Saturday, December 21, 2013
Toon Ninja Reviews Christmas Special - Mickey's Christmas Carol
Hi there, Toonsters!
RekkaDragonJay here. And welcome to another edition of Toon Ninja Reviews. Today's review is a very special one. And why is it special? Because, Christmas time is just around the corner. Before we get started, I like to introduce my co-hosts for this special Christmas review. First off, the newly resurrected TOM-Z2.
TOM-Z2: Greetings everybody!
Nice new look, TOM.
TOM-Z2: Thanks. And by the way, it is good to have you back. A few more BSOD on you and would've been a goner.
Don't worry, TOM. It will not happen again. I am taking this one crusade at a time. Anyway, now for our very special co-hosts. She is an old friend of the ACF and one of anime's famed icons. She is known as the Pretty Suited Soldier of Love and Justice: Sailor Moon!
Sailor Moon: Hi everybody! It is so great to be apart of this, especially with Christmas being a couple of weeks away.
Thanks very much, moonface. And finally, a very special character near and dear to my heart. She is one of Disney's famed princesses and one of my favorites. Please give a special ACF welcome to the Little Mermaid herself, Ariel.
Ariel: Thank you. It is a great honor to be a part of your world, no pun intended.
No problem, Ariel. I don't care what everyone says, you are the most kind, caring person in all of animation, mermaid or not.
Ariel: Thank you, Jason. Hearing that makes me feel warm inside.
Aww, you are so sweet.
Anyway, let's get started. Everyone knows the story of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, right? It tells the story of London miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who thinks Christmas is a "humbug," forsaking the less fortunate and his family for his own base ends. That is until the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley, tells him not to go down the path he went through (judging by all the chains wrapped around him) and was later scared straight by the three spirits of Christmas and Scrooge devotes his life to help the less fortunate, including the family of Bob Cratchit and Cratchit's little disabled son, Tiny Tim. Since then, A Christmas Carol was so popular, it went beyond the pages of Dickens' famed story. His story was told in all media like movies, cartoons. Heck, even Scrooge made an appearance in a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial all these years ago. Where am I going with this? Of all the interpretations, the most favorite of mine is straight from Disney itself. No, not that Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey. I am talking about this Christmas Carol, Mickey's Christmas Carol.
(Oh, What a Merry Christmas Day plays)
Released on October 20, 1983 in the UK and was later released in the US two months later as it was paired up with the re-release of The Rescuers, Mickey's Christmas Carol was 26 minute re-telling of Charles Dickens' immortal Christmas classic, but with the Disney characters will all grew up loving and watching. Unlike the other versions, this one didn't go all out with the mature theme of the short other than the dark, grim future where Tiny Tim dies. Anyway, TOM, take us away.
TOM-Z2: Thank you. For the characters, let's go with the main ones. For the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, he was portrayed by the character he was named after, Scrooge McDuck, the richest duck in the world. For his struggling employee, Bob Cratchit, he was played by Mickey Mouse himself and it was first Mickey Mouse cartoon in 30 years but he was playing a supporting character in this one. Hey, we all gotta start make comebacks sometime after all these years. Anyway, for Jacob Marley's ghost, of all the characters to play as him, Goofy, who is known for being our favorite, likeable klutz, was the one to play such a serious character. But, he does have his silly moments, after all, it is Disney, not the new one, mind you, but the old, classic one. As the ghosts of Christmas' past, present and future, they are played by Jiminy Cricket, Willie the Giant and Pete respectively. Rounding up the characters that are important to the story are Donald Duck as Fred, Daisy Duck as Isabelle and Morty Fieldmouse as Tiny Tim. Every other character makes there cameos, like those from Robin Hood, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, The Three Little Pigs and so on and so forth. Love to list them all but as long as I've mentioned the important characters, that is good enough for me. Your turn, Sailor Moon.
Sailor Moon: Thanks TOM. The animation is, well, it is Disney after all. Hand drawn animation was the law of the land back then and I feel it is still true today, that is if there are still good animators out there that is. Anyway, some of the animators that did this eventually became the same ones who did animation for the movies of the Disney Renaissance like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, including Mark Henn and especially Glen Keane. Now those are animators with class. Ariel?
Ariel: Thank you, Serena. For the voices of the characters themselves. For the voice Scrooge McDuck/Ebenezer Scrooge, he was voiced by Alan Young, who has originally Wilbur from Mr. Ed back then before he became well known as the richest duck in the world. After Mickey's Christmas Carol, Young voiced Scrooge again in the famed cartoon show, Ducktales. And even at over 90 years old, he can still voice Scrooge. WOW! I thought my father was that persistent. Anyway, Wayne Allwine was the voice of Mickey Mouse/Bob Cratchit. Allwine was the the third voice actor for Mickey after Jimmy MacDonald and even Walt Disney himself and he's been the voice of Mickey for over 30 years until May 18th, 2009 when he died of Diabetes. Mickey has been since voiced by Bret Iwan. Speaking of which, Mickey's Christmas Carol was the last time Clarence Nash voiced Donald Duck, who has passed it to his successor, Tony Anselmo. Rounding up the voices are Eddie Carroll as Jiminy Cricket/The Ghost of Christmas Past, Will Ryan as Willie the Giant and Pete aka The Ghosts of Christmas Present and Future and Hal Smith as Goofy, before being currently voiced by Bill Farmer. As for the music, for a Christmas themed cartoon, you know it is magical. My favorites are the Christmas jig in Scrooge's past and it's theme song, Oh, What a Merry Christmas Day. Overall, the music is decent and the voice acting is well known and it is still well known to this day. Back to you, Jason.
Thank you, Ariel. And thank you Sailor Moon and TOM-Z2 as well. Now, for the favorite part this review is...Memories.
When I was a kid, I never saw it as theaters in 1983. After all, I was born on that year anyway. A few years later growing, I saw Mickey's Christmas Carol on NBC and it was a full hour. Why? Because before the special itself, they use to show 3 Christmas themed Disney cartoons. The first was Donald's Snow Fight, where Donald Duck had an epic snow ball fight with his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The next one was Pluto's Christmas Tree, where Pluto chases Chip and Dale through the Christmas tree Mickey brought back for the holidays. And finally, The Art of Skiing, where Goofy learns to ski and this short was special for one reason, this was the very Goofy cartoon that introduced his trademark Goofy Holler.
Aww, memories, just the way I like'em. It was the same ol' song and dance until 1989, where they dropped The Art of Skiing and kept the other two Christmas themed shorts. After the special, the show a special behind the scenes segments on the upcoming Disney movies that were shown at the time like The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Nightmare Before Christmas and so on and so forth. But after all this, they eventually ended up on ABC Family, which leads to the bad aspects of this special. But first, let's talk about the minor ones.
For starters, unlike the other adaptations of A Christmas Carol, it is 22 minutes long and didn't have enough room for the other things from the book, just the important ones, including Scrooge's What if, as in his possible future.
TOM-Z2: I like to step in for a moment, Jason. The one thing that bothered me at the time was the fact that of all the characters, why did Goofy, who is known for being a funny character of sorts, ended up playing a character who is anything but funny. Jacob Marley was a swindler and a cheat before he died, but not before he learned from his mistakes and ensures Scrooge not to make the mistakes he made. But that is just me. However, since it is a Disney short and it does have its funny moments, even with Goofy.
Thanks TOM. Now that the minor grips of this special has been addressed, let's talk about the one pet-peeve that got me bothered since this came to ABC Family. When Mickey's Christmas Carol was aired on their 25 Days of Christmas monthly block, the higher ups of Disney, particularly Robert Iger and Anne Sweeney, did the unthinkable. Like most TV shows and movies, they made some but pointless abrupt edits to the special from shorting the speech between Scrooge and Fred/Donald in the beginning to the part where Willie the Giant/The Ghost of Christmas Present talks about Chocolate Pot Roast with Yogurt. The reason they did it because they did it for the sake of more commercial time. Really? You edited Mickey's Christmas Carol for more commercials? SHAME ON YOU, DISNEY!!
TOM-Z2: Right on!
Sailor Moon: Ditto!
Ariel: I agree. First you made some fans hate me because of my personality, now this. We will NOT stand for this!
Looks like it is unanimous. I find nothing offensive or trivial in that special. It is as kid friendly like all the Disney cartoons of yesteryear. Disney could've leave well enough alone. But no, they treat their specials like garbage in favor for more commercials. So, they left A Charlie Brown Christmas uncut, but they edited Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Mickey's Christmas Carol? Forget Scrooge McDuck, Iger and Sweeney, they are the real Scrooges for this blunder. I mean, who doesn't like Chocolate Pot Roast with Yogurt?
TOM-Z2, raises his hand: Me.
*Sailor Moon smacks TOM-Z2 in the stomach
TOM-Z2: What, it's true! I don't have a mouth in this form.
Anyway, overall, if you are fan of old school Disney, or a fan of Christmas or a little bit of both, Mickey's Christmas Carol is worth watching and I rather watch it uncut than an edit version anyway.
TOM-Z2: I agree.
Sailor Moon: Me too.
Thank you everyone. You guys are true sports in helping me with this review. And now, we will join Stefan if celebrating Christmas. So until then, so long, Godspeed and....MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
*Hand in Hand Reprise plays