"WALT DISNEY ANIMATION
COLLECTION: VOL 7"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Disney

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The latest installment of the Walt Disney Animation Collection comes with a holiday theme. First on the disc is the 1980s classic “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” Another Christmas-themed short is the Don Bluth Biblical tale “The Small One.” Rounding out the disc is “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” and “Santa’s Workshop.”

WHAT I LIKED
I was a kid in the 1980s, so I have incredibly fond memories of watching ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol” in a contemporary setting. It is easily one of the best adaptations of “A Christmas Carol,” in my opinion. The characters from the Disney library fit in the roles so well, and there’s a brilliant warmth of the story that brings a tear to my eye even today.

With Disney’s motion-capture 3D “A Christmas Carol” in theaters now, it’s nice to watch this adaptation to remind us how a smaller production can sometimes be the better one. Every year, we see many adaptations of this classic, but the Disney characters fit in the story so well and make it an annual favorite of mine.

The Don Bluth classic “The Small One” is sweet and has the distinctive Bluth look, though it does run a bit long looking back on it today. Still, it’s a classic of Disney animation.

Finally, “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” is a great short with some of my favorite Disney characters, Chip and Dale. This is a classic that you’ll see in any Disney Christmas retrospective.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
This is one of the better installments in the Walt Disney Animation Collection. However, there are some soft spots, in particular “The Small One,” which does drag a bit. Also, the vintage “Santa’s Workshop” is a bit bizarre for today’s standards.

DVD FEATURES
There are no main DVD features in this volume.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Disney fans and those who want the complete “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” cartoons for their collection.



"MICKEY’S MAGICAL CHRISTMAS:
SNOWED IN AT THE HOUSE OF MOUSE"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Rated TV-G
    Studio: Disney

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The Disney Channel television series had a Christmas special several years ago called “Snowed in at the House of Mouse.” This 2002 release comes back up each year to offer some entertainment for younger kids still into the Disney animated characters. “The House of Mouse” brings together all the animated characters in a variety show type series, and this episode focuses on holiday and Christmas themes.

WHAT I LIKED
I’ve always thought the “The House of Mouse” show was pretty innovative, bringing together all the characters under one roof. This episode brings 35 beloved characters together in a warp-around story in which they are snowed in. To break up the night, we go from contemporary animation to some Disney classics.

In the line-up are two of my favorite Disney cartoons for the holidays. “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” tells the story of Chip and Dale stowing away on Mickey’s Christmas tree and terrorizing Pluto. Additional cartoons include “The Nutcracker” and “The Best Christmas of All,” which are great for getting into the spirit of the season.

However, the best part of this show is the inclusion of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” my all time favorite Disney character adaptation. This is a wonderful retelling of the classic Dickens’ tale with the best cartoon casting I’ve seen in a long time.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
While the cartoons found in the show, the opening and ending credits are chopped off to blend in with the show. This 2002 release isn’t a bad catch, but I prefer the unedited versions of the cartoons, which are available now in the “Walt Disney Animation Collection: Volume 7.”

DVD FEATURES
For fans of “The House of Mouse,” there’s the premiere episode of the series available, along with two sing-along songs for the kids to enjoy.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Disney animation fans.



"SANTA BUDDIES"
Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated G
    Studio: Disney

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The Buddies are back, and this time they’re returning to the snow, but with a Christmas theme. When Santa’s young Puppy Paws (son of the jolly ol’ elf’s mascot Santa Paws) forgets the meaning of Christmas, the spirit of the season might disappear. When Puppy Paws comes to Fernfield, he brings some Christmas magic with him, but it’s up to the Buddies to remind him of the true meaning of the season and bring out a Christmas miracle.

WHAT I LIKED
I like the Buddies movies. They’re not Shakespeare, but they don’t need to be. They’re kids movies through-and-through, even more than the original “Air Bud” movie. They rely on cute talking dogs, after all. And there’s a lot of cuteness to go around.

This installment in the Buddies franchise is cute enough. It’s not as good as the previous “Space Buddies” was, but rather along the lines of “Snow Buddies.” With a Christmas theme, it makes a great thing to watch with the family during the holidays. And with some decent actors, including Christopher Lloyd as one of the bad guys and George Wendt as Santa Clause, things have a level of quality higher than your average direct-to-video movie.

Bringing the characters to the North Pole with Santa and his dogs is pretty cool, keeping a “Santa Clause” look to the workshop and surrounding areas. It’s nice to continuously see the Buddies move out of the Fernfield city limits, whether it be Alaska, outer space or Santa’s workshop.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
With any Christmas movie – especially one geared towards kids – there’s a great chance of getting cheesy. “Santa Buddies” definitely gets cheesy, to the point of inducing groans in my wife while we watched the film with the kids. Let’s face it, the pathetic Yorkie pound puppy singing a song about a Christmas miracle is a bit much.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
“Santa Buddies” comes as a stand-alone DVD, but the better value is the Blu-ray combo set, which includes the Blu-ray of the movie and the DVD as well (for those who are planning on getting a Blu-ray player soon enough... maybe for Christmas).

Both discs come with the feature film as well as sing-alongs to the Christmas carols with the buddies and a music video of “Santa Clause Is Coming to Town.”

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Kids and people who looooooove puppies.




    

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