Sunday, December 30, 2007

How to Hook Up Your Home Theater

If we can go on the assumption that Goofy has some degree of canine genetics in his biology, then the new cartoon How to Hook Up Your Home Theater proves that you can in fact, teach an old dog new tricks.

Currently showing in theaters with National Treasure: Book of Secrets, this new animated vignette is the first in a series of new cartoon short subjects that were commissioned by John Lasseter and Ed Catmull shortly after taking the reins at Walt Disney Feature Animation. It is wonderful marriage of nostalgia to contemporary popular culture, applying the formula from the classic 1940s and 1950s era Goofy "How-To" cartoons to digital age home electronics. It's a fun and very often hilarious combination.

Like its predecessors such as How to Be a Detective, How to Swim or Home Made Home, How to Hook Up Your Home Theater comes out of the gate fast and never slows down until the end credits. It pays immediate homage to the original Sport Goofy films with a direct connection to How to Play Football, by utilizing the original stadium background from that 1944 production and expounding similar pratfall-filled gameplay. But the shorts contemporary sensibilities soon emerge. For, while the mid-20th century everyman clearly loved football, his early 21st century counterpart loves it equally as well but just translated to a mammoth television screen with all the accompanying home theater bells and whistles.

With his ever present off-screen narrator, the Goof explores the world of home entertainment via both sharp witticisms and broad physical comedy. The moment Goofy walks into the Shiny Stuff superstore and subsequently (and hilariously) professes his love for a wall-sized television, you realize that this animation golden age superstar has definitely embraced the modern age. The short pokes fun at numerous home theater conventions, including delivery windows, instruction manuals, tangled cables and universal remotes.

And for the quintessential Disney geek such as myself, there are plenty of hidden details and inside jokes. References can be found to Mickey Mouse, Dopey and even a supporting character from Pinocchio. In addition, quick but distinct homages are paid to both John Lasseter and Walt Disney himself. But especially notable was use of the original early era design styles of both the opening title cards and the end credits. It is both a testament to, and a celebration of, the Disney Studio's legacy of cartoon shorts, of which How to Hook Up Your Home Theater is a most welcome addition.

13 comments:

Davelandweb said...

I gotta' say - this was more enjoyable than National Treasure 2!

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

We ahven't made it to see the movie yet, but my wife and I will be there in short order now!

My love of Goofy knows no bounds, and I am happy to that the Studios have found their way back to including some shorts on movies (much in the way Roger Rabbit appeared in 1990). Here's hoping that this cartoon, and the other cartoons being produced, are the beginning of a long lasting trend.

By the way, the title, How to Hook Up Your Home Theatre, perfect for this time of year when many people are attempting this very thing. I'm willing to bet that they probably look exactly like Goofy in this cartoon!

Eric said...

I agree with dave- the short was better than Natl Treasure 2. Anyone else catch the hidden Mickey?

Digital Jedi said...

I had no knowledge that there was going to be a cartoon at the start of the film. It was a pleasant surprise in that respect and in the fact that it was absolutely perfect. I had an inkling that Lasseter had something to do with it, but wasn't sure. It seemed to go over well with the audience as well, which, if your familiar with my home town, is hard to do.

Don't let the National Treasure 2 critics fool you. It was an exciting film for those with an adventurous spirit, and those who know the difference between unlikely and impossible.

KINGCRAB said...

This was a great short!

I caught several of the aforementioned inside jokes.

One in-joke I'd like to point out as the moose head trophy in Goofy's living room, which could either be Melvin from the Country Bear Jamboree or a reference to that character/attraction.

I look forward to seeing more new shorts and hope that they'll even make new starring cartoons for Mickey, Donald, Pluto, Chip & Dale and even Roger Rabbit.

Davelandweb said...

Jedi - Love Indiana Jones and other well done adventure films; Cage is terrible (about as genuine as his hair plugs, teeth, and nose), and although a different hunt, NT2 is just more of the same from the first one. It just seems like a B movie version of Indiana Jones. But I digress...this is supposed to be about Goofy. Long live traditional hand drawn animation!

Disneyana World said...

This might be a good excuse to see this bad movie.

Rita said...

It is worth it. GO and SEE this new short. Many people in the theatre enjoyed it. Lots of laughing. By the way....I caught the hidden mickey. However, I did miss some of the stuff mentioned in the article. Too bad!! Maybe Jeff will elaborate in the future.

Anonymous said...

Look for the pictures of Walt Disney and John Lassiter on Goofy's fireplace mantle. Excellent tribute!

Joey V said...

Jeff, I agree completely. It was great to see that short. I think the Pixar guys know what they are doing, don't you?

-- jvnoledawg

Mr. Semaj said...

I watched the movie, though I meant to see the first Nat'l Treasure beforehand, but I mainly paid to see the cartoon. And it's probably why Nat'l Treasure is doing as financially well as it is.

Shame that the studio had abandoned theatrical shorts for so long. Now there are finally people at Disney doing things right.

Kyle Olson said...

any idea when or where this is going to be released??

i REALLY want to find this...but so far, no luck :(

Anonymous said...

Why isn't this on YouTube yet?!!