If the newly released short Croissant de Triomphe is any indication, this will be a handsome and distinctive series, featuring a mixture of Cartoon Modern-styled backgrounds, Thirties-influenced character designs (complete with pie-cut Mickey eyes), and loose, expressive animation. It’s easily one of the best revivals of a classic cartoon character that I’ve seen, remaining faithful to the original while adding a fresh visual twist. The three-and-a-half-minute running time of the first short is perfect, too. It’s great that studios are awakening to the fact that there can be other lengths besides 7- and 11-minute episodes.
My prime observation about the first short Croissant de Triomphe is that it struggles to find the humor in its set-up, which is Mickey driving around Paris on a scooter. Outside of a handful of lukewarm attempts at gags (including Minnie’s tonsils appearing in a phone, nuns knocked into the air like bowling pins who then float down, an appearance by Cinderella), the cartoon emphasizes frenzied videogame-influenced action sequences over slapstick. Even obvious gag set-ups—for example, Mickey dressed as a knight and lancing croissants—have no comedic payoff.
Whatever may have been lacking in the classic Mickey shorts, they at least emphasized personality-driven humor, something that is completely absent in this new short, which relies on conventional situation-based comedy. Hopefully as the crew finds its footing, they will be able to balance the accomplished action sequences with a more spirited comic sensibility.
UPDATE: Andy Suriano, who worked on these new shorts, has updated his blog with a complete list of everybody who worked on the cartoons at Disney. It’s one heck of a line-up:
Alonso Ramirez Ramos
Animation produced at Mercury Filmworks (Ottawa)