Disney has released several of their most beloved animation classics on DVD in their new Animation Collection of Classic Short Films. The previous volumes, 1-6 included such great shorts as “The Prince and the Pauper”, “Three Little Pigs”, “Mickey and the Beanstalk”, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, “Paul Bunyan”, and many more beloved shorts, with several from the "Silly Symphonies" collection. Whether you’re a fan of Disney classics such as these or you’re looking for something different to watch and entertain the family, these new DVDs are definitely worth looking into.
The main feature on Volume Seven is “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, a wonderful retelling of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. While there are many retellings of the Dickens classic, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” stands out in memory as one of the more enjoyable family-friendly versions. Released in 1983 from Disney, the nearly half-hour animated tale provides a great deal of heart, excellent voice work, fine animation and a retelling of the story that doesn't feel rehashed.
“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” features Mickey Mouse (voice work by Wayne Allwine) as Bob Cratchit, the kindhearted clerk who works long hours for his cranky boss, Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck, voice work by Alan Young) who spends his time thinking about the money he’s making. The story follows the classic story with appearances by Goofy (Hal Smith) as the Jacob Marley’s ghost, Jiminy Cricket (Eddy Carroll) as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Willie the Giant (Will Ryan) as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Also appearing are: Donald Duck (voice work by Clarence Nash) and Daisy Duck (Patricia Parris), as the girl Ebenezer loved before money got in the way. By the time the Ghost of Christmas Future (voice work by Will Ryan) arrives, the transformation in Ebenezer Scrooge is taking place. With several Disney characters featured throughout and the story remaining true to the Dicken’s classic, it’s clear to see why this is still a beloved retelling of “A Christmas Carol”.
Also included on Volume Seven of Disney’s Animation Collection of Classic Short Films are “The Small One”, “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” and “Santa’s Workshop”. Directed by Don Bluth (“The Secret of NIMH”, “An American Tale”, “The Land before Time”), “The Small One” is the story of a young boy (Sean Marshall) and his beloved donkey called Small One. When the boy discovers that he must sell his donkey, he takes him to town where no one wants him because he’s too small and weak. The only exception is someone who wants to buy the donkey for his skin. Before the night is over, a kind man named Joseph (Gordon Jump) asks if he can buy the donkey to carry his pregnant wife, Mary. With wonderful animation and a lovely relationship between the boy and his Donkey, it’s easy to see how Don Bluth made so many great animated children films.
In the 1952 classic, “Pluto’s Christmas Tree”, Mickey Mouse (Edward Brophy and James MacDonald) and Pluto (Pinto Colvig) go in search for the perfect Christmas tree. While out, Chip and Dale (James MacDonald, Dessie Flynn) start throwing acorns at Pluto and making fun of him. When Pluto races to catch them, they run up a tree - which happens to be the same tree Mickey is cutting down for Christmas. Mickey and Pluto decorate the tree, much to Chip and Dale’s liking. When Pluto spots them, he tries to catch them, which begins a fun little game of who can outsmart who, with a sweet and humorous ending when Mickey discovers the chipmunks are there. The animation here is great and with little in the way of dialogue, this still manages to be a satisfying short.
The oldest edition of the bunch is “Santa’s Workshop” from 1932. The animation is the best part of this short. The animation from the 30’s is so recognizable and even today with all the high-tech CGI, it stands out with its storybook quality and charm. “Santa’s Workshop” is a cute short about Santa’s Workshop getting all the toys ready for Christmas.
Volume Seven is definitely a cohesive and interesting animation collections in the classic short films series. Obviously put out in time for the upcoming holiday season, these shorts focus on stories about the Christmas season with beloved Disney characters throughout. If you’re looking for classic tales told with beautiful animation and lovable, memorable characters, then you’ll definitely want to check out Disney’s new Animation Collection of Classic Short Films. Each volume offers a fine collection of beloved classics and all are combined in a solid group of complimentary stories.
VIDEO: The shorts are presented by Disney in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Although there is some minor-to-mild wear visible on a few occasions, these shorts otherwise look to have received excellent treatment over the years, appearing mostly clean. Sharpness and detail are respectable (considering the age of the shorts) and colors look crisp and nicely saturated.
SOUND: The shorts are presented in Dolby 2.0. Audio quality is satisfactory, as although the shorts sounded their age, there were no instances of distortion or other sound quality problems.
EXTRAS: The DVD’s don’t include any special features except for Sneak Peeks from the studio. Each DVD includes a collectible litho print from the film.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “UP”, “Santa Buddies”, Disney Movie Rewards, “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”, “The Princess and the Frog”, “Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving, 10th Anniversary Special Edition”, “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie”, Disney Parks, “Ponyo”, “G-Force” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Choo Choo Express”.
Final Thoughts: Fans of these classic shorts should be quite pleased by these terrific collections. Recommended.