Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas Review
Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas is another Disney sequel, a follow up to Disney’s previous home video release of Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas. Keeping a similar format to the first film, Twice offers more festive stories featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and other well known Disney characters. Three years in the making, the film shifts animation style going into 3D computer animation as opposed to the conventional 2D cel-painted animation; this gives you an idea that Disney is nearly done with the old style of animation.
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas contains five festive tales to entertain the kids.
Belles on Ice
Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck face off on the ice and it isn’t a hockey game. It’s the Christmas ice skating spectacular and everyone’s out to watch it. Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck, however, believe their the star attraction of the show and consequently start duelling on the ice displaying an arrangement of ice skating moves while being supported by the Hippos and the Crocodiles from Fantasia. However, it is their selfish and over the top egos that threaten to ruin the entire show.
Mission Impossible gets spoofed for Christmas fun with Huey, Dewy and Louie. Donald’s nephews aren’t having the best Christmas holiday as their selfish ways are making the family get-together with Uncle Scrooge embarrassing. The boys dread, though, the thought of waking up on Christmas Day without presents and instead receiving lumps of coal because they’ve been selfish. To make sure the threesome get their presents, they embark on a mission to the North Pole to get to Santa’s workshop. The boys’ main objective is to find Santa’s list and get themselves on it no matter what the cost, even if they manage to destroy Santa’s workshop in the process.
Welcome to the festive side of the ever lovable Goofy and his suffering son Max. This short tale is about Max’s wish that his father controls his silly over parenting when he brings his girlfriend, Mona, home for Christmas. Unfortunately, Goofy doesn’t get the message and starts embarrassing his son in a number of lovingly parental ways. This includes showing Mona a giant framed baby picture of his son. As the continuing embarrassments go on, Max starts to worry that his romantic Christmas is about to shatter into pieces.
Donald Duck becomes the centre of attention for this tale as he wishes for an absolutely quiet Christmas. No carols, no craziness over presents, just peace, quiet and a good mug of hot cocoa. This doesn’t bode well with Daisy and she drags him out Christmas shopping and things just get worse as Donald manages to destroy the mall’s central Christmas display in front of a large crowd. It seems that Donald Duck has ruined Christmas but does his redemption lay in a group of carol singers?
Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas
Any Disney Christmas special without Mickey Mouse is criminal and this is his short. Actually after a second viewing maybe this could be one for Pluto fans. Mickey is planning his annual Christmas party for Minnie and the rest of his friends. However, as he is putting the decorations up, an over keen Pluto manages to burn everything down and this is something that angers Mickey. After being thrown out of the house, Pluto decides to run away and soon manages to find himself being adopted by Santa’s reindeer. But this all comes too soon for Mickey who starts a large search for his beloved pet – will he find his dog and have a Christmas party?
When reviewing this release I had to keep in mind this festive film is clearly aimed at the youngsters so for me to go on and complain that Twice is vomit inducing for adults wouldn’t be a good idea. I’m a fan of Disney’s festive animation treats especially their perfect take on Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol with Scrooge McDuck so I would expect something of similar quality as I took in the latest festive offering. After viewing this film, I’m extremely happy to report that Disney delivers the Christmas spirit again.
What is wonderfully impressive about this film is the 3D animation that has been used. It makes for a great change and shows that a lot of work has gone into this Christmas production, making it for me a far superior effort to some of their past Christmas movie releases.
No question about it, the film is technically brilliant. But my praises do come at a price and the downside lay with the narrative of the stories. Even though the Disney animators had to cram everything into a one hour presentation, the short stories are never truly memorable. Even Christmas Maximus, a short I’d have little to complain about in this department if it wasn’t for the filmmakers idea that someone singing a teenage romance rock ballad over the entire story was a really cool idea. I love Goofy cartoons, he’s one of my favourite characters and to reduce his short story with his son Max to a ballad is something that makes me want to hit the mute button as quickly as I possibly can! I guess the kids won’t notice this song but I did and to me, it is painfully awful to listen to.
I guess the main problem with this film is that unlike most previous Disney family efforts, Twice is strictly a kids affair. Sure there are the odd small jokes for the adults with Santa trying to boogie in the workshop or Santa’s reindeers saying the most pointless things but as it stands, this is only entertainment for the kids. That was Disney’s goal and they’ve accomplished it in the richest fashion. The animation is superb and the stories are entertaining despite the selfish moral that is always drilled into the audience’s head. I could be a real scrooge and say this isn’t festive but Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas will be well appreciated and loved by kids during the holiday season.
Video and Sound
Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer of 1.77:1 and is absolutely flawless. A digital animation gets superb digital presentation on DVD. The picture is clear, colourful and is just great to look at. Making the film 3D was a brilliant decision by Disney animators and this transfer does it justice.
Sound wise, only an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track supports the release. An odd choice for a Christmas special but the track does the job well providing you don’t expect much from it. The sound is spread around the speakers with all the dialogue coming from the centre speakers while the surrounds are used for atmospheric effect like crowd noise or music.
As a children’s DVD from Disney you can expect something to keep the kids entertained after the closing credits roll. That is if you managed to watch the film considering you must endure the forced trailers which play upon inserting the disc.
All Things Deleted (Deleted Scenes)
The creative team behind Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas decide to share their views on the creation of the film through the deleted scene section. There are 7 featurettes that can be viewed separately or watched as a whole and these see the team cover some of the earlier story ideas that never came to be. The creators also take time to explain some of the scenes that were deleted from the five stories. What viewers will learn is that some of the stories like Belles on Ice started off completely different to what it became in the end. It could have been a festive cooking contest instead of an ice skating show. Strangely after all the discussions and artist ideas being show to the viewers, it’s a surprise that only one of these scenes was actually animated. While it remains a little too child-friendly for most adults to enjoy, this isn’t a bad feature, it gives a good idea on how selective the Disney animators have to be with their stories.
Games and Activities
Strictly for kids this area of the disc offers a selection of three simple games to play on your DVD player. First up is Guess What Donald is Singing where the player has to guess what lyrics Donald is singing, very easy if you know the song. Next is Santa’s Sort where you have to guess where the present is in Santa’s parcel’s workshop, again very easy if you can guess the game’s pattern. Finally, there’s Santa’s Workshop Challenge which is one big quiz done by Santa as the viewers are taken around his workshop. The questions are all good and moral like “Is Christmas all about presents?” It’s something that will amuse the kids once. This is because I can’t imagine these games being played endlessly and one other thing – adults, please do not play them – your intelligence will be insulted.
Behind the Scenes: Inspiration On Ice
Disney takes us to a real ice rink in this brief 5 minute featurette about the creation of Minnie and Daisy’s face off in Belles on Ice. This shows the audience how Disney went about making the two characters move so wonderfully like real ice skaters. How did they do it? Why, they just asked Michelle Kwan to skate around the ice rink and the animators drew sketches that would help them compose the final animation piece. It’s interesting for children to learn how they make the animation sequence but generally, this is too short for anyone else to get interested in.
Disney delivers its Christmas goods for the kids and Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas will fit the entertainment bill well. While its stories are restricted for the children to enjoy, others will find the animation of the film wonderful and beautiful to view. The DVD has the standard bits and bobs of any basic Disney DVD to keep the children somewhat interested in the film. Simple games and behind the scenes information to make it easy for them to digest but the DVD is only important for the film. For the kids, festive entertainment is delivered first class courtesy of Disney.