This wraps up the Disney reviews. Timeshredder will review a short film titled A Junkie’s Christmas for us tomorrow, and then it’s Miracle on 34th Street and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians to wrap up the rest of the week.
Cast, Crew, and Other Info
Alan Young as Ebenezer Scrooge
Wayne Allwine as Mickey Mouse / Bob Cratchet
Hal Smith as Goofy / Jacob Marley
Clarence Nash as Donald Duck / Fred Scrooge
Written by Burny Mattinson & Tony L. Marino & Ed Gombert & Don Griffith & Alan Young & Alan Dinehart, based on a Charles Dickens story.
Directed by Burny Mattinson
Complete information is available from the IMDB.
It’s A Christmas Carol, but with Disney characters. In fact, it’s got just about every non-human Disney character they’ve had, some of whom are hard to spot.
Goofy is hilarious as Jacob Marley. The cameos of other characters are nice too, if you’re pretty familiar with Disney stuff.
Those are long and slow opening credits for something with an intended audience this young.
This suffers in the originality category, not just for being an adaptation, but for being “yet another” adaptation of Dickens’ original. In fact, his IMDB page counts 57 different adaptations of this one story, going back to 1901, and even that’s not complete. (It doesn’t include single episode TV spoofs, so unless the adaptation is its own special as it was for Mr. Magoo or Blackadder, it won’t be listed.) Not many do it as animated and a comedy, but when the adaptations are this plentiful, they might as well be their own genre. I think Dickens’ novel (which is good, and available from Project Gutenberg) is the only version of this story that can rate more than the 2 out of 6 this version is getting.
The animation is classic Disney: smooth, active, with appropriate colour schemes. The visual homages paid to the first appearances many of the cameo character were remarkably well done. I give it 6 out of 6.
The story isn’t new to anyone, so they really have to sell the details to keep it interesting. They kept it short, and to the point, with only the bare bones to keep it all together. There’s enough of interest here to make me want to watch this adaptation in a glutted market. The casting of Disney characters, right down to the cameos, were very well done. I give it 5 out of 6.
The voice acting is the usual Disney stuff: emotional, but lacking subtlety. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response is boosted somewhat by nostalgia for me (having seen this annually on TV when I was a child in the 1980s), but it would work anyway, given the level of humour, and, again, the cameos. I give it 5 out of 6.
The production was fairly well done. The sound is great, particularly going up and down the stairs. The music was appropriate, but unoriginal. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, it’s an entertaining little piece, that edges out Blackadder’s Christmas Carol as my favourite adaptation of Dickens’ work. I give it 5 out of 6.
In total, Mickey’s Christmas Carol receives 31 out of 42.
Additional Notes and Comments
Dickens’ original has what may be the best opening I’ve ever read. Here are the first two paragraphs, and the second one is the real gem:
MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.