STUDIO: Disney
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME: 72 minutes
• 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes
• 2 music videos
• interview with Ryan Seacrest
• Hilary Hangs 10
• Photo gallery

The last few years haven’t been the kindest to the Mouse House. Falling shares, ABC’s in the ratings toilet, the $250-million-dollar Katzenberg lawsuit, and the venomous Roy Disney/Michael Eisner war. As a former employee, I’ve seen quite a bit of this firsthand. During my tenure at Disney, I got to work a few publicity events where things were hardly ever dull. For instance, during the DVD premiere screening of Lady and the Tramp, I had the honor of escorting celebrities and their dogs to their seats (where I got a great photo of Giselle Fernandez, her pooches and my ass – but that’s another story). I also worked a jitterbug contest for the DVD premiere of A Bug’s Life on the same day of the Columbine shootings (which hurt our press a little). But I don’t think anything will ever top the premiere of The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, where I worked the check-in desk downwind of an elephant’s ass all night. That’s kind of where’s Disney’s been lately.

The Least popular Disney character: the little-known Shorty Shitslick

Probably the worst thing that’s been going on for Disney has been the decline of their classical animation division in conjunction with the imminent departure of Pixar, which has a perfect record in delivering animation excellence. Now this is not to say that the quality of Disney’s animation has declined. At the very least, you can still get virtually any of their titles, throw it in a DVD player and keep a roomful of kids entertained for hours if the situation arises. The latest example of this is their version of The Three Musketeers, starring the Disney Holy Trinity: Donald Duck, Goofy, and Mickey himself, back at work for the first time since that Richard Gere bunghole scandal.

The Flick

Gathering together for the first time in a feature-length movie, Mickey, Donald and Goofy bungle their way through the latest version of Dumas’ classic. They play inept janitors who dream of one day becoming Musketeers and protecting the princess, portrayed by Minnie Mouse, with Daisy Duck as her lady-in-waiting. The requisite Disney villain is portrayed by Pete, captain of the Musketeers and one of the Disney heavies from the Steamboat Willie days. Pete’s master plan is to become king at the expense of Minnie, and he has three nimrods dressed like masked-wearing Jawas named the Beagle Boys to help him out, along with Clarabelle the Cow. The story is narrated by the Troubadour, a French turtle with a penchant for singing his way through the story. Normally this job would be handled by Jiminy Cricket, but since that sex-tape scandal with an underage ladybug, Jiminy is persona non grata at the Mouse House.

Things have been a little tough for Mickey since his last Disney gig.

Anyway, the Beagle Boys think that Pete asked them to drop a safe on Princess Minnie, when he just wanted them to keep her safe until the pending opera, where he plans to make a switch and have the ersatz princess proclaim him king (it’s a story for eight-year-olds, what do you expect?). Luckily, the safe misses Minnie, and she demands that Pete provide her with some Musketeer bodyguards. This leaves Pete in a bind until he realizes he has the perfect patsies for the job: Mick, Goof and Donny. To say that these three don’t necessarily make the most ideal Musketeers in an understatement. Mickey, though he has the heart of a Musketeer, is just too small for the job; Donald is a big chicken and Goofy is a dumbass. Nevertheless, Pete convinces Minnie that they’re the best men (mouse, duck and dog anyway) for the job. And when she sees Mickey for the first time, she’s more than happy to have him guarding her.

The Musketeers get their first test when Minnie and Daisy are kidnapped by the Beagles and taken to a faraway tower. Mickey and the gang overcome a crisis of confidence and speed their way to the rescue, which Minnie and Daisy barely survive. Nevertheless, Pete’s plan is thwarted for the time being, and he realizes that the Musketeers are going to be a bigger problem than he first anticipated. So he divides and conquers them. Goofy is lured away by Clarabelle and jumped; and when things start to go bad, Donald pusses out and quits. As for Mickey, Pete locks him in a dungeon where eventually he’ll get a close personal view of the high tide that will fill it. With the Musketeers out of the way. Pete grabs Minnie and Daisy and sets his plan into motion.

The tide turns for the Musketeers, however, when Goofy, who’s about to be deep-sixed by Clarabelle, throws the mojo on her and gets her to set him free (I’ve seen the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist and all of the Friday the 13th movies, but seeing a dog suck face with a cow is just plain disturbing.) Goofy, with the help of the Troubadour, re-recruits Donald to the cause and together they save Mickey. With the Musketeers together again, they confront Pete and the Beagle Boys at the opera and save the day.

Disney’s biggest miscalculation: the overestimation of the marketability of a fat anthropomorphized dog disrobing.

This movie won’t be winning any awards, as it’s nowhere in quality, storywise or otherwise to the recent Disney classics, but it was kinda nice to see the old characters in action again. They’re portrayed spot-on from how I remember them as a youngster, especially the big three: Wayne Allwine (Mickey), Tony Anselmo (Donald) and Bill Farmer (Goofy). The same can’t be said by the WB cartoon characters, who haven’t sounded the same since Mel Blanc died. Subsequently there’s several new songs to entertain and the current generation of snot-nosed, whining, Motorola-two-way paging little shits should enjoy this (I love kids, if you can’t tell).

7.0 out of 10

The Look

Presented in widescreen (1.78:1) and enhanced for 16×9 television, the film looks good, and better than some of the recent Disney direct-to-videos I’ve seen. Although with computer animation and Anime ruling the world right now, this film won’t further the case for the continued viability of traditional animation in today’s market.

7.7 out of 10

The Noise

With six new songs presented in a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound, along with French & Spanish language tracks, the film sounds good.

7.6 out of 10

The Goodies

This disc has a lot of extras that’ll keep the little ones entertained for quite awhile, which should allow the big ones a chance to sneak away for a little horizontal time:

Music and More: Disney’s Song Selection: A karaoke of all six new songs, complete with lyrics. Music Video: Three is a Magic Number. Three teenage boys I’ve never heard of and hope to never hear from again singing the theme song.

Back Stage Disney: Get the Scoop: A 10-minute featurette on the making of the movie. Cast Commentary: 5-minute commentary by the cast (in character) of the opening madcap janitor scene.

"What the F—?! Hey, genius, think you can draw me a freakin’ nose here?"

Games & Activities: Opera-Toon-Ity: Interactivity where kids can build their own opera using three singers and three locales, complete with karaoke sing-along. The Many Hats of Mickey: Allows you explore Mickey’s film career via an interactive menu showcasing many different hats Mickey has donned throughout the years. There’s a short audio intro of the film that the chosen hat was featured in and a short video clip. Selections include Mickey and the Beanstalk, The Prince and the Pauper and Fantasia.

Deleted Scenes: Five minutes of deleted/incomplete footage from the film.

8.0 out of 10

The Artwork

Straightforward hero poses from the big three, Pluto looking happily at Donald’s crotch.

6.5 out of 10