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But to say that’s all, is not treating this short properly. It has some great gags and fantastic usage of the side characters. Goofy, Donald and Mickey do not get to shine as much as they do in other trio shorts, but they are portrayed “realistically” here, even though they are doing absurd things.
Someone (Joss Whedon, maybe?) once said that it is okay to have characters doing absurd and unrealistic things if you have the rules of those things established and the characters stick to those rules. That’s what is emerging to me in
Moose Hunters and the Disney oeuvre that was not present in earlier shorts.
In Moose Hunters, we have the three hunting moose, with Goofy and Donald dressed up in a moose costume, while Mickey pretends to be a tree/bush, with foliage around him as he walks forward on stilts. Again, it’s ridiculous, but the way things follow in the short, they are consistent.
Goofy and Donald strike off to woo a moose with their female moose costume, while Mickey gets tangled up with another moose. When his shotgun breaks, you expect that he will be exposed. He is, eventually, and there’s no means of escape. This is where you see the divergence in Mickey’s character from the 20s and early 30s. The old Mickey would have conjured up a way to walk across musical notes or swing from his word balloon.
That’s not the way things work anymore. Partially, that is sad, because the whimsy and spontaneous nature of the early shorts was a good thing. But as the Disney studio moves into storytelling with the features, you can see that reflected in the shorts as well.
Similarly, Goofy and Donald’s interaction with the moose is done well, with good gags that fall within the realm of believability. I particularly loved when the moose costume flies off and they are forced to do the old fashioned fan dance while wearing the moose head. It’s a fun nod to burlesque in a family friendly short.
The ending of the short features the two moose coming together to fight over the Goofy/Donald moose, then finding out that they have been had. Seeing them fight and shake the scenery is a great piece of animation. You don’t expect backgrounds to move, but they do here, and it’s very good.
Seeing Mickey, Donald and Goofy fleeing like crazy is amusing as well, especially watching them paddle like crazy away from the moose. It seems that these three never get what they’re after when they work together. Moose Hunters brings them together again and to hilarious results, and it’s another favorite of mine.
Later, Mickey gives a moose call and gets scared out of his wits
because he was standing over shrubs where a real moose was hiding!
Scared stiff, Mickey lets out a gunshot in panic. Realizing Mickey was
walking in stilts, the moose then decides to eat away at Mickey's costumed
shrubbery, including his trademark red pants that he normally wears!
Of course Mickey took those back.
Meanwhile, Goofy and Donald find the moose that was responding to
their calls. Donald was jubilant seeing the moose eat leaves off a cluster
of branches that he decides to make the costumed moose a lot more attractive.
Put some lipstick on, add some "deer kiss" perfume (oh dear), and then
spray a trail of that perfume over to the moose and let the wind do
the rest. Obviously, the perfume induces the moose to be led over to
Donald and Goofy. The costumed moose lets out a "yoo hoo", and the real
moose gave such a howling response that it blew the costume off of Donald
and Goofy! Fortunately, they were behind a little tree so the real moose
did not notice.
Donald and Goofy tease the moose some more by covering up with much
larger shrubs. Once behind a rock, they put the costume back on and
then dance with the real moose, cheek to cheek. Unfortunately, Donald,
not realizing where he is, drops off a cliff and was hanging on only
to the back of the costume. Once Donald realized where he was, he bounced
back on land with his fanny striking some flowers. As you would have
guessed, a bee comes out to bother him. Eventually, it gets Donald in
the rear, and the costumed moose proceeds to shake like the maracas
to the tune "La Cucaracha." The real moose wants a kiss, and once Donald
gets out from under the back of the costume, he tries to smash the bee,
but all he did was make Goofy jump and kiss the moose. Ecstatic, the
real moose does cartwheels and follows Donald and Goofy around.
We can't forget about Mickey's dilemma as the other moose is eating
away at his shrubbery. This moose finishes it off and sees Mickey on
stilts. Needless to say, that moose was not happy, but ironically, Donald
and Goofy let a "yoo-hoo" out (hey, that's Minnie's job!) and this moose
also gets led on to the costume. The costumed moose backs into the moose
that was bothering Mickey, so it could not move, and the moose begins
to lick away at the costume's face! Donald wants to move and says to
get going, but he literally freezes when he sees that he was under the
Needless to say, a round of jealousy ensues between the two real
mooseheads. As they are about to ram heads, Donald and Goofy reach shelter
by running up a tree and hang on for dear life to a long branch. As
the two moose butt heads, each blow becomes more fierce...and the jolts
eventually knock Donald and Goofy, along with the costume, down to the
ground, ironically landing between the two animals with the costume
off. At this point, both Donald and Goofy cry out, "April Fool."
The two moose, enraged a moment ago, were not having that at all.
Donald and Goofy barely escape them, proceed to knock Mickey off his
stilts, and all three ran to a nearby canoe. As they try to get away
by paddling in the lake as fast as they could, the two moose pull together
by yanking the covering off the canoe, but could not slow down the three
of them going 90 miles an hour, with Donald at the helm of the canoe
instead of the rear of the moose.
There could have been a better conclusion to the cartoon...even a
funny line would have been suffice. Maybe the three of them are still
paddling, but by now they probably dug themselves a canal to Lake Michigan.
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