STUDIO: Disney
MSRP: $14.99 Each
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 55/58 Minutes

The Pitch

"Our Treasures Collections aren’t selling well enough – let’s do some double dipping and hide behind a Holiday Theme!"

The Humans

Mickey, Donald, Pluto, Goofy…well the whole gang. I know they’re not humans but what the hell – these characters are bigger than their voices.

Work it, girl!
Disturbing footage from the deleted scenes of March of the Penguins

The Nutshell

Disney Characters in various Christmas/Winter Themed cartoons: Mickey does a good deed; Donald wraps presents; Pluto decorates a Christmas Tree; Small One…you’ve seen em all and they’re all right here. OH – and there’s also Mickey’s Christmas Carol (natch!).

The Package

So, I could split these 2 discs up in the review but they’re practically identical. The transfer, sadly, shows zero effort. A lot of these shorts are old and it shows. There appears to have been no effort to clean up scratches or pops and there’s even the occasional dropped frame (although I’m not sure if it was a digital-drop or if the cell was missing from the original). Same goes for the audio – there’s a faint hiss in some of the shorts and you can tell that again there was zero effort put into the cleanup. I know these are value bin discs but some of these cartoons are deserving of the "Classic" treatment. I haven’t seen any of the Treasures collections, but here’s hoping they got the deserved work. As far as extras? None. None at all. Not a commentary, or a featurette, or a documentary. Again, hopefully the Treasures sets got the respect. The artwork, on the other hand, I can get behind. It’s simple but effective, with the characters framed up by the signature Mouse Ears silhouette. It’s a basic Photoshop Layout, but it’s sleek. The colors work and the fonts are catchy. Plus, it looks like they created original artwork for the characters so that’s a bonus.

The Lowdown

What can you really say about these? This is truly Classic Disney. I’d seen all these cartoons countless times since I was a kid and I’m sure you all have too. Now earlier, I said that these discs were "practically identical." Which is true in regards to everything but content. Holiday Celebration With Mickey & Pals is made up of the standard shorts. Notables inclue "Mickeys Good Deed," in which Mickey sells Pluto to a rich family in order to help out a poor family at Christmas, "The Clock Watcher," which showcases Donald’s ineptitude at giftwrapping (and subsequent problems with authority) and "Rescue Dog," one of the many shorts in which Pluto befriends another, different animal – this time a seal. The beautiful thing about these shorts is that they were able to cram so much into so little space. The humor, the narrative and the Valuable Lesson all come through nicely without feeling crammed together. They’re a wonderful look back at a golden age of animation that wasn’t built around flashy effects or empty, cheap humor.

Anatomically correct?
Pluto was horrified to discover the details left out by the animators

So while Celebration is built of the shorts, Classic Holiday Stories is centered around 3 of the longer, more detailed stories. "Small One" fulfills the religious commitment without alienating the non-religious viewers. It’s more of a "boy and his donkey" story that takes place on The First Christmas, concluding with a cameo by the husband of a certain pregnant lady. "Pluto’s Christmas Tree" is a return to regular Disney as Pluto tries to decorate a Christmas Tree despite the counter-productive efforts of Chip & Dale. So, we got the spiritual undertones of "Small One," the Standard Disney Goofiness of "Pluto’s Christmas Tree" and we’re left with the cherry on top – Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Who doesn’t love Mickey’s Christmas Carol? The story’s been told a billion different times in a billion different ways, but I don’t think any rendition has been as wonderful as this (maybe Scrooged, but that’s another discussion).

So, at the end of the day I would love to give these discs a high score based on content alone. But, sadly, this isn’t a cartoon review, it’s a DVD review, and given everything that makes up a DVD, these discs just fall short.

Evil I tells ya!
His deed done, Donald looked on with pride. They would never find the body. No sir – never.

5.0 out of 10