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.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 0 Hr. 26 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copykeep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 11/05/2013
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.
The Production Rating: 4/5
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.
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.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
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.
Audio Rating: 4/5
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.
Special Features Rating: 3/5
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.
DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed in the package.
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.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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