Monday, October 20, 2008

Cartoon a Day: Runaway Brain

Runaway Brain
Directed by Chris Bailey
Available on: Walt Disney Treasures - Mickey Mouse in Living Color Vol. 2

For a long time I've wished that studios would start showing cartoons before the features again. It just helps complete the whole moving going experience to me. Every now and then Disney will create a new animated short that runs with one of their features. "Runaway Brain" was a new Mickey Mouse short with "A Kid in King Arthur's Court" in 1995, but I first saw it during it's re-release along with "George of the Jungle" two years later.

This is unlike any other Mickey short you will see. It's essentially a horror movie parody in which Mickey's brain is swapped with that of a giant Frankenstein's Monster type version of Peg-Leg Pete. The doctor doing the experiments is one Dr. Frankenollie, named in tribute to Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. One quick shot even parodies the famous poster image from "The Exorcist."

The pacing is quick and the characters are animated in a stretchy style similar to that used in the successful Roger Rabbit shorts the studio released between 1989 and 1993.

Check out the unique shape and posture of Dr. Frankenollie in the above screen capture. This style can be seen throughout "Runaway Brain" and it gives the movements of the characters some extra visual punch.

Some might be taken aback by the sight of sweet lovable Mickey Mouse as a snarling monster, but the film is still very funny. There is a lot of attention paid to humor that works on many levels. There are plenty of inside jokes, such as a photo of Mickey from the "Steamboat Willie" days in his wallet, and Mickey whistling the same tune he whistles in that classic film. Mickey playing a "Mortal Kombat" style video game in which Dopey and the old hag from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" battle it out is also a great gag.

Mickey purists may not go for this one, but I enjoyed it. So hear this Disney...more animated shorts please!

No comments: