Thursday, September 16, 2010

How To Play Baseball

This short is a no brainer for me. I love Goofy. I love baseball. Why would I not love Goofy playing baseball? How To Play Baseball is a fantastic piece of comedic animation, and demonstrates the Disney studio using new techniques to make us laugh, and expanding the realm of what Goofy can do.

The first new technique I saw was not necessarily all that new, but was used to great effect in this short. The use of simple diagrams, with narration carrying the narrative, was something we saw in Four Methods of Flush Riveting. In that short, it was dry and humorless. Here, it’s used to great effect, such as the diagram of how the players move on the diamond.

The second technique that expands Goofy’s horizons is the use of multiple Goofs to create the short. We’ve seen this once before, in The Art of Self Defense, but there it was two Goofys fighting each other. Here, we have a whole baseball team full of Goofy players fighting it out. The pitcher Goofy throws it to batter Goofy, and the action continues from there.

What I love about this short is the slapstick quality. Everything is a joke. It’s as frenetic a pace as we saw in the early, early Mickey Mouse shorts, where the jokes piled on a mile a minute. Everything is used for comedy, from the delivery of the pitcher, to the slide of a runner, who ends up sliding down and into the ground, with a pile of dirt on top of him.

The second half of the short focuses on the final game of the World Series, and puts all kinds of baseball issues in the spotlight. The narrator is fantastic, because he uses all sorts of baseball lingo in his descriptions of the action. But rather than keep one piece of jargon going, he changes constantly, adding to the comedic pace. It’s a great little device used to heighten the hilarity.

I can’t recommend this short highly enough, but you probably knew that before you read my review. I love Goofy and especially the “How To” shorts, so this one was a great example of that. Watch it and enjoy!

All images copyright Disney. All rights reserved.

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