Have a lot of fondness for 'House of Mouse'. Love Disney and the concept was such an interesting and for Disney shows at the time a unique one. There are times where it could have done more with the concept, with showing more of some of the guests and not focusing all the featured cartoons on Mickey and the gang. It is however so much fun and how it makes an effort to retain the spirit of the classic old cartoons is to be lauded.
"The Stolen Cartoons" is a great start and establishes the concept very well, even with a slight still finding its feet feel (very understandable). Really like that it and the rest of the show tries to and succeeds in making the personalities of Mickey and the rest of the gang true to those of their "golden age" ones when they first came out (1930s-1950s). Except that Mickey is far more interesting in personality in 'House of Mouse', feels like a lead character, is used well and isn't over-shadowed by the rest of the characters.
Also successful in maintaining the spirit of the "golden age" cartoons is the featured cartoons themselves, 'Magic Act' (though it is too short) especially. Found myself identifying with Mickey in 'Hickory Dickory Mickey'. Other episodes do it better, like with the "How to"-like Goofy cartoons which are like that series in a modern setting.
Seeing other Disney characters from numerous Disney films was a large part of the pleasure, with some very nice moments with them like with Timon and Simba, Mickey's rules and Cruella De Vil and sly references to the films (i.e. "Be Our Guest" with Lumiere and the end advert). Liked that characters long neglected were seen and in larger roles, like Horace Horsecollar. Pete shows himself to be a memorable fun villain, with some great lines like referring to the Haunted Mansion and interaction with the characters.
While not surprising in outcome, the story is lively and engaging, kept afloat by the character interaction, characters and the atmosphere. The writing is clever and very funny, even with the deliberately corny moment and pun which made me grin rather than groan.
Furthermore, the animation is very colourful, smooth in movement and with some meticulous detail. The cheap recycling footage for the audience reactions at the end of the featured cartoons does jar and annoy though. The music is suitably groovy and cleverly used, while the theme song is one of the catchiest of any Disney show in the past twenty years. The voice acting is marvellous, with Jim Cummings a great choice for Pete, Tony Anselmo filling Clarence Nash's big shoes with aplomb (not sounding too far off actually) and Wayne Allwine being an improvement over Walt Disney.
In conclusion, great start. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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