Does Mickey really need a makeover?

An article in the Boston Globe states that Mickey Mouse has gotten a little stale, boring even.

The mischievous sorcerer’s apprentice of “Fantasia’’ has become an empty vessel, devoid of any of the sharp edges that might define his character.

I have to say I don’t agree at all. Going back to Runaway Brain, attempts to reinvigorate Mickey have inevitably ended back at the original Mickey Mouse – an adventurer, a ladies man, and a funny guy. As always, a reflection of his creator. Epic Mickey is going to be more of the same.

What Mickey does need is to be relevant. He’s at his best when he’s doing some sort of commentary on society, usually with a humorous angle. His role as an entrepreneur in the House of Mouse series was a step in the right direction. While not really commentary, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has also done a good job reacquainting a whole new generation of kids with the character.

The direction I would take Mickey in is to put him in situations we’re all dealing with. In today’s economy Mickey should be championing the little people. Give him an electric car, send him to the mall, the unemployment line, make him a doctor, send him back to school. Some of Mickey’s best moments in his early career involved spoofing celebrity. That would fit in today too.

Where would you like to see Mickey Mouse go from here?

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6 Responses to Does Mickey really need a makeover?

  1. David says:

    Could not agree more. What I originally thought the Mickey of this game would be was more along the lines of the old-style comics where he fought to save Minnie from the Phantom Blot. Having seen some of the concept art and development designs, it seems more like an unnecessary “Shadow the Hedgehog”-type approach (or worse, something akin to “Loonatics Unleashed”).

    I’d like to see Mickey portrayed in the ways you’ve described. I felt like the Goofy short “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater” was a successful example of how to bring those classic characters into the now.

  2. Chris says:

    I think your changes sound great. What does the Boston Globe know about Mickey anyway? My twins love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, by the way.

  3. Paul says:

    I’d say change Mickey Up a bit if need be, but keep him out of the unemployment line. Walt Disney has always, to me anyway, represented the best of what people can accomplish if they are tenacious, hard working and imaginative. With no disrespect to people who need the unemployment line, I don’t think Walt would approve of his beloved character waiting in line for a handout… my $.02.

  4. Robert Jones says:

    The best ever Mickey was the one from the 1930’s-1940’s comic strips. Disney should have a daily online comic that is new material in the spirit of those old strips but are relevant to what’s happening in the world today. And after all, has the world changed that much? Mickey could easily have adventures involving pirates hijacking cruise ships, a terrorist plot in his hometown, drug smuggling, gang problems etc. All, of course would have to be done tastefully but these are things that would have fit well with the strips from back then. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that the Disney company of today would have the guts to do such topical material.

  5. Jim Rodkey says:

    While Mickey was an extension of Walt, Mickey was also the character who represented the common person. Why does everybody always think they have to fix things that aren’t broken? First, to reinvigorate Mickey could be easily accomplished by reintroducing the classic Mickey shorts to a generation who has never really seen him. Second, bring the anthology series back to the Disney Channel.

    The notion that kids won’t watch this stuff certainly doesn’t hold true at our house. Our grandchildren love the vintage Disney animated shorts and features. The vintage animation Treasures collections holds their interest better than anything on the Disney Channel right now.

    If a new series is developed, fine, but don’t mess with Mickey. You’ll just alienate more people who have grown up with him and you’ll not connect to this generation either. Mickey is timeless and The Boston Globe doesn’t know what their talking about. If Sorcerer Mickey is such an empty vessel why does Fantasmic still draw such huge crowds after all these repeated showing? And Paul, Mickey’s most popular time was spent in the unemployment line. The black and white cartoons that launched his career had him as a regular guy facing the hard times just like most people.

  6. Erik says:

    Mickey Mouse hasn’t really been interesting since the 30’s. Comic book Mickey is too often a generic do-gooder, while cartoon Mickey is a neutered Mr. Nice Guy most of the time. Mickey’s a straight man to Donald and Goofy, he’s a corporate logo, he’s a cute plush toy, but one thing he’s not is funny.

    The O.G. black-and-white prankster Mickey might be the way to go for a video game or a series aimed at slightly older (Y7) kids. Remind people that Mickey Mouse used to be a funny character in his own right.

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