Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas
Rating -

Animated (US); 1999; Not Rated; 70 Minutes

Cast and crew credits are currently not available

Review Uploaded

Written by DAVID KEYES

The 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 an example.

The 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.

The 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").

Without 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.

The 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.

The 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 does.

Disney's 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. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
All published materials contained herein are owned by their respective authors and cannot be reprinted, either in their entirety or in selection, without the expressed written consent of the writers.

© 2007 Cinemaphile.org.