Season 3, Episode 16: “Ku'u Lei Melody” 4/22/16
Starring: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy
Costarring: Minnie Mouse
Plot: A relaxing vacation turns into a quest for a mystical island melody.
This is the third long-form short of the series following Potatoland (2013) and Wonders of the Deep (2015).
A discerning eye may spy Minnie riding her bike past Mickey during the opening scene.
Mickey isn’t wearing his gloves in this short.
I’m digging Goofy’s blonde mane and Donald’s Hawaiian straw hat. Another excellent job by both the hair and makeup team as well as the wardrobe department.
According to Goofy, the melodic vision Mickey sees is an “akua – an island spirit.”
That pink starfish stuck to Donald’s face looks very similar to the one that latches onto Donald’s butt and antagonizes Pluto from Mickey’s Hawaiian Holiday (1937).
The sign reading “Kapu” seen outside the tiki temple refers to the ancient Hawaiian code of laws and conduct. Or, more probable in this instance, it can also translates to “forbidden,” “keep out,” “holy” and/or “sacred.” In fact, Lilo had the sign hanging outside her door for privacy in Disney’s Lilo and Stitch (2002).
The tiki totems (but more specifically the bottom face that says “gesundheit”) is a clear reference to Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
Also, as a slight nod to the Tiki Room, is the large tree that Mickey slides down revealing its face. That’s Tangaroa – father of all gods and goddesses. He’s the tree standing just outside the Tiki Room’s front doors.
If the tune playing during the montage of the trio searching for Akua sounds familiar it’s because it’s called the “Hawaiian War Chant” and has been featured in both the aforementioned Tiki Room and The Lion King (1994) where a lei’d and grass skirted Timon sings it while him and Pumba attempt to distract the hyenas while trying to sneak back into the pride lands.
The two chubby sharks the gang encounter sure do resemble Bruce from Finding Nemo (2003). Then again there are two of them and they both can’t be Bruce. However, they do look a lot more stylized and, thusly, more subject to specificity than the great white from Captain Donald (2014).
The final duet between Mickey and Minnie is called “Pua Nani E” and was composed just for this short.
Final Grade: B+
Great art, great music but just an average storyline… I would’ve liked to have seen maybe Lilo and/or Stitch and perhaps some more Tiki Room stuff but we got what we got. I feel bad for poor Goofy and Donald; they just wanted to catch some waves and chill on the beach but Mickey’s myopic focus on finding that melody forced his pals to sneak into a spooky Tiki temple, narrowly escape an erupting volcano and scale the side of a mountain before getting violently pin-balled around and across the islands of Hawaii. Mickey went all Ahab and still got the girl in the end.