Runaway Brain is an Academy Award-nominated animated short film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation Paris, and starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto. It was released on August 11, 1995, attached to the feature A Kid in King Arthur's Court. In international theaters, it was shown in front of A Goofy Movie.
On a dark and stormy evening, Minnie comes home to find Mickey playing a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs video game and becomes angry over Mickey having forgotten that tonight is the anniversary of their first date. Mickey comes up with the last-minute idea to take her to a miniature golf course and shows her a newspaper ad for it, but she instead notices another ad for a trip to Hawaii, which costs $999.99, and mistakes it for Mickey's gift. Mickey frets over how he can make enough money for the trip when Pluto shows him an ad to work with a mad scientist named Dr. Frankenollie for a day of "mindless work" that would pay the amount of money Mickey needs.
Upon reaching the home of the primate-like Dr. Frankenollie, Mickey is dropped down a trapdoor into Frankenollie's laboratory; the doctor reveals a plan to switch Mickey's brain with that of his enormous monster, Julius. The experiment causes an explosion that kills Frankenollie, but the brain transfer is a success, with Mickey's mind ending up in Julius' giant body and Julius in control of Mickey's body.
The dimwitted and insane Julius finds Mickey's wallet and notices a photo of Minnie, whom he instantly becomes smitten with. He escapes from the laboratory and finds Minnie while she is shopping for swimsuits; Minnie immediately mistakes Julius for Mickey. Mickey arrives in Julius' body to save Minnie, but Minnie becomes terrified of his appearance and screams for help, until Mickey convinces her of who he is and places her on the top of a skyscraper.
Julius continues to pursue Minnie, leading to a battle between Mickey and Julius during which they land on a telephone line and get zapped, switching their minds back to their original bodies. Mickey continues to fight Julius, the two of them reaching the top of the tower, where Mickey manages to rescue Minnie as well as tie Julius down with rope. Mickey uses a huge billboard for a Hawaiian vacation getaway to suspend Julius over the city streets, with the giant reeling up and down like a yo-yo.
Finally, Mickey and Minnie travel to Hawaii together on an inflatable boat pulled by Julius as he swims after the photo of Minnie in Mickey's wallet, which is attached to a fishing line held by Mickey.
- Wayne Allwine as Mickey Mouse
- Russi Taylor as Minnie Mouse
- Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frankenollie
- Jim Cummings as Julius
- Bill Farmer as Pluto
When the film was first being pitched, Dr. Frankenollie's role was played by Professor Ecks from Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse comic strip storyline Blaggard Castle, though studio executives didn't go for it and the new character was created.
After the theatrical runs of A Kid in King Arthur's Court, A Goofy Movie and George of the Jungle, Disney kept Runaway Brain out of circulation because of its use of an "evil Mickey" character and the darkly comedic death of the professor.
Home video releases
- Mickey's Greatest Hits
- Mickey's Greatest Hits
- Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection (Disney Movies Anywhere Debut/Exclusive)
In other media
- Julius appears as an optional secret boss in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance in Traverse Town.
- Zazu makes two cameos in the short.
- When the video-game Dopey is killed, the "Wilhelm scream" is heard.
- On Mickey's wall is a poster with a picture of a mousetrap, labeled Just Say No.
- Julius finds a black and white picture of Mickey from Steamboat Willie in Mickey's wallet (to which Mickey comments, "Oh, that's old."). During the end credits you also hear a modern Hawaiian-themed version of the tune from that particular cartoon.
- Mickey's arrival at Dr. Frankenollie's street is a parody of the famous poster image from the film, The Exorcist.
- This is currently the only theatrical Mickey Mouse short where Jim Cummings voices Pete, since in the 2013 short Get a Horse!, his voice was provided by archived audio clips of Billy Bletcher or Will Ryan.
- As Mickey is falling down the trap-door chute, a pink-slip with the initials "J.K." is glimpsed fluttering down the chute with him. This is a reference to the firing of Jeffrey Katzenberg from the Disney corporation just the previous year.
- Runaway Brain was also planned to be attached to 101 Dalmatians but was pulled out of theaters at the last minute so that trailers for Hercules, That Darn Cat, Jungle 2 Jungle, and George of the Jungle could play instead.
- Mickey seems to be playing the video game on a Sega Genesis.
- The short's presentation on the Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2 DVD set has a slight audio sync problem, which was also used on the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection digital copy. That sync problem was Minnie saying "Mickey?" when Mickey, in Julius' body, reveals to her who he is. She was supposed to say it when her mouth wasn't covered by her skirt. The audio problem has her say it a little earlier as her skirt still covered her mouth.
- This movie was mentioned in Epic Mickey when Oswald asks Mickey for more confessions, which he doesn't have any. Oswald then lists some things, one being "brain-swapping". Even though Mickey took part in it, he didn't have the idea to do it.
- For unknown reasons prior to 2017, the restored Disney Movies Anywhere-exclusive digital version of this short film strangely used the 2011 Miramax logo at the beginning (followed by the retained 1995 Walt Disney Pictures logo) and the closing Miramax logo at the very end. (Miramax was formerly owned by Disney from 1993 to 2010.)
- As of October 12, 2017, the Miramax logo has been removed from the Movies Anywhere release of the short, typically correcting the error.
- Runaway Brain at The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts
- Why you may never see Runaway Brain, Disney’s monstrous Mickey short (Polygon)