‘Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas’ puts Disney’s famed characters back in the spotlight

[rating=4]Starring: Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Pluto
Director(s): Matthew O’Callaghan
Writer(s): Chad Fiveash, Peggy Holmes, Bill Motz, Matthew O’Callaghan, James Patrick Stoteraux

Mickey Mouse and Pluto in 'Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas'
Mickey Mouse and Pluto in ‘Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas’

It isn’t often, it seems, that Disney flashes the spotlight on its core characters these days. But the legendary animated figures such as Mickey, Donald and Goofy all get some attention this holiday season with the funny, enjoyable and beautifully animated collection of shorts in Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas.

A follow up to last year’s successful collection, this direct to DVD special features nearly flawless digital animation. And that animation is quickly highlighted in the first story, “Belles on Ice”, that stars Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck.

The two get into a ice skating competition that leads to jealousy and hilarity. Featuring the familiar alligators and hippopotamus from the Disney classic, Fantasia, this elaborate piece of animation gives the two female characters in this cast a chance to show their stuff. It’s followed by “Christmas: Impossible”, where the infamous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, attempt to get their names on Santa’s list.

I was a little disappointed by “Christmas Maximus”, chiefly because I’ve always been a Goofy fan, and his story was basically just a musical number. However, it was fun to see the classic gag-artist back in his element.

Lastly, the most fun story is the last one, “Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas”. This story is by far the funniest of the collection, with some great sight gags featuring Mickey, and really clever dialogue in the Pluto storyline. After a fight with Mickey, Pluto runs away and ends up with Santa’s reindeer. And the one liners exchanged between the two main reindeer characters is priceless.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this film, but I was quickly impressed by the computer animation, and pleasantly surprised by the well told stories. The pop-up book-like animation that segued between each story was also extremely well done.

The extras on the DVD are a little sparse, but enjoyable none-the-less. The deleted scenes portion provides you with a glimpse into how some of the stories were developed, focusing chiefly on “Christmas: Impossible” and “Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas”. I was surprised to discover that one of the deleted scenes was actually a completed one. Generally, the deleted scenes in these animated projects are merely storyboarded or consists of rough animation.

Apparently, one brief scene in Mickey’s story was cut after the full animation for the scene had been completed. And I actually thought it was a touching moment that is one of those rare deleted scenes that is worth watching.

The other behind-the-scenes doc shows how famous ice skater Michelle Kwan helped develop the look and feel of the skating sequences with the animators.

Overall, I would say this DVD is a fun, heart-warming collection of stories that are perfect for Disney fans both young and old.

 

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan has written, directed and produced more than a dozen short films under the banner of Maynard Films, and has worked as a writer for more than a decade for websites, magazines and newspapers.

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