This past week Disney released Croissant de Triomphe, the first in a new series of animated shorts featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. You can watch the short HERE on Disney's website. This is part of a series of 19 shorts that are going to be produced and aired on TV and online starting this summer.
I love the short. First off, it looks great. It blends design elements from classic thirties Disney cartoons (the "sliced pie" eyes being the most obvious one), modern design and backgrounds, and fun cartoon action. The dialogue is in French, but that's alright because the action speaks for itself. Sometimes things get a little too hectic, but the character movement is loose, fun, and looks fantastic.
Secondly, it's entertaining; something that I wasn't sure that I'd ever say about a Disney short. Walt and his band of merry men were early pioneers of many aspects of animation as we know it. Sound, color, feature length animated films, and using different planes to create the illusion of depth were all techniques that, if not started by the studio, were definitely perfected there. Unfortunately, many shorts and longer films produced by Disney were more about showing off this technology or the quality of the art itself rather than to be entertaining.
Most people who claim to be "Disney fans" are really just fans of the animated feature films that have become the studio's hallmark, not the animated shorts that preceded them. In fact, once Walt Disney saw the possibility of animated features, he started devoting less and less studio time and resources to shorts until they were eventually phased out entirely. It's a shame that these shorts don't get more airplay. They hearken back to an era when Mickey was much more impish (lecherous even!), Goofy went full retard, and Donald Duck was a straight-up (albeit hilarious) asshole.
It's refreshing to see the Disney characters go back to their roots rather than stay in the bizarre mixed roles of marketing icons and preschool kiddie fodder. At around three and a half minutes in length, Croissant doesn't overstay its welcome, has some good gags and action, and should hopefully just be the beginning of things to come. The shorts have some strong talent behind them with directors that have worked on Dexter's Laboratory, Syn-Bionic Titan, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Chowder!, and SpongeBob SquarePants. I'm hoping to see some of these shorts feature Donald and Goofy as well as some more of the other characters' personalities, but this is a fabulous inaugural effort and I can't wait for more.