“Give me back my phone!”
I guess it might be time for me to revisit some of the old Mickey Mouse cartoons from yesteryear, but I’m not so sure I want to. Especially if Lauren MacMullan‘s animated homage created in part for the iconic character’s 85th anniversary Get a Horse! is truly on point as far as its subject matter goes. Don’t get me wrong, though, the short does build into a rip-roaring, slapstick escapade that uses its gimmick to full potential without wearing itself out. It’s just the first minute of blatant—and completely unnecessary—sexual innuendo that struck me as odd. Why is Clarabelle Cow’s utters falling out when she lifts her skirt “for a ride”? Yeah the six-year olds laughed, but I could only cringe.
It’s weird because I’m not a prude. In fact I almost feel disgusted with myself for caring so much about something so inconsequential that I’m letting it tint my enjoyment of what’s a rather silly adventure chock full of physical abuse and pratfalls otherwise. It even utilizes the archival voices of Billy Bletcher, Marcellite Garner and Walt Disney himself—this should be a Disney fan’s dream. Perhaps it’s the juxtaposition of a 1920s-esque aesthetic with the type of potty humor reserved for Will Ferrell at present that simply didn’t sit right in my head. It’s fun yet dirty and I can’t stop thinking how we shouldn’t be putting those two concepts together subconsciously in our children’s minds. Ugh, I really have turned into an eighty-year old curmudgeon. I don’t like it.
With that first minute aside, however, Get a Horse! does proves to be a spot-on technological representation of old meets new to honor the grand history it bridges. Mickey, Minnie, and Peg Leg Pete all get the “color” treatment as their cat and mouse chase of love and anger has them coming in and out of the silver screen to ruin their off-camera audience’s nachos in the crossfire. The level of detail is precise to ensure that the contemporary, three-dimensional renderings retain the look and feel of their hand-drawn counterparts while the use of 3D layering allows us to see each in color beneath the heavy lines once holes are ripped into the screen. Letting the canvas flip upside down and rotate side-to-side for rewinding/fast-forwarding only makes the joke more palpable.
MacMullan outdoes herself visually in a memorable feat that marks the auspicious occasion of her being the first female director to helm a Disney animated film on her own. The youngsters ate up all the abuse poor Pete endures at the hands of Mickey’s vindictive jealousy as well as the broad humor littered throughout, but I still wish she didn’t have to resort to such cheap genitalia jokes at the start. I applaud the effort, though, and hope to watch the second half’s mixed media hybridization more intently next time to catch just how carefully intertwined both worlds become in its chaotically fast-paced, “Benny Hill” chase. Hopefully I’ll be able to shut my brain off at the beginning to not mentally bog myself down again before getting there.
courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures