success of these Mickey shorts will mean for Disney Animation as a whole. A few weeks ago, Disney Animation – the movie division – made a stunning announcement: it might be quitting 2D animation. It doesn’t have any hand drawn movies currently planned, which means the studio is done with them for the indefinite future. 2D interns are still being hired, however, so there is hope that the division could still be restarted at some point.
The announcement of this 2D Mickey Mouse series on the heels of the shocker movie announcement is definitely a balm. I wouldn’t be surprised if the timing of the Mickey Mouse cartoon reveal was orchestrated to work out that way. Perhaps if the shorts do well enough, execs at Disney Animation will reconsider their movie-related decision.
Until then, let’s just sit back and enjoy “Croissant de Triomphe.”
*(The above image by Laram777 is licensed by the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License).