Mickey & Minnie: 10 Classic Shorts, Volume 1 Blu-ray Review

3.5 Stars Aimed more at the kids
Mickey & Minnie: 10 Classic Shorts Review

As part of the studio’s 100th anniversary, Disney has released Mickey & Minnie: 10 Classic Shorts, Volume 1 on Blu-ray.

Steamboat Willie (1928)
Released: 01 Jan 1929
Rated: TV-Y7
Runtime: 8 min
Director: Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney
Genre: Animation, Short, Comedy
Cast: Charlotte Jamquie, Walt Disney
Writer(s): Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks
Plot: Mickey Mouse is a mischievous deckhand on a riverboat that is under the command of the tyrannical Captain Pete.
IMDB rating: 7.5
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 23 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc Blu-ray keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 02/07/2023
MSRP: $17.99

The Production: 3.5/5

As Walt Disney often said of his studio, “It all started with a mouse,” and what better way to kick off (at least on home video) Disney’s 100th anniversary than to release a collection of animated shorts featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. If that is all that this release was, it would have been very welcomed by Mickey’s long-time fans. Unfortunately, as a way to appeal to a much younger audience, the studio decided to create interstitials with Mickey and Minnie providing voiceovers as they look at their scrapbook and reminisce about the short we are about to watch (essentially providing a summary of the plot of each short). That would have been fine if the viewer had an option to easily skip over these by simply hitting the chapter next button (or even better, an option to view the shorts with or without these introductions on the main menu), but the only way to skip over these is to hit the fast forward button on the remote.

For the most part, this is a fairly solid collection of shorts, although technically, these are not all “Mickey Mouse” short subjects, as two of them are billed on screen as “Figaro” shorts (with Minnie in a supporting role). The shorts are presented in no particular order, not even by chronological release date. The other issue potential buyers need to be aware of is that four of these shorts were previously released as part of 2018’s Celebrating Mickey release (indicated below with *). The ten shorts included in this “first” volume are (in order of appearance):

Steamboat Willie (1928)*
Brave Little Tailor (1938)*
The Little Whirlwind (1941)*
Mickey’s Delayed Date (1947)
On Ice (1935)
Hawaiian Holiday (1937)
Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip (1940)
Figaro and Frankie (1947)
Bath Day (1946)
Thru the Mirror (1936)*

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

All of the animated shorts included in this collection are presented in their proper 1.37:1 aspect ratios (although some opening titles are window-boxed), with the newly created interstitials in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. As expected, the shorts have been cleaned up rather extensively, removing most of the dirt and scratches as well as any evidence of film grain. That being said, many of the backgrounds do retain some noticeable texture, as if they were drawn on paper rather than painted on animation cels. Steamboat Willie, the only black and white short included in this volume, has nice contrast that provides a large degree of varying greyscale along with fairly deep blacks. The rest of the shorts are in color, and exhibit those vividly without appearing overly saturated. There were no visible compression artifacts whatsoever on the BD25 disc.

Audio: 4/5

The default audio on the Blu-ray disc is lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, encoded at 320 kbps. The audio on the shorts have also been cleaned up to be virtually free of any hiss or pops (Steamboat Willie even sounds terrific). Overall fidelity is excellent and dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 0/5

Other than the included DVD copy and Movies Anywhere digital code, the disc contains no special features whatsoever.

Overall: 3.5/5

While it is nice to see Disney get back to releasing their classic shorts on Blu-ray, Mickey & Minnie, Volume 1 suffers from annoying interstitials that cannot be easily skipped as well as including four shorts previously available on the last Mickey Mouse collection. Hopefully, future volumes will rectify these issues.

(Volume 1 is only available on Prime digitally – but Vol 2 is sill available below)

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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Rob W

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"That being said, many of the backgrounds do retain some noticeable texture, as if they were drawn on paper rather than painted on animation cels. "

That's because they were hand-painted on paper and not animation cells.
 

Konstantinos

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I'm curious, why don't you love film grain in animation @Todd Erwin ?
I assume you like it in live action films, don't you?
And since you rated highly this video presentation, you agree with the removal of grain.
 

Dick

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...In other words, we should maybe stick to the DISNEY TREASURES DVD series, as I suspected when this collection was first announced.
 

Todd Erwin

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I'm curious, why don't you love film grain in animation @Todd Erwin ?
I assume you like it in live action films, don't you?
And since you rated highly this video presentation, you agree with the removal of grain.
I do like film grain, and if there was noticeable film grain, it would have received FIVE STARS.
 

JoeDoakes

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It's just remarkable that Disney would release such a thoughtlessly produced product focusing on its two most popular characters. Perhaps someone is hoping that there never will be a volume 2.
 

Robert Harris

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Todd,

I was going to review, but I presume you won't mind if I append to your work, with which I agree.

I found the release odd in a number of ways.

I seems to return to the old DVD tin format, of throwing shorts on discs with no particular rationale. I also don't understand why the release was limited to ten, as there plenty of space - no extras aside from some idiotic junior high school banter between to voice actors who don't really sound anything like the real Mickey or Minnie. "Boy, Mickey, you were were swell on the dance floor..."

To make matters worse, there's no way around the banter on the DVD, which seems set to "play all," while at least on the Blu, you can make a selection of he short, but you still have to listen to the idiotic banter and view a scrap book. I was waiting for honeymoon nudes to show up. Fortunately, they didn't, but we do get to see Minnie in just a grass skirt and lei, which I found a bit unnerving, as I have no idea how old she was in 1937. Presumably too young to need a top.

There's actually minimal difference between the DVD and Blu-ray from a normal seating distance, as the films weren't highly resolved to begin with, and (as you note) all grain has been removed. In the Blu-ray we do get some faux grain as some sort of minimal video noise.

All in all, an odd selection of scrubbed shorts that are okay. I checked through all of them, and On Ice appeared to be taken from a dupe, but I'm not sure that anyone cares. Probably no one at Disney.

Final thoughts...

Why window-boxed credits? Are these really old transfers?

Was the included version of Steamboat 1.37 or 1.19? I don't recall.


Also have no idea why there's a message at the beginning of the DVD that has all the resolution VHS.

They could have done something special, but the end result is rather "meh..."

Do I look forward to a second selection of some of the best animated shorts around?

Not really. And that's a pity.

The big positive here is for slipcover collectors, as it's a pretty one, with attractive embossing. What a happy place!
 

RobertMG

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...In other words, we should maybe stick to the DISNEY TREASURES DVD series, as I suspected when this collection was first announced.
People still care about D
Todd,

I was going to review, but I presume you won't mind if I append to your work, with which I agree.

I found the release odd in a number of ways.

I seems to return to the old DVD tin format, of throwing shorts on discs with no particular rationale. I also don't understand why the release was limited to ten, as there plenty of space - no extras aside from some idiotic junior high school banter between to voice actors who don't really sound anything like the real Mickey or Minnie. "Boy, Mickey, you were were swell on the dance floor..."

To make matters worse, there's no way around the banter on the DVD, which seems set to "play all," while at least on the Blu, you can make a selection of he short, but you still have to listen to the idiotic banter and view a scrap book. I was waiting for honeymoon nudes to show up. Fortunately, they didn't, but we do get to see Minnie in just a grass skirt and lei, which I found a bit unnerving, as I have no idea how old she was in 1937. Presumably too young to need a top.

There's actually minimal difference between the DVD and Blu-ray from a normal seating distance, as the films weren't highly resolved to begin with, and (as you note) all grain has been removed. In the Blu-ray we do get some faux grain as some sort of minimal video noise.

All in all, an odd selection of scrubbed shorts that are okay. I checked through all of them, and On Ice appeared to be taken from a dupe, but I'm not sure that anyone cares. Probably no one at Disney.

Final thoughts...


Why window-boxed credits? Are these really old transfers?

Was the included version of Steamboat 1.37 or 1.19? I don't recall.


Also have no idea why there's a message at the beginning of the DVD that has all the resolution VHS.

They could have done something special, but the end result is rather "meh..."

Do I look forward to a second selection of some of the best animated shorts around?

Not really. And that's a pity.


The big positive here is for slipcover collectors, as it's a pretty one, with attractive embossing. What a happy place!
Sad that they restored the classic library yet they really have NOT one person to advocate for mining them for fans who want them = what a sin
 

Timothy E

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I'm curious, why don't you love film grain in animation @Todd Erwin ?
I assume you like it in live action films, don't you?
And since you rated highly this video presentation, you agree with the removal of grain.
You raise a good question. Do we need grain in animation? I tend to view animation as a different creature from live action.

I am sure everyone has their own opinions on grain in animation. I look at it this way: did Walt Disney want his animation to be grainy?

Animators use film as a medium as a platform for their artwork and storytelling. Did Walt Disney ever finish an animated project and complain that there was not enough grain obscuring the artwork? Or Chuck Jones? Or any of the great animators? Or did they intend their artistry to transcend the medium of film?

No one wants to see DNR that changes or removes the artwork. Is there any harm if animation is displayed without grain so long as it retains true fidelity to the artistic intent?
Opinions may vary.
 

Todd Erwin

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I also don't understand why the release was limited to ten, as there plenty of space - no extras aside from some idiotic junior high school banter between to voice actors who don't really sound anything like the real Mickey or Minnie. "Boy, Mickey, you were were swell on the dance floor..."
The studio could have fit more shorts if they had opted to use a BD50 rather than a BD25, which is pretty full.

Mickey-Minnie.jpg
 

Robert Harris

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The studio could have fit more shorts if they had opted to use a BD50 rather than a BD25, which is pretty full.

View attachment 173542
Thanks for checking that. Makes sense. There are so many of these shorts, they’ll probably never get through them. Amazed that we didn’t at least get Flowers and Trees.

I wonder how many other sites will review this honestly?
 

Robert Harris

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You raise a good question. Do we need grain in animation? I tend to view animation as a different creature from live action.

I am sure everyone has their own opinions on grain in animation. I look at it this way: did Walt Disney want his animation to be grainy?

Animators use film as a medium as a platform for their artwork and storytelling. Did Walt Disney ever finish an animated project and complain that there was not enough grain obscuring the artwork? Or Chuck Jones? Or any of the great animators? Or did they intend their artistry to transcend the medium of film?

No one wants to see DNR that changes or removes the artwork. Is there any harm if animation is displayed without grain so long as it retains true fidelity to the artistic intent?
Opinions may vary.
We do, because it tends to hold together the layers of animation, and make non-movement less evident.

Grain still needs to be reduced because it’s tripled, but not removed.
 

Lord Dalek

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Flowers and Trees has been on blu-ray for a VERY long time. It was included on Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs in 1080p from an older ip.
 

Robert Harris

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Flowers and Trees has been on blu-ray for a VERY long time. It was included on Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs in 1080p from an older ip.
Pretty much all reasonably important shorts have bee on something. They love to reuse titles.
 
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Paul Penna

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We do, because it tends to hold together the layers of animation, and make non-movement less evident.

Grain still needs to be reduced because it’s tripled, but not removed.
Has it been established that Disney retains - some? many? all? none? - of the oringinal successive-exposure negatives of their Technicolor shorts and features?
 
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