Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cold Storage

Once again, we have a Pluto short where we see Mickey’s dog match wits with an adversary over some form of comfort.  The formula is set by this point in 1951, and the Disney artists didn’t deviate from it that much.  That does make for some “smaller” feeling shorts, but overall does add some consistency to the cartoons.  None stand out too much, and none seem that weak.  Cold Storage is perfectly ensconced in that middle ground as entertaining, just not that memorable.

The adversary in this short is a stork, looking for a way to stay warm in what seems like unseasonably cold weather.  The solution that the stork finds is to steal a nearby doghouse, which just happens to be Pluto’s.  The obvious tension this causes when Pluto himself wants to stay warm makes for the comedy of the short.  It plays out very much like you’d expect, with a back and forth between the two.

I will say that the stork has some great comedic activity in this one, because he manages to convince Pluto that something weird is going on.  My favorite shot in the entire short is Pluto looking into his dog dish in disbelief as the doghouse walks off behind him.  That is a unique gag that plays well off of Pluto’s normal headlong charge into situations.  It’s funny, in a way that the rest of the short is not.

It’s not that the stork interactions with Pluto are not amusing, they most certainly are.  Watching him pick Pluto up and dump him in a frozen over puddle was pretty good, as was the stork repeatedly picking up the entire doghouse and shifting it around the stationary Pluto.  These are all fun gags.  But they’re the kinds of things we have seen before with Chip and Dale antagonizing Pluto or Donald.  It’s all part and parcel of a Disney Studio in the 1950s that had turned its efforts back to feature work.

The whole short ends bizarrely, as the temperature goes from frozen to sweltering in mere seconds.  I have no idea how this happened and it’s not really explained in the short.  It leaves the stork and Pluto in the position of finding relief from the heat rather than heat from the cold.  It’s a truly weird twist ending, and especially more so when the stork tries to keep Pluto from escaping the doghouse.  The sadistic stork is just a fitting end to Cold Storage, a short that struggles to escape the doghouse of 1950s Disney shorts. 

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