Review: Mickey’s Christmas Carol (Blu-ray)

Mickey’s Christmas Carol is soon to be available as a 30th anniversary Disney Blu_ray and it is so much fun.  I adore the song that plays during the credits.  To me, it is a perfect representation of Christmas that takes me back to my childhood, when I watched this beloved adaptation of Dickens’ classic.  It is short, and therefore lacks the depth of the original story that is more adequately explored in other great versions, but it cuts to the heart of it in a way that is light entertainment fun for kids and just scary enough to be exciting, without any real danger of true fright.  I really enjoy the repurposing of classic characters, casting Jiminy as the ghost of Christmas Present, Mr. Toad as Fezziwig and so on.  That treatment of Disney’s repertoire of characters is what intrigued me most about Tale Spin, a Disney Afternoon series that breathed new life into the cast of A Jungle Book.  It gives Mickey’s Christmas Carol a familial glow that is sweet and funny and bound to be an instant tradition for the family.

The quick boil down of the well known story is the cheap, miserly Mr. Scrooge– mean, but not without humor– reluctantly grants Bob Cratchit (Mickey Mouse) half a day off for Christmas.  That Night, he is spooked by the ghost of his old partner Jacob Marley (Goofy) who warns him that three spirits will visit him before morning.  Scrooge is woken up by Jiminy Cricket who takes him to witness a Christmas party from his past, and the day he turned his back on love for his own greed.  He is next woken up by the Giant from Mickey and the Beanstalk who shows him Bob Cratchit’s family and suggests that the sickly child Tiny Tim will soon be gone.  Scrooge is hardly able to grasp the weight of this when he sees the weasels from The Wind and the Willows digging a grave that the Ghost of Christmas Future (Pete) reveals is his, before pushing him down screaming into a flaming pit.  Scrooge wakes up with a change of heart and makes Bob his partner.

It’s a brief, but fun romp with a bonus features line up of classic cartoons starring Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale, plus, a new Mickey cartoon starring Harold, the abominable snowman, that is in some inexplicable way reminiscent of a Phineas and Ferb type show.  The whole thing is great fun that runs just under an hour.  you can pre-order here for the holidays.

Blu-ray Review: Prep & Landing: Totally Tinsel Collection

Last year I reviewed Prep and Landing as it made its DVD and Blu-ray debut.  It was an incredible featurette that originally aired as a special on ABC.  I loved the show and was impressed with how detailed and thorough it was.  But it was essentially a short film at the price of a feature, which might give one pause.  Enter Prep and Landing Naughty Vs. Nice.  It’s a whole new adventure, just as good as the first one and they are now included in one Christmas package: the Totally Tinsel Collection.  Also included are short shorts Tiny’s Big Adventure, a so so bonus feature and Secret Santa, a fun Mission: Impossible style short that is every inch as good as the features.

Prep and Landing is a division of the North Pole operations that makes sure each house is prepped and secure before Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve.  Wayne (Dave Foley) is finally up for a promotion when he is suddenly passed over by santa and teamed up with a rookie.  The imbittered elf must learn to rise above his pettiness and rediscover the magic of Christmas, before he ruins it for others.  In the next film, Naughty VS Nice, a new division is introduced and with it, a terrorist threat from a child who intends to be removed from the naughty list.  Wayne teams up with a field expert from the naughty division and old conflicts arise that must be resolved in order for christmas to be saved.  My favorite reindeer, Thrasher, also returns for a cameo in this one.

In addition to the two fine specials a fun reel of North Pole  commercials is included.  This is a set sure to become a holiday tradition.  Here’s hoping they keep ’em coming.