Walt Disney Home Video presents
Classic Holiday Stories (1952-83)
"Bah, humbug!"- Scrooge McDuck
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Pluto, Goofy, Chip, Dale, Jiminy Cricket
Director: Don Bluth, Jack Hannah, Burny Mattinson
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 00h:58m:05s
Release Date: 2005-09-27
DVD ReviewWell, you can't make the kids watch It's a Wonderful Life every night during the holiday season, so the trio of Disney shorts collected on this disc make for a nice change of pace. They're three rather different pieces, loosely yoked together on this DVD because of their Yuletide themes; but this one doesn't have the feel of some of the other DVDs in this series, on which all of the animated shorts feel as if they've been cut from the same bolt of cloth. Anyway, here's a look at what you'll find.
Don Bluth directs the opening film, The Small One, from 1978, the tale of a boy and his rascally donkey, the latter being the title character. Alas, Small One is no longer pulling his weight, and the boy's father insists that the donkey be sold—the boy takes his faithful friend to the market, and gruesomely discovers that the only taker for his companion is the tanner, who will pay a pittance for Small One's hide. The sand and the garb should be the early tipoff—the boy runs into a fellow named Joseph, who has a pregnant wife in need of a ride on this December night, and perhaps the donkey is for sale? Small One goes on to glory, and the music swells appropriately, as the animated stars form a cross in the sky.
Next, Mickey is out for just the right one, but his dog will have the final say about which will be Pluto's Christmas Tree, from 1952. Our friend Pluto does not choose wisely, though, for his fir of choice houses his old tormentors, Chip and Dale, who do battle with the dog back in Mickey's house. Sandwiched between the two longer stories, this one conforms most completely to the tried and true Disney formula.
Finally, Dickens gets the inevitable mouse treatment, in Disney's Christmas Carol, from 1983. The familiar story is re-cast with Disney regulars—Scrooge McDuck plays his namesake, Ebenezer Scrooge, who torments Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit. Goofy makes for an oddly ethereal Marley, and perhaps most welcome of all is Jiminy Cricket, as the Ghost of Christmas Past. Especially notable in the credits for this one is one of the animators, John Lasseter, who would shortly thereafter go on to all his Pixar glory.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The Small One certainly looks the worst of the three, badly faded and pocked with scratches and discolorations. The other two look considerably better—it's clear that Mickey is the favored child in the Disney household.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
|DS 2.0||English, French||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: It all sounds fine enough—maybe too fine, actually, as you can make out most of Donald Duck's dialogue. (He's a caroler in the second story, and Scrooge's chipper nephew in the third.)
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 3 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring Tarzan (SE), Toy Story, Old Yeller (SE), Kermit's 50th Anniversary, Timeless Tales, The Lady and the Tramp, Chicken Little, Kronk's New Groove
- Fast Play feature
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsThree modest Christmas-related stories from our friends at Disney, a worthy addition to the holiday titles in heavy rotation each December.
Jon Danziger 2006-02-23