Ring in the holidays with a new 30th Anniversary Special Edition of Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Disney’s timeless tale sparkles like never before on Blu-ray and Digital Copy, with fully-restored classic holiday shorts, plus all-new bonus features.
Make the season merry as Mickey, Goofy, Donald and all their pals star in a heartwarming retelling of Dickens’ unforgettable holiday tale. Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) is far too greedy to understand that Christmas is a time for kindness and generosity. But with the guidance of some wise ghosts (Goofy and Jiminy Cricket) and a bunch of newfound friends, Scrooge learns to embrace the spirit of the season. Share this wonderful holiday treat with the whole family.
Charles Dickens' classic tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge has taken the form of numerous film adaptions. Some of them good ('Scrooged,' or 'The Muppet Christmas Carol') and others not so good (Robert Zemeckis' creepy mo-cap 'A Christmas Carol'). Disney's 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' is too watered down and brief to be considered among the best, but it's far too nostalgically significant to be thrown in with the 'Christmas Carol' chaff.
I've admitted time and again that I simply have a bias towards movies that I grew up watching as a kid. Many of those movies happen to be Disney classics, and other shorts produced by the House of Mouse. 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' was a holiday staple in my family growing up. Our Disney VHS collection was extensive, but if I remember right 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' was actually self-recorded onto a blank VHS, complete with hilarious holiday commercials from the 1980s. Every year we'd root around in our pile of crudely marked VHS tapes to find 'Mickey's Christmas Carol.' Every year the tape became more and more degraded until it was basically unwatchable. Ah, memories!
Holiday movies, like 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' are judged on a completely different plane of cinematic existence. This is because holiday movies are perennially important, whereas other movies aren't. Every year, when the holidays approach, we find ourselves digging out all of the traditional holiday movies. Whether they're considered bad or good movies, from a critical standpoint, is moot. If your family has a tradition to watch that movie every year, it's going to be viewed every year. That's just the way it is.
'Mickey's Christmas Carol' is a movie we watch annually without fail. We all know the story of Scrooge, his visitation from three spirits on Christmas Eve, and his subsequent life-changing lesson. There's little need to rehash one of the world's most well-known stories.
As an adaption 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' suffices. It has all the major elements of the story. In order to breeze through it in under half an hour, many of those elements are simply glossed over. It's a simple, but efficient way to tell the story. It's obvious that the whole affair has been simplified for a younger audience. It simply exists to showcase a wide variety of Disney characters, and to teach the more fundamental lessons of the story. There's little to no depth or introspection, which is just fine because you weren't expecting that going in anyway.
What's fun about this adaption is seeing all these disparate Disney characters thrown together into the same story. It's a movie that you can pop in during the season, watch with the family, enjoy with your kids, and not devote a huge time commitment to. There isn't much more than that to it. Is it the best, or most thoughtful adaption of Dickens' morality tale? Not even close. Is it enjoyable family fare that will continue to be watched traditionally year after year? You betcha.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Disney's release of 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' is labeled as the 30th Anniversary Edition. Inside is a 25GB Blu-ray Disc and a DVD copy of the movie. It also comes with a code for Disney Movie Rewards and a Disney Digital Copy. It's a region free release.
I'm not quite sure what Disney was thinking here. They've apparently given this the 'Sword in the Stone' treatment, because the entire picture – from beginning to end – looks like it's been digitally scoured, leaving the image looking flat, wax-like, and smeary. Gone is anything remotely considered filmic grain. In its place is a smeared digital sheen and unwanted noise. The entire thing looks wholly artificial instead of looking like a lovingly restored Disney classic.
You don't even have to be a stickler for film restoration or an expert videophile to see how overly processed and icky 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' looks on Blu-ray. The entire "restoration" looks to have been done solely with today's kids in mind. "They won't care what it looks like, as long as it's colorful and appears to look like the Saturday cartoons they watch these days." There seems to have been little to no thought put into this as far as longtime fans are considered.
Now that all the grain has been brushed away. We're left with an unceasingly soft picture. Color fills remain fairly unstable, too. It's strange that they'd go to such great length to get rid of the movie's inherent grain, but not spend time correcting color inconsistencies. This whole restoration stinks of a slapdash effort to get this out the door in time for the holidays. It's sad, because a memorable and traditional film such as this deserved so much better.
Disney has also seen fit not to equip 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' with a lossless audio mix. Instead we're saddled with an at best serviceable Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. This is as barebones as it comes. Not including lossless audio, when Disney usually goes to great lengths to upgrade each and every movie's sound, feels extremely disingenuous.
Sure, the 2.0 mix presents a sound that you can hear. It'll get you through the movie no problem. There just doesn't seem to be any extra effort put into it given that this is the movie's first time in high definition. Instead us fans are given a minimal mix to pair up with our less-than-impressive video presentation.
'Mickey's Christmas Carol' is an annual tradition in our family, as I'm sure it is in many families. So, based on that there can be an argument made that this is indeed a necessary purchase no matter what. However, it's extremely difficult to look past the non-effort that Disney put into this release when it comes to restoration. This is as haphazard as a Disney restoration comes. The video is a sorry state of affairs and the audio doesn't seem like any care or thought was put into it to make it a noticeable upgrade. With that in mind, this is for fans only. They'll be the only ones willing to overlook the blatantly obvious flaws.