The Film (4/5)
There are so many adaptation's of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol out there, it's hard to find one to truly call definitive. If I were forced to give a response it would be the 1951 version with Alastair Sim as Scrooge, however the first version I saw and the one that probably made the most impact on my early childhood existence would be Mickey's Christmas Carol.
This 1983 condensed adaptation of a Christmas Carol manages to tell Dickens' story in less than half an hour while hitting all the major story points. It features Scrooge McDuck playing his namesake Ebenezer Scrooge, while Mickey plays Bob Cratchit. The story follows Scrooge on Christmas Eve as he is reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and the hollow shell his life has become as he is visited by multiple spirits. The first of which is his partner Jacob Marley (Goofy in chains), then by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future who work to show Scrooge the error of his ways before it is too late.
Dickens' Christmas Carol is a rather short book on it's own, so it is none too surprising that Disney was able to tell the story in this rather economical fashion. The animation present here is simple, and timeless, and the use of classic Disney characters in place of the originals works very well. I will say that as a child the sequence with the Ghost of Christmas Future (Pete, obscured by a cloak, and in a cemetery) frightened the bejeesus out of me, and the way the sequence is animated and directed still feels like it's meant to maximize the horror of the situation, so I would expect children coming to this for the first time might find themselves similar scared, but that's the point isn't of this particular moment isn’t it?
Mickey's Christmas Carol is a simple, but fun, and occasionally scary Disney animated version of Dickens' classic tale. This year is it's 30th anniversary, and it has certainly endured over the decades as one of the definitive family versions of this particular tale.
Disney has brought Mickey's Christmas Carol to Blu-ray in an MPEG-4 1080p AVC encoded 1:78:1 transfer that is so unspectacular you might as well hang on to your DVD. I understand that Disney might not consider some of their titles worth the restoration efforts that titles like the Little Mermaid received, and in those instances I wish a more hands-off approach were taken with the films. What do I mean by hands off, maybe some minor color correction, and a HD scan, because what we have here, and on the prior Sword and the Stone disc is not quality restoration work.
I guess I'll star with the positives the colors on the transfer look a lot brighter, and more outstanding than on the prior releases of the film that I've seen. Outside of that this release is a mixed bag, heavy DNR application has been applied to the transfer all throughout leaving a transfer that is grain-free, and lacking in fine detail. One of the things I love about animation on Blu-ray is the way it brings out the finer points of the animation, and some of the more recent Disney transfer (mainly the less popular Disney titles) have done so much digital scrubbing that the DVD transfer showed off more of this detail than the Blu-ray. The more I see of this, the more upset I get.
The audio is presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 English mix. I didn’t expect much from this, so my expectations were pretty much met, dialogue comes through clearly, as do the effects and music. I did not detect any instances of pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
Disney have not included any material pertaining to Mickey’s Christmas Carol, however, they have included 5 Disney animated shorts from all over the Disney filmography including one called Yodelberg from 2013, and the others ranging from all other points in Disney history. There is also Disney intermission, if you pause the feature music plays.
A children’s animated Christmas classic is hampered by a less than stellar transfer. It appears Disney is attempting to get the entirety of their back catalog on Blu-ray in the very near future, but they are not exactly being careful about how they do it. Unfortunately, the release lacks relatable extras, or decent A/V so this release is NOT RECOMMENDED.