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The story of the short is that a friend has sent Mickey a kangaroo. The question of why Mickey has friends in Australia and why that person would think to send him a kangaroo will remain one of the mysteries of the Disney imagination. The kangaroo is a boxing kangaroo, and between Hoppy the kangaroo and its offspring, they do a number on Mickey and Pluto.
What was more interesting to me, though, was watching Mickey in this short. As I mentioned, the short opens with a box containing the kangaroo arriving in the mail. Mickey reads the tag that says his address is Hollywood. This is not the first time Mickey has been identified as living in Hollywood, but it is odd when looking at the rest of the short.
The rest of the short is set in a barnyard setting. It’s sort of a throwback in that regard. Pluto runs into a chicken coop, Mickey boxes the kangaroo in a barn, and there is livestock all over the place. That seems a little off when thinking of living in Hollywood, even in 1935.
So we see Mickey in transition from his barnyard days to the life of a Hollywood star. But also, as we’ve seen in recent shorts, he’s moving away from being the center of attention. This short is really more about Pluto, and his character makes a bit of a change here.
We see Pluto as normal, barking and playing with Mickey, until the kangaroo shows up. Once he starts getting tormented by Hoppy and her son, a new side of Pluto emerges. It’s a strange side, in my opinion.
Pluto breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the viewer, leaning into the camera, and uses a menacing voice. This voice tries to convey Pluto’s thoughts, and speaks about how he will get rid of the kangaroos. Frankly, it’s just weird. We’ve seen Pluto with the devil on one shoulder and angel on the other, and this is really just another version of that. But for some reason, it seems a little odd.
It’s definitely an experiment. Towards the end of the short, the small kangaroo and Pluto manage to make up, and the menace in his voice goes away. That sort of redeems the character from his earlier growling voice, but it still is strange.
Notice I haven’t talked much about the gags or story of the film. That’s because there’s not much to talk about. The gags are not that great, and aside from the Pluto experimentation, there’s not much else of note. The one other interesting note was that the kangaroos make a honking sound, that to me sounded a lot like the Road Runner. Don’t know if that means anything or not, but it was interesting.
Mickey’s Kangaroo is an okay short, but definitely not one of my favorites.
Also Pluto's inner voice talking to the audience is completely unnecessary. His thoughts are already communicated by his actions. It's obvious what's going on and there isn't even any
humor added (as there is with Pluto's shoulder angel and devil).
Watching these cartoons in order, it's interesting to see how much better the animation is getting especially in terms of squash and stretch. However, Mickey is boring in this short - just letting himself get punched around with a smile on his face. It sucks!
We begin by seeing Mickey putting the finishing touches to Pluto's doghouse,
which Pluto absolutely adores. He runs around the house and embraces Mickey
in the process. Meanwhile, a huge package arrives from Australia faster
than Fedex promising that it would be "on time!" Then again, I should take
that back because this poor mailman was carrying it on his back! No wonder
he went so slow!
Anyway, before Mickey can hammer the box open, it hops away and catches
Pluto by the nose, then the tail. A fist comes out and nails Pluto in the
face, causing him to run with the contents of the box still chasing him.
The box breaks as it hits the steps and what do you know, sport...it's a
Mickey greets the kangaroo and then decides to get something from the
house. In the meantime, Pluto barks back, but hides when the engrossening
noise of the kangaroo responds to him. The kangaroo makes himself at home,
but in Pluto's new doghouse! It could not fit--no wonder this was a violation
of fire codes for the residence. Unfortunately, once the kangaroo got comfortable,
the back and top of the doghouse are already splintered to pieces.
Pluto's conscience is telling him that he is basically letting the kangaroo
get away with murder on his property! After the kangaroo licks Pluto's name
off the doghouse, that was it! As Pluto attacks, it takes one punch to knock
him backwards into a bunch of wooden clothespins. But as he attacks again,
it becomes a handicap match...there is a little kangaroo in the pouch that
Pluto did not see! Mickey comes out with a boxing glove so he could play
with the kangaroo, but notices the little one from the pouch, so he calls
Pluto over from the chicken coop he was hiding in. Mickey decides he would
play with the larger kangaroo and let Pluto play with the other one.
As Mickey walks with the kangaroo to the gym, the kangaroo hops and drags
Mickey along very quickly. At this point, Pluto's conscience is daring him
to be very evil to the younger kangaroo. He sneaks up on the kangaroo and
catches him drinking out of Pluto's bowl! The plan foils temporarily as
the kangaroo hiccupped, scaring Pluto off.
Back at the gym, Mickey decides to box with the dad kangaroo and gets
the early hand by teaching it some blows, but gets clocked later with a
Mike Tyson-like right hook, tying Mickey in the ropes. Mickey then gets
caught with several punching combinations by the kangaroo...even with his
tail! Don King would not like the outcome of that fight if he was not managing
Returning to the home front, Pluto and the little hopper continue to
battle over the bowl of food Pluto was supposed to eat, but the little kangaroo
uses his tail to send the bowl airborne and it breaks over Pluto's head!
The chase is on, but Pluto gets wet thanks to the kangaroo hopping on the
giant water pump. Pluto then gets a rough ride of a wheelbarrow (the wrong
way) and lands in a garbage dump. Little does he realize that he got two
paws stuck on a spring, and Pluto bounces up and down to the little kangaroo's
delight. They hop for a little bit before Pluto hops a little too high and
smashes head-first into the roof of a greenhouse. Pluto does not even realize
the little kangaroo loved him for what he did and stayed attached like Pluto
was the father by resting in a clothing pouch Pluto previously bounced straight
Later, the two of them watch the commotion coming from Mickey's gym as
all the animals evacuate the premises for the rough play the dad kangaroo
was doing. Mickey was getting extremely busy bouncing back and forth on
the punching bag that it eventually broke--and the momentum carried Mickey
into a hay-bailer. Scared, the kangaroos and Pluto run for higher ground.
The machine overworks once it spits out the bail of hay (with Mickey in
it) and breaks down. Mickey comes out of the bail, thinking that he is still
fighting the kangaroo...but he is not. The kangaroo is rocking on his tail
reading the sports section. As the film closes, the younger kangaroo, then
Pluto, emerge from the pouch and all three embrace.
Told you there was not much excitement to it...now can Outback Steakhouse
liven the Australian Rules Football events?