A merry Disney + documentary – The Hollywood Reporter

Baby Yoda, various 90s family franchise restarts, and too many Marvel shows to count could make the most noise, but some of the things Disney + has produced most successfully have been widespread commercials. and glorified for various Disney brand pieces.

Looking at everything from theme park attractions to beloved characters and recently completed shows, these commercials are able to leverage the vast resources of the Disney safe so thoroughly that they can escape self-proclaimed “documentary” – even the most devoted of Disney. fans can probably recognize how many of the company’s rough edges have been polished or completely ignored. They are fun and captivating, and even a cynic like me can’t deny that they include amazing, perfectly preserved archive material.

Mickey: The story of a mouse


Colorful, cheerful, sometimes enlightening corporate propaganda.

Venue: SXSW Film Festival (Featured Documentation)

Director: Jeff Malmberg

1 hour 33 minutes

Featuring 93 minutes of radiant rodent hagiography, Mickey: The story of a mouse is perhaps the most refined of recent Disney + advertising documents. (Others include Behind the attraction, Marvel 616 and Under the helmet: Boba Fett’s legacy.) Access to veteran Disney animators and works from various stages of the process is unmatched, Antonio Cisneros’ intimate and glossy cinematography is impeccable and I challenge anyone to spend 93 minutes with Mickey Mouse without smiling frequently. It’s still a bit disappointing to see director Jeff Malmberg in his remarkable first solo documentary feature in 2010. Marwencol, changing the compassionate humanism of corporate cheerleading. So this is a warning to any Mickey who overlaps and Marwencol stans.

As the title suggests, Mickey: The story of a mouse It traces the origins of Mickey Mouse to Walt Disney’s youthful fascination with nature, from his disappointment at losing control of Oswald the Rabbit to his technological discoveries. Willie’s steamboatto the commercial disappointment of Fantasythrough the vocal and aesthetic evolutions of the character over the decades.

When Mickey: The story of a mouse it’s just about animation, it’s wonderful. The product promoted here is a short 2022 called Mickey in a minute, presented in full towards the end of the documentary. Created by Disney believers Eric Goldberg, Randy Haycock and Mark Henn, the short film is a fun way to discuss things like the importance of Mickey’s jubilant movement; small crucial adjustments, such as when Mickey’s eyes received expressive pupils; and the changes in his attitude that precipitated the introduction of Donald and Goofy and turned Mickey into a tiny, domesticated, largely suburban man in the 1950s.

You can’t tell Mickey’s story without telling Walt Disney’s story at the same time, and here the kneeling is predictable and sometimes nauseating – especially when the worship comes from historians and academics forced to treat unpleasant things, such as the destruction of Disney unions. or even elements of complete humanization like his struggles for mental health, like barely the footnotes, if that. There is a generic biological document of Walt Disney woven here, which has been done in more detail many times.

That’s not it The story of a mouse he ignores wrong steps like Mickey in the black face or the strangely harassing aspects of Mickey’s early relationship with Minnie. No, art historian Carmenita Higginbotham seems very disappointed to admit that these leaks have taken place, but they are presented completely separately from the Disney biography and there is no real effort to confront what they mean.

It’s better than the way he deleted Disney + The song of the South from the Disney legacy, but it’s in the same stage. You could say that Malmberg deserves credit for including these chapters, because he was sure that he would reach Mickey’s time as a main character in real war propaganda, or because he mentioned Mickey the Field of Gurs, a comic booklet written in a French internment camp before the author was executed at Auschwitz. These things are much more interesting than general swelling, and Mickey’s stories beyond the Disney brand would seem less awkward if you didn’t have people talking about how Disney sued day centers because they they painted Mickey on their walls.

Almost everything that is negative, stinging, or complicated is wrapped up in the last 30 minutes in a chapter that might be titled “Yeah, we lost track of Mickey for decades, but then we figured out how to We do it right again and now Mickey Mouse. is wonderful again, just look at Mickey in a minute, thanks Bob Iger! ” And yes, Bob Iger is essential to the documentary, about how the Disney era managed to save Mickey from being a boring and outdated corporate symbol and turning him into a vibrant corporate symbol.

of Malmberg Marwencol the chops are most noticeable in the tangential glances at Mickey Mouse’s various obsessives – a fanatical collector, a guy who gets a tattoo of Mickey – and several montages of memories and tributes from Mickey’s general fans, filmed in the first plans on colored backgrounds. I would have preferred much more of these civilians and enthusiasts, mixed with animators, and probably less of the forced analysis by historians, semiotics and academics forced to tautologically repeat things like “America is Mickey” in countless different ways.

If Mickey Mouse is America – and I don’t disagree with that at all, even though it’s more problematic than anyone here really wants to explore – then you wouldn’t think he needed a feature film commercial. But when that commercial is as cheerful and full of sketches, raw animation and backstage treasures as this one, I highly doubt that many fans will get into trouble.