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.
"Donald and the Aracuan Bird" is not one of my favourite 'House of Mouse' episodes. One of my least favourites actually while still being above decent, in a show where there is a lot to like about all of the episodes even when some are better than others. It is very good and entertaining even if it didn't blow me away. 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 Aracuan Bird shares a fun chemistry with Donald and the rest of the gang and is a quite fun character if a real pest, but his antics have few surprises and could have had more variety. The gags, of which there could have been more, amuse enough, but they are not particularly imaginative and anybody who remembers Baby Shelby causing havoc at the House of Mouse in "Mickey vs. Shelby" will not find an awful lot new here.
'Bird Brained Donald' is easily the better of the two featured cartoon. It's manic and hugely entertaining and often hilarious, with the Aracuan Bird being a great witty foil for Donald with some priceless antics and disguises. Donald's frustration is very understandable here and it's a classic situation for him that reminds one of his early cartoons with the manic energy and the humour. Let down only really by Daisy being on the annoying side.
'Pluto vs. the Watchdog' is nice enough, with Pluto as endearing as ever and Pete a suitably dastardly villain. It doesn't serve much relevance to the rest of the episode though, is pretty predictable (the true motivation of the watchdog were easily foreseeable well before it was revealed) and Mickey has been much more likeable in other cartoons.
It is interesting always in 'House of Mouse' to see how it utilises various Disney characters from previous films and cartoons. Felt very nostalgic watching them and they are used well.
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. Particularly from Tony Anselmo, being a more than worthy successor to the legendary original voice actor for Donald Clarence "Ducky" Nash.
In conclusion, pretty good. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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