Title: Mickey's Christmas Carol
HTS Overall Score:
DIcken’s “A Christmas Carol” is one of the staples of the holiday season and one of the most remade stories Christmas stories ever. Whether it be dark and serious drama’s ala Patrick Stewarts famous ones, to ridiculous and goofy as with the Muppets version and then there is the classic animated Disney short that we have today. Clocking in at one of the shorter Disney movies it sits at 26 minutes, simple and to the point it sticks to the basics of the classic story and gives us classic Disney animated characters to flesh it out in a way that every kid can relate to and understand. This very movie is one of my very earliest childhood memories, while most people can remember very little prior to 5 years old I still remember being a 4 year old kid and watching with rapt attention this film on VHS and year after year revisiting it and even using it as babysitting material as I got older. Had it not been for the egregious error on Disney’s part to crank the DNR machine to +15 on a scale of 1-10 this would have been an instant recommend.
We all know the basic story by heart, and it’s the same old tale told with our favorite Disney Characters. Ebenezer Scrooge(Scrooge McDuck) is a miserly penny pinching swindler and so absorbed in his own lust for money that he has blinders on to the world around him. Even when his assistant, Bob Cratchit (Mickey Mouse) and his young Nephew (Donald Duck) try to invoke some Christmas cheer into his life, Scrooge refuses to see past his pile of coins. Late that Night he is visited by the three ghosts of Christmas, past, present and future. There he is shown the mistakes of his past, the horror of the present, and the misery that the future holds for a duck like him. Terrified at the reality that presses down upon him Scrooge must learn to make amends for the mistakes he has made and give with the same generosity that has allowed him to become so wealthy.
The tale is old as time really. It’s the story of using what has been given to us and allow others to benefit from our good fortune. The reality of life is that that no good can come greed, it consumes you and sucks all the joy out of your life that you could be experiencing and your own greed sucks the joy out of all of those around you who could benefit from it as well. What really makes this iteration work is the characters. Classic Mickey Mouse era characters fit so easily into their roles it is almost like they were tailor made of them. Scrooge McDuck was actually modeled after Ebenezer Scrooge back when Walt envisioned the character, so that character was a shoe in, and Mickey has always been such a cheerful and humble character that Bob Cratchit was a shoe in for our favorite mouse. Simple, sweet and to the point it’s a great little reminder about the joys of giving and one of those films that you can just enjoy without spending a huge amount of time as well. A great thumbs up for the film itself.
Rated G for Everyone
Here’s where the fun part ends. While the film itself is a cheery little Christmas diversion, the restoration work that went into this film is one of the most horrifying works that I’ve seen in a while. “The Sword in the Stone” is probably the worst case of over DNRing that I’ve ever seen and I was really really hoping that it was just an anomaly. Unfortunately “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is ALMOST as bad as “The Sword in the Stone” with copious amounts of DNR and artificial sharpening smearing all of the fine detail out of the picture. Gone is any sign of grain (and this film had a nice layer of grain in my older DVD copy) and the lines show obvious gaps where the DNR rubbed out whole sections of lines. Also the lines have been sharpened artificially and appear much thicker than they did previously. Aliasing is present and there’s some digital artifacting as well going on. Now all is not completely lost, the Colors are rich and full of life and the contrasts are well within reason. The blacks are solid for the amount of DNR that went on, but suffer as a result with so much scrubbing. It isn’t AS bad as “The Sword in the Stone” but it’s just hovering on the edge. It’s disheartening to see such great films fall victim to such travesties in the Disney world. I truly love the Disney catalog of animated titles and for the most part have been VERY pleased with their efforts (albeit there have been some minor issues previousl) and hope that someone can stop this process of digitally altering these classic films in order to make them more palatable for people who want a more “digital” presentation.
Now the audio fares a bit better than the video, but not by a wide margin. The 2.0 audio track is presented in a lossy Dolby Digital encode (albeit a hefty 320 mbps) and stays fairly close to the source. While it’s very serviceable it is a bit tinny and strained at times, showing the limited budget that Disney gave to the original source and the lack of lossless is disheartening to say the least. With such limited content on the disc it’s definitely not for running out of room. It honestly feels like it was just a lack of effort. Dialogue is clean and clear for the most part, with just that tinny note to it to draw down the score a bit. The rest is simple source related, being 2.0 there is no surround usage and minimal at best for LFE.
• Disney Intermission
• Bonus Shorts
I truly love “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, it brings back many a fond memory and still holds up to this day. However with the rocky presentation and poor supplements and high price tag it’s VERY difficult for me to recommend this as a must buy. While I definitely don’t regret picking it up as an avid Disney collector this really is more worth a rental to show how NOT to do a restoration rather than as a demo disc. This is only the second time that I’ve ever had to do this for a Disney title, but I’d suggest getting the older DVD which is more faithful to the source and actually has more detail, even with the decreased resolution.
Starring: Alan Young, Wayne Allwine, Hal Smith, Will Ryan
Directed by: Burny Mattinson
Written by: Burny Mattinson, Tony Marino
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English, Spanish, French DD 2.0
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Blu-Ray Release Date: Nov 5th, 2013
Buy Mickey's Christmas Carol Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Rent It
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