He threw out six months of work on Pinocchio because he thought the character wasn’t appealing enough. So what would Walt Disney think of his studio’s new Roger Rabbit cartoon, Trail Mix-Up? (The nine-minute short opened in theaters March 12 on a bill with the live-action feature A Far Off Place.) Based on his dedication to certain sacred principles, here’s why Walt would hate it:
IT’S TOO GROSS. Trail Mix-Up may be rated G, but it isn’t above bathroom humor. The setting is Yellowstain National Park. When Roger rescues Baby Herman from the blades in a lumber mill, he makes a bowel-control crack: ”You had me worried. I almost dropped a log back there.” And while roasting hot dogs over a campfire, he says: ”Scoot back, Baby Herman. You don’t wanna burn your wienie.”
IT’S TOO SEXY. Seeing ample-bosomed Jessica as a forest ranger leaning over to impart breathy advice on fire safety is enough to make Roger self-immolate.
IT’S TOO VIOLENT. Closer to The Simpsons‘ ”Itchy ‘n’ Scratchy Show” than Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale, Trail Mix-Up is nonstop mayhem. This kind of hyperviolence fits satirically in the hard-edged, PG-rated Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but it seems cruel and unfunny in a stand-alone cartoon. Baby Herman’s mother threatening Roger with a hunting knife? A close-up of the rabbit’s face covered with bee-sting welts? A saw blade that loudly grinds the bunny down to a score of little bunnies? Ick. It’s enough to make an audience ‘toon out.