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More on Epic Mickey: “Twisted, broken, dangerous”

5 Nov

The New York Times has a must-read story on the upcoming Wii video game Epic Mickey, including more details about the plot and characters:

Epic Mickey, designed for Nintendo’s Wii console, is set in a “cartoon wasteland” where Disney’s forgotten and retired creations live. The chief inhabitant is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a cartoon character Walt Disney created in 1927 as a precursor to Mickey but ultimately abandoned in a dispute with Universal Studios. In the game, Oswald has become bitter and envious of Mickey’s popularity. The game also features a disemboweled, robotic Donald Duck and a “twisted, broken, dangerous” version of Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World.” Using paint and thinner thrown from a magic paintbrush, Mickey must stop the Phantom Blot overlord, gain the trust of Oswald and save the day.

Twisted, broken, dangerous, disemboweled? I’m shivering with ghoulish glee!

New York Magazine has a brief piece as well, including a YouTube link to this concept art (yeah, the soundtrack is irritating, but the little on-screen comments are worth it):

I do not think I have to tell you how excited I am that Oswald will play a major role.

Just as interesting, though, is the larger picture of Mickey makeover described in the New York Times article, of which Epic Mickey is just a trial balloon:

“Holy cow, the opportunity to mess with one of the most recognizable icons on Planet Earth,” said Warren Spector, the creative director of Junction Point, a Disney-owned game developer that spearheaded Epic Mickey.

The effort to re-engineer Mickey is still in its early stages, but it involves the top creative and marketing minds in the company, all the way up to Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive.

Max Pepeschi: Icons Gone Awry

16 Sep

Max Papeschi‘s work is disturbing and amusing, and some of it is even less for the squeamish than what you see above. Via Daily Obsessional, from which I essentially stole this headline.

Mickey and Minnie JAL Airplanes

24 Jul

I love these custom-painted JAL planes, seen recently on Dark Roasted Blend. There’s a whole bunch more on that page too, including a couple more Mickey but also fun Pokemon, Simpsons, and various other branding.

Omodaka Hidden Mickey

25 Mar

Well, maybe not really a hidden Mickey, maybe more of a decorative Mickey. But I was amused to see the little guy pop up in the background of this video by Omodaka, an avant garde electronic artist I saw this week at US Japan Nite, an event I’d highly recommend to any fan of eclectic, mostly punk new music.

Mickey seemed to get a visible reaction from the hipsters standing next to me in the club. He is after all the leader of the club that’s made for you and me.

Snow Sculptures at Sapporo Snow Festival

8 Feb

Oooh, pretty pretty! Check out the rest of the sculptures at Pink Tentacle.

Many thanks and a tip o’ the hat to my dear spouse for sending me the link.

Fatwa Issued Against Mickey Mouse

20 Sep

From Israel Today:

A prominent Saudi Islamic cleric has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against Mickey Mouse, whom he characterized as an agent of Satan sent to corrupt young minds.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Munajid told Saudi Arabia’s Al-Majd Television that his beef with Mickey is that he is a mouse, a creature that Islam sees as “repulsive and corrupting.”

Al-Munajid explained that Islamic law refers to the mouse as “little corrupter” and a creature that is “steered by Satan,” and grants permission to all Muslims to “kill [mice] in all cases.”

To quote my friend Geoff, who pointed me at this story through his RSS shared feed, “Wow.”

The Defamer gives us a bit more context:

The fatwa has since proven deeply divisive to Palestineans, who only last year were treated by Hamas to a powerful “Martyred Mickey” episode of the popular children’s show Pioneers of Tomorrow — a crisis of allegorical politics that now stands to shatter the rodent relations so painstakingly advanced over the years. We pray for a swift, peaceful accord; it would be a shame to see Sarah Palin’s foreign-policy skills wasted on such a trifle somewhere down the line.

My head hurts. And yes, my Pal Mickey put on his Ramones shirt, also guaranteed to corrupt young minds.

And hey, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you not to point your kids at the “Martyred Mickey” summary, right?

Mickey Mouse: Teaching Tool for Evolution

25 Aug

Boston.com brings us a story from the New York Times (which requires login) of a Florida teacher using images of Mickey Mouse to teach evolution:

A former Navy flight instructor not used to pulling his punches, Campbell fought hard for passage of the new standards. But with his students last spring, he found himself treading carefully as he tried to bridge an ideological divide that stretches well beyond his classroom. He started with Mickey Mouse.

On the projector, Campbell placed slides of the cartoon icon: one at his skinny genesis in 1928, one from his 1940 turn as the impish “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and one of the rounded, ingratiating charmer of Mouse Club fame.

“How,” he asked his students, “has Mickey changed?”

Natives of Disney World’s home state, they waved their hands and called out answers.

“His tail gets shorter,” Bryce volunteered.

“Bigger eyes!” someone else shouted.

“He looks happier,” one girl observed. “And cuter.”

Campbell smiled. “Mickey evolved,” he said. “And Mickey gets cuter because Walt Disney makes more money that way. That is ‘selection.’ ”

Later, he would get to the touchier part, about how the minute changes in organisms that drive biological change arise spontaneously, without direction. And how a struggle for existence among naturally varying individuals has helped to generate every species, living and extinct, on the planet.

What a wonderful companion piece this is to the news that vintage images of our dear little rodent may in fact be public domain! Leaving aside of course the stormy politics over teaching evolution, and of Florida’s decision that it must be taught, I’m sure there are plenty of teachers out there who could develop innovative curriculum using Mickey’s familiar and appealing image, and perhaps even distribute that curriculum under a Creative Commons license.

There are good reasons for intellectual property to make its way into the public domain. And it is, of course, ironic that the Mickey Mouse Protection Act may not in fact have covered vintage Mickey at all.

(Hat tip: BoingBoing.)

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