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Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (2004)

Find out who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.

Directed by:

Matthew O'Callaghan

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 68 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: U

On DVD

Country: United States

Mickey Mouse, you have to admit, is a bit of a yesterday’s man. The guy hasn’t had a hit in years and, if truth be told, has spent the bulk of his career milking the fact that he was Old Uncle Walt’s favourite. When you think about it, it’s no wonder there’s always been that nagging background feeling that Donald, Goofy and co. don’t actually like him very much. But no matter how washed-up and resented the little fellah with the big lugs ever gets, there can be no excusing what Disney have done to him in this festive DVD. By stripping him and his pals of their 2D origins and turning them into uncomfortable-looking Pixar-wannabes, they’ve just taken things too far.

Look back to ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’. That’s how it should be done. With charm, warmth, and a bit of class. This? This is plastic, cold, fake – tacky even, and certainly cheap. Mickey’s been used. He’s been degraded. After making this, he turned on his shower and sat underneath it for hours on end, rocking back and forward. He was even walking a bit funny afterwards, yet too ashamed to talk about it. Never mind ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ Who Rogered Mickey Mouse?!!

This soulless 68-minute tour de mince features seven kiddy-aimed stories, all of them throwing up more questions than answers. Questions like “would Uncle Scrooge REALLY bake cookies?”, “Was Minnie’s head always that much larger than Daisy’s?” and “Was there ever a Mrs Goofy and, if so, how did he react when she finally cracked and left him?”

It kicks off with ‘Belles On Ice’, an ice-skating spectacular which makes better use of the animation than any of the other segments, but has precious little in the way of story. Next up, it’s ‘Christmas Impossible’, which has Huey, Dewey and Louie going tonto in Santa’s workshop. Then ‘Christmas Maximus’ uses some horrendous music to cover up the complete absence of a script, as Goofy’s grown-up son Max brings a girl home for Chrimbo (to vist, I mean – not to eat). ‘Donald’s Gift’ has even more of those meddlesome duck nephews who, frankly, I’d had enough of the ducking last time. Easily the best of the tales is the final one, ‘Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas’, but even it’s pretty flimsy and far from memorable.

In fairness, this whole thing would be fantastic if presented as an IMAX-type version, with the audience all in funny glasses and cooing like deranged pigeons as objects seemingly fly out of the screen and right into their bewildered faces. Much of the animation lends itself perfectly to that sort of thing.

But, as a home viewing experience, it’s lacklustre to say the least. Completely lacking in any warmth or imagination, it plays more like the portfolio of some ambitious graphic designer than a series of proper, engaging stories. Unlike the Mouse Corp’s better, more polished work, I can recommend this one only to the very youngest of kids. They’ll enjoy the bright colours, frenetic action, and familiar(ish) characters – but anyone older will instantly recognise that this is a collection of extremely weak, cynically-enhanced mouse-capades.

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It's Got: A new name for Pluto!! For a little while, at least.

It Needs: Chip and Dale!

DVD Extras Deleted scenes, ‘Backstage Disney’ featurette and a look at how real-life ice-skater Michelle Kwan was used as the model for the opening segment. As tends to be the norm in DVDs aimed at the winkles, there are also a number of interactive games: in this case, ‘Santa’s Workshop Challenge’, ‘Santa’s Sort’, and the practically-impossible ‘Guess What Donald’s Singing’ (let’s face it, you can barely understand the guy when he’s speaking, so making out a tune is a bit of a push). DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse, Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas

Summary

3D Disney, with less than a third of the charm. Bring back old Mickey!! Bring him back now!!!

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