Pluto's Party (Mickey Mouse)
"Pluto's Party" is a 1952 cartoon in the Mickey Mouse series, produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures on September 19th, 1952. It was the 124th short in the Mickey Mouse film series to be released, and the first for that year.
It's Pluto's birthday and Mickey is busy preparing the party things for his birthday dog, which is not made easy with Mickey's mischievous nephews whom are also invited for the dog's birthday party, as they
- The short is a mean-spirited 6-minute long Pluto torture episode, even by Golden Age-era Disney standards, as it contains numerous graphic instances of Pluto getting cruelly tormented by the nephews. Some of the violence that happens to him includes:
- Pluto getting pinned on the butt.
- Pluto tricked into biting his birthday present disguised as a bone that is revealed to be a wagon.
- Pluto being forced by the nephews to give them a ride on the wagon, complete with all the nephews cramming in the wagon the the point that it is too heavy for Pluto to pull it.
- Pluto being pushed down the slide, launched airborne twice and get passed around the swing by the nephews like acrobats to the point that the dog crashing and making a dog-shaped implant in the ground, complete with Mickey unfairly berating Pluto for "playing too rough", when actually the nephews are the ones whom are "playing too rough" with Pluto and should've been told off instead.
- Pluto getting tossed up in the air by the nephews for winning the "Pin The Tail On Pluto" game (a variation of the classic "Pin The Tail On The Donkey" game using a crude drawing of Pluto) to the point that the dog gets stuck on the tree branch and then falls off the tree and onto the table when the branch breaks off.
- The kids consume Pluto's cake, without even leaving any share of the cake for the dog at all, before promptly exiting Mickey's backyard thinking that the party is over.
- Considering the more realistic and grounded nature of the Mickey Mouse series (and the Disney cartoons in general) compared to the other Golden Age-era cartoons of the time such as Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, this makes each scene where Pluto is physically tortured by the nephews seem disturbingly realistic and therefore is very difficult and painful to sit through.
- Despite being the titular protagonist, Mickey has no purpose whatsoever to the overall plot, as with some of his Hays Office era (1935-1953) cartoons, as the short entirely focuses on Pluto instead of him, and this is subtly hinted by the 1947 Pluto series theme music playing over the opening credits instead of the 1947 Mickey Mouse series theme music. You can replace Mickey with either Donald, Goofy or any random Disney character and the plot wouldn't even change in the slightest either.
- Mickey's nephews are extremely unlikable characters. They torture poor Pluto for the whole short and eat (almost) all of his cake.
- They are also Gary Stus and Karma Houdinis, as they don't get punished by Mickey for their horrible behavior towards Pluto.
- Given that all of Mickey's nephews are portrayed by the same unruly Mickey Mouse-lookalike Orphans as seen in previous Mickey Mouse cartoons such as Giantland, Gulliver Mickey, Orphan's Benefit (both 1934 original and 1941 remake), Orphans' Picnic and Mickey's Circus, this cartoon however depicts these Mickey Mouse-lookalike Orphans at their absolute worst for reasons above.
- The scene where Pluto finds no cake on the table and sobs for his loss is quite heartbreaking and makes you feel incredibly bad for what the poor animal has to go through. Not to mention his silently heard screams are disturbingly realistic.
- Great animation, voice acting from Jimmy MacDonald (as Mickey Mouse) and Pinto Colvig (as Pluto), and soundtrack for it's time, as with the rest of the other Disney shorts of the period.
- Pluto is the only likable character.
- Mickey is also a passable and tolerable character, despite him being useless to the overall plot.
- Heartwarming Ending - After being tortured for the whole episode, Pluto finally receives some cake given by Mickey (which is later implied that Mickey did saved a portion of cake for him). In pure joy, the (formerly) starving hound licks the equally as happy Mickey as the short commences an iris out on the character's heads.
The short received mixed reviews. On its IMDb page, the short currently has a 6.5/10.
- Mickey's nephews in this cartoon are portrayed by the same unruly Mickey Mouse-lookalike Orphans resembling Mickey's own nephews Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse as seen in numerous Mickey Mouse cartoons such as "Giantland", "Gulliver Mickey", "Orphans' Benefit" (both the 1934 black-and-white original and the 1941 shot-for-shot color remake), amongst others.
- This is the first cartoon where Pluto would only appear in the final three Mickey Mouse cartoons before both he and Mickey are retired from theatrical cartoons in 1953, as "Cold Turkey", which was released the previous year, was the last cartoon in the Pluto series.