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.
"Dennis the Duck" is one of my favourite episodes of 'House of Mouse'. Also think it is the best episode since "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner" (another favourite). Don't get me wrong, the other episodes in between are very enjoyable but there is just something extra special about this episode that sets it apart. As has been said in my previous 'House of Mouse' episodes, 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), especially Donald. 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. Minnie is also more resourceful.
The episode is anchored by the chemistry between Donald and Dennis. Dennis himself is amusing and endearing, one also feels sorry for him later on and he does avoid being annoying (even with his repeated catchphrase), while Donald is suitably hot-headed and just as amusing who realises the consequences of his hostile behaviour later and one admires him for that.
It was great fun watching an early Mickey Mouse and friends cartoon 'The Whoopee Party' featured and the cartoon made especially for the episode in the same vein 'Mickey and the Goat Man could easily be mistaken for being from the early 30s but it wasn't. Mickey and Mortimer as always work very well together. One of the very few disappointing things about "Dennis the Duck" is the clip for 'Pioneer Days' being so, and too, short, which is a shame.
What was especially good, and special, about "Dennis the Duck" was how Disney went back to its roots and included characters in the style of those in the early black and white cartoons, featured cartoons from this era and chose a situation not too far off from what can be found from this era. The chemistry between Donald and Dennis has a wide range of emotions, and the latter more emotional moments are remarkably poignant with a little humour injected that one is shocked and impressed that 'House of Mouse' was ballsy enough to do something as serious and with that much depth as that.
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.
Voice acting is very good as always.
Overall, one of my favourites from 'House of Mouse'. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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