Oswald The Lucky Rabbit: The BRWC Review.
While Disney+ does add the latest Marvel or Disney film to their streaming service, a big aspect of the site I love is the addition of their older classics. Shorts like ‘Steamboat Willie’, which was Mickey Mouse’s first ever cartoon appearance, is on the site and was how I was able to watch it for the first time. But a character that has recently resurfaced is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Originally created in 1927, Oswald appeared in several shorts until 1938 when the character’s creative control was taken away from Disney. It wasn’t until 2003 that Disney were able to resecure the rights and trademark of Oswald, in which he made his modern debut in the 2010 video game ‘Epic Mickey’. But this is the first time in 95 years that Oswald has appeared in his very own Disney short.
Simply titled ‘Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’, his return to the small screen is a 1-minute short that sees him go to the cinema to see a film. But, once he gets there, he realizes that he is actually the co-star of the film.
This short is notable for a couple of reasons: it marks Oswald’s return to the small screen in 95 years, something that is amazing to see. But it’s also a fully hand drawn animated short, an artform that is now rare within the studio sadly. Ever since the closure of the Ink and Paint Department in the 90’s, the hand drawn style has been lost within Disney, something that is still sad to see. So, it’s such a delight to see the animation company briefly return to the style that they were famous for.
And it looks fantastic; it beautifully replicates the visuals of a 1930’s short and it looks gorgeous. Not only does the black and white characters and setting look authentic to the era that Oswald is from, but an overlay has been placed over the top of the short, resembling the classic film roll. It’s a small detail but one that blends in perfectly. A lot of love and care has clearly been taken to make sure the short is faithful to the look of Oswald’s original shorts.
But the plot itself is a mirror to the Rabbit’s reintroduction to the company. His simple trip to the cinema changes when he discovers that he is the co-star of that film. His struggle, as he tries to get into the cinema screen and, overall, the film, is reminiscent of Disney’s long journey to regaining the rights to the character. It’s a wonderful way to illustrate Oswald’s return to Disney, and the struggle with regaining ownership. It’s simple yet very effective and told in a humorous way, making ‘Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’ an overall charming short.
It’s been 95 years since his last short film, but this 1-minute short is a wonderful return for the character. It’s charming, humorous and interesting, and the symbolism of the plot is beautifully executed. Furthermore, it’s a delight to see a hand drawn Disney film again even if it was only for a minute. ‘Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’ is a wonderful short film and marks an iconic return to a world-famous animation studio.
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