I had long ago given up on Mickey Mouse as a viable cartoon character and resigned myself to his role as a standard bearer for Disney corporate licensing and merchandising.
However, a new series of short animated cartoons from Disney Television, led by animator Paul Rudish, has changed that, and put the character back in action for a new generation of cartoon fans.
The cartoons combine a hand drawn feeling with 2D computer animation in an approach that is simultaneously modern and respectfully referential to the color Mickey Mouse cartoons of the 1930′s.
There are nineteen cartoons in the series. They are being released one at a time, though in relatively quick sequence. You can see them on YouTube (and apparently on Disney.com, though the latter is so poorly arranged, I can’t find a consistent list of them there).
As of this writing, there are four cartoon available, each running about three and a half minutes. The latest, and my favorite so far, is Croissant de Triomphe (screen caps above), which finds Mickey chasing across a nicely stylized Paris in an effort to bring croissants to Minnie’s hungry cafe customers.
On YouTube, they are marred slightly by announcement overlays and a wait through a 30 second ad for each cartoon, but they are enjoyable nonetheless. There are also brief interviews with Rudish, but they don’t really go into the process of making the cartoons.
[Via Daring Fireball]
[Addendum: Unfortunately, those outside the U.S. may be blocked from accessing these videos on YouTube. See this post's comments.
Apparently some corporate IP lawyer at Disney decided that it doesn't make sense for viewers in France to see a delightful cartoon about Mickey Mouse in Paris(!) (that even has the characters specking French). Of course not!]