Just as my colleague Nancy Tartaglione reported it did in Venice, Warner Bros and director Alfonso Cuaron have triumphed again in Telluride with the dazzling North American premiere of Gravity this weekend in multiple screenings. So why is everyone talking about Mickey Mouse?
Preceding every showing of Gravity Disney is giving festgoers a real treat, debuting it’s own dazzling new film Get A Horse!, a 3D CGI hybrid of a 1928 black and white Mickey Mouse cartoon that simply has to be seen to be believed. Disney will be pairing it with their new animated feature Frozen in theaters November 27. If Gravity is a technical marvel sure to score big at the Oscars, so is this 7-minute short that precedes it here. I can’t imagine Get A Horse! not scaring away the competition for Best Animated Short this year. And the many Academy members here who have been seeing it with Gravity are already talking it up.
Conceived and directed by Lauren MacMullan, the first woman to direct a Disney animated film solo, the plot revolves around Mickey and Minnie Mouse and friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow on a musical wagon ride which is suddenly disrupted by Peg Leg Pete, who tries to run them off the road. It’s all done in the style of a very early B&W Mickey Mouse cartoon, but soon morphs into a Purple Rose Of Cairo-style film in which the suddenly contemporary and now full color characters come off the black and white screen and find themselves watching the action of their ‘toon from inside the movie theater.
It is purely ingenius stuff and reportedly came about when Disney started asking its animators for ideas for new Mickey Mouse shorts. Produced in about 18 months, MacMullan has pulled off a winner that is an affectionate tip-of-the-ears tribute to Disney’s past but also a delightful result of what you can do with modern technology. It’s so authentic to its roots that Walt Disney himself, who passed away in 1966, even voices his most famous creation Mickey Mouse. Like I said, you have to see – and hear – this one to believe it.