|Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)|
Reviewed by Dustin Putman
(Release Date: November 5, 2013) Originally released theatrically alongside the 1983 rerelease of "The Rescuers," the 26-minute "Mickey's Christmas Carol" casts Scrooge McDuck (four years before the character got his own television series, "DuckTales") as the crotchety, "bah humbug"-spewing miser Ebenezer Scrooge and Mickey Mouse as his cheery, long-suffering assistant Bob Cratchit. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future as he is taken on a journey of his life and a bleak destiny that may come true if he does not change his ways. Directed by Burny Mattinson, "Mickey's Christmas Carol" is a heavily streamlined adaptation of the classic novel by Charles Dickens. It is pleasant and sweet by the end, but also becomes too simplistic when it bypasses Scrooge's experiences as a school-aged boy and suggests that the only reason he became the way he is as an adult is due to pure greed. A longer-form version would have helped this issue, and Disney sort of did just that with the more straightforward 2009 adaptation directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Purists and fans of natural grain fields will be sure to cry foul over the high-def 1080p transfer of "Mickey's Christmas Carol," which has been scrubbed noticeably clean. While it is difficult to say what kind of details in the beautiful hand-drawn animation might have been lost in the process without a side-by-side comparison, I can report that this Blu-ray's picture looks aesthetically very pleasing. There are some soft, almost blurry individual shots here and there, though this may be inherent to the source. Otherwise, this looks like a brand-new movie, which was probably Disney's intentionfor better or worse. The English 2.0 Dolby Digital is unassuming and barely noticeable, but that is a good thing: there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with it, and dialogue and music are always on point.
Bonus Shorts: "Yodelberg" (2013), "The Hockey Champ" (1939), "Pluto's Christmas Tree" (1952), "The Art of Skiing" (1941) and "Corn Chips" (1951) (33 minutes, HD); Disney Intermission
"Mickey's Christmas Carol" will be a must-buy for fans of the film, and the addition of five various seasonal-centric shorts sweetens the pot. Disney probably ought to start listening to their naysayers' complaints about their notorious use of digital noise reduction, but until then this is a solid and attractive treatment of the title. Recommended.