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Comments by Soren
Another one of the great masterpieces of Disney's animation, and animation in general. If you put together Mickey, Donald and Goofy, you will surely got one of the greatest comedy possible, along with geniuses like Chaplin, Keaton, or Laurel & Hardy. As always in the trio shorts, every one got their little gags alone. Donald here is amazing, and his is the best solo gag in the short. But in the end the stars are more Mickey and Goofy; Mickey with the stock is funny since you can see both his good manners and his persistence, while Goofy is at his best with the bell; but the last part of the short is one of the most hilarious sequences ever made in these shorts: a terrified Mickey trying to help a totally unaware Goofy in dangerous. This is the perfect interaction between these two characters, both at the best of their comedy here.
The greatest thing about this first Mickey short is that it has nothing to envy to later outcomes. The look of the character is rough, obviously; but the animation is fantastic, especially the POV from the plane. Great great stuff. In this short more than other we can see how much Mickey's personality changed over the years: here is at his most bratty and mischievous, even if always a good boy. It is funny, but I disagree with people who claim this Mickey is the most interesting. I think the gentle but funny Mickey of the 30s and 40s (50s one is horrible) is a better, more complex character: Mickey Mouse is the Charlie Chaplin of animation; not a borderline personality, but complex, touching and funny: like Chaplin's Tramp he's so human you laugh at him and his trouble like a friend, but you never stop rooting for him when he's suffering. You could never create all those emotions at the same time with a more extreme character.
This short is just Mickey playing a violin. And you know what? It is incredibly entertaining! It's all about Mickey expressiveness; in fact that's one of those short that could have worked only with Mickey, his attitude, his good will and commitment. Mickey being moved by his own song always makes me laugh. Great atmosphere and animation of Mickey's shadow.
The Band Concert
What can be said that has not been said? This is not only a milestone short, but it's the perfect cartoon, for look, animation, entertainment, and characters personality. Mickey and Donald are at their best, perfectly balancing each other(a reason why Donald and Goofy alone shorts didn't work so well): Mickey's total commitment and demanded professionalism is constantly destroyed by a wonderfully irritating Donald; and their personality animation his fantastic too: Mickey with his clumsy acting and desperate facial expressions, and Donald with his smug and cocky behavior, managing to frustrate Mickey more and more. And obviously, the marvelous tornado scene: so many characters, each of them with their moment and gags, keeping playing despite the devastation around them, in an increasingly fast paced, hysterical scene, with a great finale. A masterpiece not only in animation, but in the world cinema.
Mickey's Service Station
The first short of the "Fab Three" is wonderful, and it's great that we have at least one black&white cartoon of them working together. Some people (included Leonard Maltin, a cartoon lover, but never an expert -like most of the critics) said that Mickey Mouse here showed animators problem to find him gags. Well, I strongly disagree with this view that many people like to follow (I know it's the internet era, and everyone simply follows the most famous opinion around). I understand it's difficult to see to simple viewers but it's pretty simple: What makes Donald funny are his reactions to situations with rage and frustration: he is usually the cause of his own problems. What makes Goofy funny is his random and clumsy approach: the great fun is not what happens to him, but the silliness of how he's gone there. What makes Mickey funny (let's remember he's an old-school character) is what happens to him, thanks to his full expressiveness: it's about his easy-going and committed approach: when something happens to Mickey you don't see it coming, just like him, and he reacts the best he can (which is often incompetence) . So, aggressive gags like Donald ones are not that needed with Mickey; to be funny he even needs a simple, old school situation to try his best, as it's always been.
At this point the formula of the characters doing various job was going dry, but Donald and Goofy are two geniuses of comedy, and they would manage to make anything funny. Anyway, in these D&G shorts it's impossible not to feel Mickey is missing; Donald and Goofy alone doesn't compute. They are funny for sure, but as a couple they are too predictable: the stupid clumsy one with the irascible one; as a dynamic it's too linear and too banal, if there's no Mickey trying to fix things with them(and failing with them, obviously). The figure of the good old Mickey gives this kind of shorts more credibility, like there is a reason they would keep trying to work, despite the trio's ineptitude.
The Little Whirlwind
That's a great Mickey Mouse short. It's one of those cartoons where you can clearly see the contribution of Mickey as a character. In many Mickey's shorts people keep saying that having Donald in his place would have made it funnier, because Donald has more exaggerated reactions; but it's a very superficial statement. Donald's funny reactions are "limited" to his anger and frustration(and he's a comedy genius for that, no doubt about it), but Mickey gives more dimensions to this kind of situations. You will never root for Donald like you do for Mickey, cause Donald is usually the cause of his own frustration, and he often deserves it: that's why you laugh; Mickey instead has the best intentions and tries to do his best: his laid back approach and his surprised reactions to the failure make the situation funny in another kind of way. That's why I think this particular short is better with Mickey than any other character.
A truly great Mickey Mouse short, and one of my favorite ever. I always thought Mickey is a great character that doesn't need a supporting cast to shine: this short is a perfect example. The unique characteristic that other characters don't have is Mickey's humanity: his sincere expressiveness and his wide range of emotions. Some said Donald in this short would have made it funnier, but my point is that he just would have made it different: Donald has a bad character so he would have been frustrated since the beginning, and he would have reacted to the kids chaos with more and more rage and frustration. That's funny for sure. But what makes Mickey's reactions funny in these situations, is his good will, is the fact he sincerely tries to do his best and ingenuously believe to make it. He really manages to make people root for him, and identify with him; that's why is so funny to see his terrified, desperate reactions to problems that he tries to handle with positivism and commitment. This short in particular is perfect since it's about little children, so Mickey's gentle attitude is ideal for an apparently sweet situation like this, that soon becomes a total devastation.
Mickey's Good Deed
One of the best Disney's cartoon ever made. The always committed Mickey -a lovable loser with an easy-going, optimistic personality-, is the perfect vehicle for a story full of emotions. Mickey's acting is at his best, making you feel his positivism despite the poverty, and giving you the spirit of Christmas right through your bones (without being saccharine). It's incredible how wonderfully directed is the short, with so many situations and powerful emotions; it almost feels like a movie. Despite the beautiful dramatic atmosphere there are many funny gags too, typical of that time, and great acting from the supporting characters, like Pluto or the spoiled (odious) child.
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