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VEWPRF Advent Calendar Door #18

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983 Dir. Burny Mattinson)

London was so dirty in those days, even the sky was brown and cracked.

I was going to do The Muppet Christmas Carol next, but I’m deferring to this version for two reasons. One, I think part of my Muppet review will be brought into a better understanding by reviewing this one first and two, I want to end this week long comparison of Christmas Carols on a high and cheerful note and this review is going to be a whack job. Make no mistake my darlings, I hold this version in contempt. This is going to be short and nasty because that’s what this version of the story is, short and nasty. It does however look very nice, so the screen caps will belie the evil within.

There goes our hero, and what a figure he is.

As a version of A Christmas Carol goes, this one gets the names of some of the characters right. I’ve often thought that there are so many versions of the movie around that a person could probably put together a credible script with out ever having read a single line of the book. I think that’s probably what we have here in fact. Partly this is actually based on a record that they made in the 70s. Many of the lines from that record remain in this version in fact. A few parts were recast, but that’s to be expected because some of the characters used in the book didn’t make as big an impact as they thought they might.

Dude, you got any twinkies? I’ve totally got the munchies.

Let’s talk about the casting shall we? This is not the first time that a company has taken characters that already existed and recast them as characters in the book and it wouldn’t be the last time either. It is however the most annoying. After they decided that Bob Cratchit was the most sympathetic and that since Scrooge McDuck was already supposed to be Donald’s Uncle so might as well give him Fred, they sort of just looked around and asked who could use the work. While some characters work, others just seem to be slotted in because someone could find the model sheets for them. The end result is an uneven mishmash that just doesn’t work for me.

The undead have a LOT of time on their hands.

We get the worst version of the day off talk, because Mickey is so gutless he’ll only ask for half a day off. Scrooge also instead of commenting that he could dock his pay, simply announces that he will. Then Fred comes in, followed by the charitable gentlemen (played by Ratty and Mole), with script and acting that doesn’t match up to a middle school play production. It’s supposed to be amusing, but it just doesn’t work for me.

I’m telling you! You’ve got to close the beaches!

Goofy shows up as Marley, which includes some shadow play and other amusements that only serve to remind us how lightweight this version is. For as much as the later part of this version is going to be on a rocket sled, the extended bits of padding just make me bored. It either should have been longer, or it should have all gone at the same pace. Also the shadow play is just plain wrong. If Marley could lift Scrooge’s hat, he could act for good in human affairs, and thus the character’s woe is completely lost.

Why would you need a badge? How many people are going around pretending to be the Ghost of Christmas Past?

Christmas Past is played by Jiminy Cricket, and I think they reuse the animation from Pinocchio when he gets his badge and just put a new badge over it. The audio is pretty bad here actually, the voiceovers don’t mesh at all. Completely different audio qualities show up for each character’s voice work. This is of course during Disney’s worst time when they couldn’t produce quality work if you put a gun to their heads. Animation from Robin Hood is re-used to fill out the Fezziwig party, with Mister Toad playing the Big F and Daisy Duck playing Isabelle. There is so much re-used animation here it’s difficult to watch really. The old stuff looks so dated in comparison that it’s barely worth watching. We only get Fezziwig and a horrible break up scene with Belle, which is pathetic in its attempts at comedy.


The giant from Mickey and the Beanstalk is used for Christmas present. Animation that was about forty-five years old was used in some of those scenes. I’m not sure a single line of Dickens is actually in this version actually. We see the Cratchit house, which has almost all new animation. The small meal is so overplayed though, it’s just lame. We’re then instantly taken to the grave yard where we se Mickey putting the crutch on a tombstone. Right after that it’s shown that the ghost of the future is Peg-legged Pete, who throws him into his grave. The grave diggers are played by a couple of Weasels from Wind in the Willows by the way and we get more reused animation with them.

I hate these people, with all my heart.

Scrooge’s transformation is totally meaningless because the story has shot by so fast. His cheapness has only been something for a joke and doesn’t carry and weight. Face it, he was so bad before and he’s being so good now that it’s clearly just a momentary high. He’ll be back to raping orphans and running over widows within the week. We get even more re-used animation. Its new photography, but the drawings are being re-used and re-layered. The only reason I’m not more disgusted with this production is that it doesn’t last longer. I must say that this is the single most useless version of the story in my entire collection. I’m gonna go punch a Disney animator now, if I can find one that hasn’t been fired that is. I do like the Mickey Head they put at the beginning though, You might notice I even went so far as to make it the official Christmas Carol Icon for this series.

Best part of the whole movie.

December 18, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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