1999; Not Rated; 70 Minutes
Cast and crew credits are
currently not available
by DAVID KEYES
spirit of Christmas seems to live on more in than the movies
than actual real life, seeing as how a person's idea of
holiday cheer is maxing out the credit card for gifts that
you'd never buy for yourself. As "shop-till-you-drop" people
are crowding their ways into malls filled with midnight
madness sales, the busy little animators of Disney are churning
out holiday cheer in some of the most memorable ways--the
recent "Winnie The Pooh: Seasons Of Giving" video package,
for example, takes all of those familiar hundred-acre wood
characters and places them into a time when family values
and the gift of life should be the most important things
on a person's mind. And with those themes, the true spirit
of Christmas finds representation even with characters that
can only exist in the mind. "Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas,"
another of the Holiday video releases from Disney, is such
film tells three familiar stories using the most beloved
characters of the Disney vault—Mickey, the mouse who started
it all; Minnie, his charming and often sappy girlfriend;
Pluto, his dog and companion; Donald, his close nutty friend;
Daisy, Donald's girlfriend; Huey, Duey and Luey, the duck's
nephews; Goofy, the only Disney dog to wear a hat and drive
a car; and Max, Goofy's son. Such characters are hard to
take seriously during the season of giving, but the film
presents us with exactly what the season needs; a visual
and delightful lesson in some of the more important lessons
that Christmas time has to offer.
first story involves that ever-so nostalgic wish we made
every Christmas as a child--that, no matter how sickening
it may get, we wish Christmas was here every day. Huey,
Duey and Luey, Donald's three nephews, wake up Christmas
morning to three special gifts. They enjoy them so much
that, even after their uncle scolds them for lacking manners
at the dinner table, they wish Christmas was there every
day. The next morning, their dream comes true (think of
it as the Christmas version of "Groundhog Day").
going into too much detail, the segment is essentially pointing
out what a card from Donald to his nephews says on the inside;
that Christmas isn't about snow, presents, or even the tree.
It's about the love and warmth we should be sharing with
families. At least the movie world doesn't dwell on the
ol' mighty Christmas present.
second story is with Goofy and his son, Max, which should
put to rest for the children any skepticism they have about
Santa Clause. The story dares to question his very existence;
Max finds it hard to believe that a man in a red suit with
a white beard can travel the entire globe to deliver presents
in one night (he even strategically points out how many
visits the old guy would have to make per second in order
to succeed). But Goofy, being the childlike entity the animators
have always interpreted him as, believes down to the last
second. When hope seems to be lost for both, the real Santa
Clause pays an unexpected visit, rekindling their faith
as well as ours.
third story doesn't require much written detail, since it
is, essentially, adapted from "The Gift Of The Magi." What
can be said here is that the segment, starring Mickey, Minnie
and Pluto, makes its point the same way the original story
strategic release of Christmas cartoons on video help to
enliven the spirits of the Scrooges of the holiday season.
"Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas" succeeds like all those
others because it has something decent to say, and something
to say with a clear, distinctive charm. The film certainly
isn't the best Christmas film to come out of Disney (we'll
leave that up to 1997's "Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted
Christmas"), but it's an effort with serious morals and
holiday fun. What could one ask for at a time when people
are decking each other for grabbing presents off of store
shelves instead of decking the halls?
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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