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    Mickey's Christmas Carol Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Disney

    Oct 28 2013 01:40 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol must be the most adapted literary work in the history of entertainment. Mounted for the stage, the movies, and for television, the tale has been given everything from straight renditions to variations featuring everyone from Mr. Magoo to the Muppets. In 1983, Disney presented its most iconic character Mickey Mouse in its own adaptation of the story in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, a 26-minute animated short film which earned an Oscar nomination as Best Animated Short for that year.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Disney
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Audio: English 2.0 DD
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
    • Rating: G
    • Run Time: 0 Hr. 26 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
    • Case Type: keep case in a slipcover
    • Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
    • Region: ABC
    • Release Date: 11/05/2013
    • MSRP: $36.99

    The Production Rating: 4/5

    Does anyone really need to have a summary of this famous story? Let it suffice to say that Disney has peopled the faithfully-adapted narrative with characters from its own pantheon of animated figures. Scrooge McDuck is, quite naturally, Scrooge. Mickey Mouse plays Bob Cratchit, and Donald Duck is Scrooge’s nephew Fred. Goofy gets to take on the character of Jacob Marley (though in his case, he bumbles his way through his part of the story as one would expect) while the three ghosts are played by Jiminy Cricket (Past), Willie the Giant (Present), and Pete (Yet to Come). It’s all neatly compacted into a half hour quick take on the classic tale. Scattered among this account in small roles are characters from other Disney features. Characters from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad play Fezziwig and the collectors for the poor, and even Ichabod Crane’s horse Gunpowder gets worked into the story. Disney buffs will have a field day spotting many other characters in the backgrounds from numerous other sources in the Disney legacy.

    There’s nothing remotely innovative about this telling of the story apart from the familiar characters taking on the beloved roles, and the animation while excellent in all respects shows that solid if unsensational Disney stamp from that period in its animation history. Alan Young gives Scrooge McDuck a lilting Scottish burr, Wayne Allwine plays Mickey for the first time, and the wonderful Clarence Nash gets his final crack at Donald. Hal Smith does Goofy’s voice this time around, and the animators even figure a way to get Goofy’s familiar yelping fall worked into the story. The film’s running time is so curtailed that it’s more difficult to get wrapped up in the story here than it is in more extended versions that plumb the emotional depths to much greater advantage. This version is definitely kid friendly unquestionably on purpose for the audience it is serving.

    Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film is presented here framed at 1.78:1 and is offered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. It’s a gorgeous transfer with solid lines never offering even a whisper of aliasing and colors rich and deep with never a sign of blooming. There is also no banding present to mar the video presentation. The film has been divided into 6 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The audio mix is a bit surprising: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround. It’s certainly solid and presents the Christmas song written for the film “Merry Christmas Day” with good fidelity. The dialogue is clear and appears in the center channel. The score and sound effects rest comfortably on the track with the dialogue elements. But any high definition presentation of a Disney classic deserves a lossless audio encode, but there isn't one offered here.

    Special Features: 3/5

    Disney Intermission (HD): when putting the main feature into pause mode, this opens up Disney Intermission, a three-song sing along with Donald and other Disney characters wailing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas, “Deck the Halls,” and “Jingle Bells.” This feature may be turned off in the Set Up menu.

    Disney Short Subjects (32:40, HD): Five winter-themed shorts from the Disney library are presented in high definition. They may be viewed one after another or may be selected separately from the menu:
    • Yodelberg (2013): one of the new output of Mickey Mouse short subjects using a variation of the old black and white incarnations of Mickey and Minnie (except in color and using abstract art techniques). In this one, Mickey’s town is in danger of an avalanche, so he and Minnie do all they can to keep things as quiet as possible. The audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1.
    • The Hockey Champ (1939): Donald shows off his prowess as a hockey player to his nephews, and they seek revenge for his dirty tactics. Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
    • Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952): Chip ‘n’ Dale hide out in the newly decorated tree and cause havoc which Pluto tries to prevent. Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
    • The Art of Skiing (1941): another in the series of Goofy’s “how to” shorts, this is by far the funniest bonus feature in the package, but its video looks the most dated of the four vintage inclusions. Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
    • Corn Chips (1951): Chip ‘n’ Dale discover popcorn and go to war against Donald to retain ownership of the popcorn package. Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
    Promo Trailers (HD): Planes, The Jungle Book, Frozen.

    DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed in the package.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    Mickey’s Christmas Carol is most welcome in high definition (even with a lossy audio track), and the studio has added some new material to pair along with the short subject to round out the package. Some may be disappointed the previous DVD release wasn’t ported over in its entirety, so fans of it will have to retain that DVD to go along with the new inclusions in this latest release if they don't have those earlier bonus shorts in any other form.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
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    26 Comments

    I saw some of the images on Blu-Ray.com. Does every Blu-Ray Disney release look as if it was scrubbed over with a smudgy eraser? Even films that don't need "restoration"?

     

    How do the classic shorts look? I haven't seen many of those on Blu...

    Thanks for the review, Matt. Having just 2.0 sound is fine, as I'm sure it's essentially the original soundtrack, but it is strange that they chose not to use a lossless format. And the price seems a little steep for one half-hour feature and five extra cartoon shorts.

     

    "The Art of Skiing," though, is one of my all-time favorite animated shorts from any studio.

    VERY Overpriced given its length and age.

    Mickey's Christmas Carol Blu-ray Review

     

    Video Rating: 5/5

     

     

    How can two reviews differ so much, it leaves the consumer wondering what is going on, from one review at this site we have this. 

     

    "It’s a gorgeous transfer with solid lines never offering even a whisper of aliasing and colors rich and deep with never a sign of bloom"

     

    Another review says this.

     
    [color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size:12px;]Like [/color]The Sword in the Stone[color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size:12px;] before it, the beloved holiday short film has been scrubbed within an inch of its life, buffed and cleaned past the point of no return, and scrubbed -- then artificially sharpened -- again, presumably [/color]just 'cause[color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size:12px;]. Grain has been almost completely eradicated... along with any semblance of fine detail in the original animation[/color]

     

    [color=rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana, arial, sans-serif;font-size:12px;]"Other anomalies pop up throughout the film -- aliasing, color splitting, significant line smudging (some fine lines have almost been erased), ringing, and even artifacting (the faint blues of Scrooge's eyes are the most frequent offender)"[/color]

     

     

    Now i can understand some differences within reviews where people are at odds but this is a major difference, one site says it's plain awful and this site says its plain great, both cannot be correct, so what is going on here.

     

    I certainly think the images at the "other" site look poor and processed.

    A perfect score for PQ is questionable, to say the least :unsure:

    Not to mention that the cropping is too severe. There is no way that is 1.85 compared to the full-screen cropping. Almost half of the top is gone. And the sides are cropped from the full-screen version as well.

    This is why I have zero desire to upgrade any of my Disney titles to Blu-Ray. They've been 'cloroxing' the color styling of the features on home video for decades. Once in a while a good release may have slipped through the cracks, but in the HD present, Disney aims to displease - and now with the bonus of DNR!

     

    Why did this featurette even need clean up anyway? Or THE LITTLE MERMAID? They're not old. Put them out as is.

    Not only does it look like a smeary mess, it loses the making-of featurette that's been on multiple home video releases.

     

    It's not the only adaptation of A Christmas Carol they've mishandled.

    WTF, sorry but was the reviewer on something, this is a bloody mess.

     

    This is the only comment I will make. Although no it's not..........Matt you need to explain your thinking on this one?

    Nothing to explain. I write about what I see on my display using my equipment. I looked for aliasing. I saw none. I looked for banding. I saw none. I did not notice the same problematic lack of detail and disappearing lines that were in The Sword in the Stone. And it CERTAINLY didn't look smeared. As for the DNR and de-graining, this has been Disney's party line since their very first Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty. I found it no worse than Bambi, Pinocchio, or Alice in Wonderland (to name just a few examples).

    As for the DNR and de-graining, this has been Disney's party line since their very first Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty. I found it no worse than Bambi, Pinocchio, or Alice in Wonderland (to name just a few examples).

     

    You know it happens and yet you fail to call them out on it and instead give them 5/5 top marks, words fail me Matt, you do know the image quality would be considerably better with the film grain left intact, what Disney are doing is revisionism, it's not restoration, they continually disappoint me and i have stopped buying their releases now, hopefully one day they will stop this nonsense but reviewers who fail to call them out don't help matters.

    Nothing to explain. I write about what I see on my display using my equipment. I looked for aliasing. I saw none. I looked for banding. I saw none. I did not notice the same problematic lack of detail and disappearing lines that were in The Sword in the Stone. And it CERTAINLY didn't look smeared. As for the DNR and de-graining, this has been Disney's party line since their very first Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty. I found it no worse than Bambi, Pinocchio, or Alice in Wonderland (to name just a few examples).

    Sorry Matt, the screen grabs i have seen are showing me loss of detail, no grain structure, edges blurred, etc. Can I ask how you are viewing this?

     

    Oh and before anyone say's screen grabs don't mean didly squat think again in this case................

    58" plasma.

    58" plasma.

     

    58" plasma.

    Calibrated?  and what other equipment. It's not my place or experience (as I am not an expert) to put anyone down, but something is wrong with your review. However if this is how you prefer the look of this film so be it and I will leave it to others to discuss the technical side of things.

    Hey Tele...

     

    What are you viewing the screen grabs on?

     

    Your laptop screen? Your laptop connected HDMI to your TV(which is?)? An Ipad connected via the AV adapter into the HDMI on your TV? A windows 8 laptop using WiDi?

    Hey Tele...

     

    What are you viewing the screen grabs on?

     

    Your laptop screen? Your laptop connected HDMI to your TV(which is?)? An Ipad connected via the AV adapter into the HDMI on your TV? A windows 8 laptop using WiDi?

     

    Calibrated lap top, or HDMI connected Laptop to Calibrated Samsung 59" D6900 Plasma, or Panasonic BDT 320 Blu Ray to my Sammy. Why?  even on an uncalibrated monitor you can see problems.

    I've checked out what BR.COM says about the movie. "scrubbed to death, then scrubbed some more".

     

    The screenshots they have, I don't see the problem with them. Granted, I do not own any Disney animation in any format. I have no truck here cause I don't care.

     

    I fail to see how BR.COM rated the disc a 2 of 5.

     

    For the record, they probably scrubbed it cause the vast majority of buyers want "smooth picture". Kids today have grown up on computer animation. Looks to me like Disney tried to create the computer animation look.

    I've checked out what BR.COM says about the movie. "scrubbed to death, then scrubbed some more".

     

    The screenshots they have, I don't see the problem with them. Granted, I do not own any Disney animation in any format. I have no truck here cause I don't care.

     

    I fail to see how BR.COM rated the disc a 2 of 5.

     

    For the record, they probably scrubbed it cause the vast majority of buyers want "smooth picture". Kids today have grown up on computer animation. Looks to me like Disney tried to create the computer animation look.

     

    I care and the screencaps make it very obvious how bad this release is, it's not just screencaps though as we have the reviewer making the point clear as daylight, there is a huge discrepancy between the review here and the review at the other site.

     

    I don't care if people want smooth, it's wrong, it's revisionism and Walt is turning in his grave right now.

     

    I gave up buying Disney a year ago, Bambi is to me an atrocious release, i wish i had kept my DVD of it because despite it's shortcomings it looked more natural to me than the blu ray edition, far too many others have that scrubbed unfilmlike look to them, it causes other problems too, the shot in blurryvision look for one, changed colours for another, the disappearance of finely worked artlines, so many issues, i cannot give Disney a pass.

     

    This would not be acceptable on live action shot films, why is it acceptable on an animated feature, i will tell you it is not.

    Take a look at the Looney Tunes BRs to see how animation created on film is supposed to look. The Tom & Jerry and Betty Boop BRs have their issues, but scrubbing the film grain out with DNR isn't one of them. Disney is further tarnishing its own legacy with each successive format, and people ignoring the issue when they clearly should know better isn't helping.

    I bet the vast majority of Disney BD released get shoved into a $60 BD player and watched on a 26" Dynex in perpetual Vivid...

     

    I get the point. I'm just saying "Disney buyers en masse" don't...nor care...to know better.

    How is something like this acceptable or unnoticeable?

     

    http://images.static...977_6_large.jpg

     

    This isn't a particularly active scene... and look at how much erasing happened! The characters' outlines are just gone, and check out the smudged eyes. This isn't aping the look of "computer animation" in the least. It's just vandalism.

    I'll stay out of this cause I see nothing wrong with that image, but I have zero frame of reference.

    Compare this to Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore. The version on the Blu-ray of Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh looks exactly as it's supposed to without looking eerily unnatural.

    I am still glad I ordered even though Walmart may sell it or BB at a cheaper rate.  The  bonus features is what I want.  Pluto and Chip and Dale have always been my favorite Disney Christmas cartoon.

    It's pretty inexcusable for a Blu-Ray to look worse than a DVD from almost ten years ago. And to give Disney a free pass for this kind of thing (when a live-action release would be raked over the coals for it) doesn't speak well for one's objectivity.