Have a lot of fondness for 'House of Mouse'. Love Disney and the concept was such an interesting and for Disney shows at the time a unique one. There are times where it could have done more with the concept, with showing more of some of the guests and not focusing all the featured cartoons on Mickey and the gang. It is however so much fun and how it makes an effort to retain the spirit of the classic old cartoons is to be lauded.
"Mickey vs. Shelby" is another one of those very enjoyable but not quite one of my favourites episodes. Once again, really like that it and the rest of the show tries to and succeeds in making the personalities of Mickey and the rest of the gang true to those of their "golden age" ones when they first came out (1930s-1950s), especially Donald. Except that Mickey is far more interesting in personality in 'House of Mouse', feels like a lead character, is used well and isn't over-shadowed by the rest of the characters. Minnie is also more resourceful.
There is a lot to like here. Yes, even with Estelle Harris overdoing it badly as Mrs Turtle again. As said for other episodes she features in almost all her lines are practically yelled and there's little subtlety here, and it does grate.
Part of me actually doesn't mind Baby Shelby, am going out on a limb saying this. Sure he is a total pest, annoying (especially that laugh) and essentially a one-joke character (don't be fooled by the cute exterior), but he has good comic timing, is responsible for a lot of well-engineered and funny gags (both in the House of Mouse and the featured cartoons) and his chemistry with Mickey and especially Donald is a delight. Besides it's not far off from the opponents in the old Mickey and especially Donald cartoons, there are a fair share of pests and brats in them, it doesn't stop the cartoons from being as good as they are.
In "Mickey vs. Shelby" there are two cartoons featured and ones that are actually relevant to the story going on in the House of Mouse, although fond of the show not many episodes do this. 'Donald's Shell Shots' and 'Domesticated Donald' epitomise all the above, especially in regard to Baby Shelby and the quality of the gags. Some of the gags are fairly violent without being sadistic, especially in 'Donald's Shell Shots', and one does feel sorry for Donald in both cartoons, he has a very hard time in them.
As hoped, it is always nostalgic seeing characters from various Disney films, cartoons and shows. There are some really nice character moments and touches, especially the "deer in the highlights" bit with Bambi and Benny and the Disney character-inspired names for the candy bars (very like the food menu on the show). It was genius too to have Kathryn Beaumont voicing Alice, a very rare case of the original voice actor of older (talking pre-Renaissance period) Disney films returning, the main reason being a good deal of them are dead. The "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" bit was sweet.
While not surprising in outcome, the story is lively and engaging, kept afloat by the character interaction, characters and the atmosphere. The writing is clever and very funny, even with the deliberately corny moment and pun which made me grin rather than groan.
Furthermore, the animation is very colourful, smooth in movement and with some meticulous detail. The cheap recycling footage for the audience reactions at the end of the featured cartoons does jar and annoy though. The music is suitably groovy and cleverly used, while the theme song is one of the catchiest of any Disney show in the past twenty years.
Voice acting is very good apart from Harris.
Overall, very enjoyable. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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