Movies: Mickey, Donald and Goofy in a starring role

I just spent the last hour or so with my daughter on the couch, watching TV.  In the last few months, she’s become a huge fan of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and low and behold,  Toon Disney was running “Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers” from 2004.
I’m an animation fan — cross that — I’m an American-style animation fan, and I have to say for pure fun, adventure and artistic achievement, I haven’t seen a better Disney film in years.
Relying solely on the “Disney gang” cast of characters first developed in the company’s shorts from decades past, the writers and director of the film came out with a real gem.
With the Disney influence, the story wasn’t really the one written by Alexandre Dumas all those years ago. Instead, the writers opted for a storyline that could pit the likes of Pegleg Pete (primarily Goofy’s nemesis in recent years) and the Beagle Boys (foes of Uncle Scrooge) against Mickey, Pluto, Donald and Goofy as they try to rescue Daisy and Minnie.
But the story isn’t the only … uhm … story here:
What kept me watching was the constant barrage of Looney Tune-like gags through the entire movie. From  Goofy’s physics lesson or Donald’s chronic cowardism, I was chuckling through the whole movie.
Secondly, the character animation was absolutely wonderful in this film. Every character was  perfectly rendered and emotive. The action was fluid and and exciting. The backgrounds were lush and background characters were funny and helped polish the cartoon to perfection.
What’s sad about this flick is that it was one of the final hand-drawn works from Disney, and rather than putting it on the silver screen, it went straight to video.  I get the feeling that if “Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers” did make it to theaters, it  might have been just the tonic Disney needed to fight back against the “digital revolution” that has swept American animation with “Toy Story,” “Shrek” and “The Incredibles.”  Sure those were certainly good films, but now we’re also stuck with drek like “Shark’s Tale,” “Doogal” and “Valiant.”

And here’s an interesting bit of trivia from the Internet Movie Database about the film:

When Disney was trying to develop a Mickey Mouse feature film in the early 1940s, one of the ideas considered was “The Three Musketeers”, but it was abandoned because the original novel requires four main characters (the titular musketeers and D’Artagnan) and the filmmakers found it difficult to come up with a good combination of established characters to fill the parts. Sixty-plus years later, the problem was solved by having Mickey, Donald and Goofy not play the original Three Musketeers and thus tell a story that parallels the original but is not strictly an adaptation of it. The original Musketeers, incidentally, are the ones who saved the gang in the beginning of the film, and their autographs are in the hat they give Mickey.

Read more from the Internet Movie Database entry by going here:
P.S. Sorry about having two Disney-related entries in a row … I’ll get back to superheroes real soon!


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