Disney may be turning away from hand-drawn animation for feature-length films in favour of 3D CGI, but it has just announced a series of nineteen 2D shorts with a distincitvely retro look. Not only that, but the new shorts will feature the studio’s classic characters –Mickey Mouse, girlfriend Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, etc. – in a distinctively retro look. Based on the first one, Croissant de Triomphe, which has been released online, the style should really work well.
Mickey in particular just doesn’t work in 3D, despite preschool channel Playhouse Disney trying its best, as well as videogame Disney Epic Mickey. The insistence on Mickey’s ears always appearing round and a particular distance apart often results in them gliding over the 3D model’s head whenever he turns. This 2D style, in comparison, looks gorgeous – although it does take some other liberties with the character designs.
I can’t wait for the other eighteen, which will start to premiere over the summer.
Back when I was growing up, the weekly Mickey Mouse comics by IPC Magazines were a constant companion. While my sister was reading Bunty and Judy, I was getting lost in a world where Scrooge McDuck was either swimming through his piles of gold coins, or protecting them from being stolen by the incompetent Beagle Boys; where Huey, Dewey and Louie were forever trying to get extra Junior Woodchuck badges; and where I would see comic strip adaptations of the summer Disney releases from Pete’s Dragon to Candleshoe before the films themselves had even hit these shores.
The bulk of each issue consisted of a number of short strips, reprinted from various US and European sources, which included some characters who were born from Mickey Mouse’s back catalgoue of shorts from 1929’s Plane Crazy onwards. As a result, the likes of Clara Cluck, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow were characters that I knew well. They may not have been as close to my heart as the likes of Mickey, Pluto, Donald and Goofy, but they were never far away.
As far as the public at large goes, though, I suspect that many of the peripheral characters have long since been forgotten. And that’s part of the premise of the new Nintendo Wii game, Disney Epic Mickey (Wii).
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