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I noticed one reviewer gave this one a score of 1. Well, while I agree
that the story here isn't one of the best of the Disney shorts, it just
seemed wrong to give such a beautiful film a 1. In fact, I give the
film an 8 just because the quality of the animation and backgrounds is
just amazing--and better than most of the art in the full-length
cartoons of the day. The intricacy of the art with its fine details and
wonderful color palate are terrific and are hard to miss. It is truly
the apex of Disney's art.
As for the story, it's very simple. Donald, Mickey and Goofy run a tugboat service and hear a distress call concerning a boat about to hit the rocks. So, it's up to the boys to spring into action to save the day. The problem is that they are stupid and have the darnedest time just getting the boat going due to Goofy's and Donald's incompetence. A little of this did go a long way, I admit, but the film is still enjoyable from start to finish and I had a good time watching it. Plus, compared to the insipid cartoons that were made by rival studios, it is clearly a superior product. As for MGM and Looney Tunes, they were still making mostly bland films--with their best stuff (such as the MGM Tex Avery films and Bugs Bunny) not to appear for another 2-3 years.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the Disney cartoons I first watched and grew up with. I
thought it was wildly entertaining and chaotically fun as we see
Mickey, Donald and Goofy try to get their tugboat in order so they
could go and see an allegedly singing ship. Obviously, nothing goes
accordingly to plan as Mickey has troubles with a seagull, Goofy tries
to get coal in the steamer and Donald grapples with the engine.
The animation is vibrant and has some very excellent sequences, including the scenes where the tugboat is racing across the sea. When I was a kid, I felt a little sorry for the three characters as their boat ***spoiler ahead*** blows up and never makes it to their destination. It wasn't until years later that the supposedly SOS call was just a radio station broadcasting an episode of a fictional show, so, that would be feel better about the story's outcome. ***spoiler ends *** It's great fun seeing the three characters together.
I have always enjoyed the cartoons with Mickey, Donald and Goofy individually, and even more so together. While it is still a good, solid cartoon, Tugboat Mickey is not one of their better outings. The story is rather routine and reminded me a lot of The Whalers(the main reason why the ending wasn't so much as a surprise) and especially Clock Cleaners, and Mickey's re-design takes some getting used to especially as Donald and Goofy are kept the same. However, there is much to enjoy as Tugboat Mickey is beautifully animated especially in the colourful backgrounds, and the music is very energetic. The gags are familiar in a way, but they are still very funny especially with Donald's temperament with the steam piston and Goofy's confusion as the grate keeps closing on him. Mickey is not as funny but he is still likable and all three characters are impeccably voiced as always. Overall, a good cartoon if not one of the best. 8/10 Bethany Cox
A Walt Disney MICKEY MOUSE Cartoon.
TUGBOAT MICKEY, along with crewmen Donald Duck & Goofy, attempts to rush to the rescue of a quickly sinking ship.
Here is another classic little film, with excellent animation and lots of good laughs. Many younger viewers may not understand the final gag, what with all the changes in American popular entertainment since 1940. Walt Disney provides Mickey with his squeaky voice; Clarence Nash does the honors for the Duck.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by pictures & drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew comic figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a blizzard of doomsayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi & Peter Pan. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that childlike simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
A significant portion of this animated short shows Goofy trying to load up
some coal to be burned in order to get Mickey's tugboat moving. Meanwhile,
Donald struggles with a piece of machinery and Mickey stands around until
the boat gets moving. Wow...the comic genius involved is downright
I know I'm being a bit of a downer, but it is disappointing that Mickey and his gang were always trying to cull laughter from idiocy instead of cleverness. "Tugboat Mickey" continued to employ that strategy. It used broad, uninvolving humor and the "surprise" ending was obvious from the get-go. 1/10
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