Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pluto's Purchase

Off the high of Melody Time, we come to the next short released in 1948, which is Pluto’s Purchase, a fairly standard bit of business that is entertaining if not outstanding.  Pluto is engaged by Mickey to run an errand, which is an interesting use of the main dog.  I wish I could get my kids to get to be as dogged in their pursuits as Pluto is in this short.

Pluto is given money and sent to the butcher shop for a huge link sausage.  The fun begins when Butch the bulldog sees what Pluto is up to and decides to intervene.  Butch has clashed with Pluto before, but this time rather than Pluto initiating the fight, it’s more Butch trying to subvert Pluto’s goals than the other way around.  It’s a nice change to the normal formula that has the added bonus of providing set up for a great ending joke.

The premise is fine, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired.  There are not really any standout gags or sequences in this short.  Nothing really measures up to the stuff we saw in the earlier shorts of 1948.  It’s not that they are bad by any means, just ordinary.  We see Butch try to trip Pluto, retaliation, a stolen sausage and a chase scene through the streets.  It’s enjoyable to watch, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

It’s the chase scene that is the part that really disappoints.  As I said, Butch is the one who starts the trouble this time, not Pluto.  But when Pluto sees that Butch is involved, he runs like crazy, just like he does in every other short these two are involved in.  While it makes sense because Butch is larger than Pluto, it doesn’t fit with the ethos of the short.

Where Pluto’s Purchase redeems itself is the fun twist ending.  I won’t spoil it, but there’s a neat reveal of why Mickey is trying to get the sausage that turns the whole short on its head.  That original bit of business makes the other parts worthwhile.  So it ends up that Pluto’s Purchase isn’t the best Pluto short ever, but it’s still a fun and quick moving work.

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