Thursday, March 3, 2016

Short Subject: Plane Crazy (1928)

The very first Mickey cartoon.

Yes, ‘Steamboat Willie’, usually gets credit for this and while it was the first Mickey short widely released this short finished production first and did get a test screening.  Mickey also has his earliest design style and the most brazen personality I’ve come across so far.

Seriously Mickey is a jerk here.  Yes the first part of him and Minnie just getting the plane up and working is fine, I even like how he transforms a car into the plane after the first, which continued the animal abuse theme, crashed into a tree.  However, once up in the air he proceeds to hit on Minnie and when she refuses his advances he dive bombs the plane and jerks it around to scare into submission.  When that also fails and she jumps out, using her underwear as a parachute, Micky crashes the plane again and I guess I’m supposed to feel bad for him at the end, but I don’t.  He got what he deserved for being a complete creep.

Okay aside from hating Mickey in this short there are a couple of positives here too.  I like the use of point of view shots when they are trying to get the plane off the ground, and when it crashes at the end.  I like Mickey giving himself the Lindy hairstyle, a nod to Charles Lindbergh.  I am amazed that Ub Iwerks was the sole animator of this, as he was for I believe all the early black and white Disney shorts.  That is a massive undertaking and while I don’t like Mickey’s rogue personality here the short over all is still good.  The scenario of building the plane and getting it off the ground is fun.  Mickey using various things like a turkey tail to build it is creative.  The music is nice though not as intricate as ‘Steamboat Willie’, and finally I believe this is the one of the very first if not the first use of the character doesn’t fall until they realize there’s no ground beneath them gag.  So while not perfect to me it’s still a classic.      

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