Sunday, March 8, 2020


When Disney finalized its acquisition of 20th Century Fox and other related assets in March of last year, some measure of celebration was done by Fox Animation with a short clip of “The Simpsons” hailing their new Disney overlords. It is not difficult to recall how a throwaway gag in an episode of the long-running animated sitcom “predicted” Fox as a subsidiary of the House of Mouse. And it looks like Disney has reciprocated this warm reception by now-20th Century Animation in giving them a welcome spot to show an animated short ahead of the latest Disney-Pixar feature film, “Onward.”

Comic Book Resources reports that “The Simpsons” get to be the opening act of another animated film for a second time when their short feature “Playdate with Destiny” was put in front of “Onward” from Disney and Pixar since its February 29 advance screenings to the March 6 official premiere. It was also something of an experiment in how best to encourage inter-IP synergy considering that “The Simpsons” by default are a PG franchise compared to the G that is the norm for Disney and Pixar productions. From what has been seen since the release of “Onward,” it could work.

In the same vein as many of the Disney- and Pixar-produced shorts that have headlined the screenings of many of their animated films, the “Simpsons: Playdate with Destiny” animation is primarily non-dialogue. That may be because the lead character is voiceless Simpson baby Maggie, who feels love at first sight while playing in the park with a boy named Hudson. What follows is a great example of mundane sights and thoughts made epic by a child’s imagination, where Maggie and Hudson play-act in a spy film-like whirlwind romance. When Maggie is taken to play at a different park the next day, she goes runaway baby just to reunite with Hudson.

Of course, it would not be “The Simpsons” if there were no biting humor to complement the physical slapstick. Plenty of background events and visuals to the Maggie-Hudson “date” scream parental bonus, along with one scene where Maggie acts as if baby-formula milk were booze. Yes, it goes that far, but not further as to add a P to G. And of course 20th Century Animation is still milking the acquisition by Disney for all its worth, with the Mouse-customized logo transitions to sell it.

Disney-Pixar’s 3D-animated “Onward,” being preceded by 2D “The Simpsons” short “Playdate of Destiny,” are still showing in cinemas this week.

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