An uplifting and magical visit through time

“Every version of Mickey is a version of all of us. It’s a version of a society we all came from.” That’s just one of the ways the cultural and historic power of Mickey Mouse is portrayed in Disney’s newest original documentary, Mickey: the story of a mouse. With Mickey Mouse’s impending copyright expiration in 2024, the new documentary covers the ever-important classic animation work that went into the creation of Mickey Mouse, the cultural significance the character has had throughout of world history and the character’s nostalgic and emotional effects on people of all age groups.

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Other lesser-known topics are also covered in the documentary, such as Mickey’s role in wartime propaganda throughout the 1940s, the parodies that were created about the character, and the legal battles Disney endured to keep the popularity of the character. In honor of Mickey Mouse’s 94th birthday, the documentary will premiere on Disney+ on Friday, November 18, 2022.


The art of animation

Mickey the story of a mouse
Diseny+ and Mortimer Productions

One of the most interesting and beautiful segments of the documentary comes from its focus on the historical journey of Mickey Mouse animation. Interviews with incredible animators, like Eric Golden (The princess and the Frog, Pocahontas) and Mark Henn (The Lion King, Mulane) provide heartwarming insight into not only the character’s initial creation, but stylistic changes and how far Mickey Mouse has come throughout his nearly 100-year life. The segment discusses Walt Disney’s creative processes of creating the iconic character, voicing him (even down to health issues), and ensuring that the character of Mickey was used to inspire hope, love and keeping the childlike personality alive in everyone. There’s also an in-depth look at other, more modern animation styles for Mickey, and the hiring processes that go into casting those who want to do his voice work.

“From pencil to paper, that’s how Mickey started, and in many cases, that’s how he’s most handsome” – Eric Golden

A dark but fascinating story

Mickey the story of a mouse
Disney+ and Mortimer Productions

One of the most interesting parts of the documentary came from explaining Mickey’s involvement in war propaganda and general publicity during World War II. The segment is both fascinating and tugs at the heartstrings, especially when it is mentioned that there are still many pieces of Mickey’s story in the Holocaust museum, as even the prisoners of the Holocaust camps concentration would create inspirational Mickey Mouse comics depicting Mickey Mouse visiting them, and returning to America, just before they were killed. The segment is incredibly dark and sad, but does a great job of not hiding from a story that contained a myriad of problematic placements for the character.

Fortunately, the segment ends on a high note, explaining that after the war, it was the impetus Walt Disney needed to completely transform the iconic character into a loving, caring, and powerful mouse that children of all ages can relate to. could identify. Mickey was given a clean slate, and from there most of his underhanded antics, smoking and gunshots, were removed or transferred to the always obnoxious Donald Duck.

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Hope and the future

Mickey the story of a mouse
Disney+ and Mortimer Productions

The third act of the documentary covered much of the cultural impact Mickey Mouse has had all over the world, not just in the United States. After briefly covering some of the most nasty legal issues and hurdles Disney had to overcome throughout the character’s life, the documentary moved on to touching and much-needed subject matter. Fans, employees and interviewees have shared how the character of Mickey has helped them through difficult physical and emotional times in their lives and inspired hope, not only in small children, but in adults who still believe in the magic of Disney. It was hard to hold back tears, as people affected by illnesses shared how Mickey helped them keep going. The animators have come together to share their new animations for a combined project to deliver a more modern celebration of the character.

“Every time I did chemo, I had to wear my Mickey shorts, and that dark, dreary moment that I was in, I found some hope, and I feel like that’s who is Mickey Mouse.”

The documentary as a whole added a ton of introspection to both the Mickey Mouse character and Disney history, including covering some not-so-magical moments. Moviegoers may love or hate the House of Mouse, but some respect should be given to a company that not only has been around and celebrated for so long, but is also willing to acknowledge and point out its mistakes and darkest moments. highlighted. throughout his tenure. Mickey: The Story of the Mouse well worth the watch, and is sure to get nostalgic waves rolling for everyone’s favorite cartoon mouse and the iconic company that created it.

Herman C. Harkins