Walt Disney Treasures - Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume Two
DVD | Box Set
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The celebration of Mickey's color capers continues in this second volume of shorts -- from "Society Dog Show" in 1939 to his last short, "The Simple Things," in 1953 -- and feature film appearances, giving you a decidedly colorful history of the most famous mouse in the world. This outstanding review of Mickey's color career spotlights some very special features, including his groundbreaking performance in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." You'll also get an inside look at Mickey's recent career through the eyes of his most recent animators, Mark Henn and Andreas Deja, and voice actors Wayne Allwine (Mickey) and Russi Taylor (Minnie). Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.
By 1939, when the earliest films in this collection were made, Mickey Mouse was the most famous cartoon character in the world. The unsuccessful hunter in "The Pointer" (1939) and the irrepressible magician in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (1940) rank among his finest performances. In both films, he sparkles with vitality. But as Mickey grew more popular, more restrictions were placed on what he could do, and the character grew dull. Those restrictions become obvious when the viewer compares these films with the shorts on Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color. In "Mickey's Birthday Party" (1942), he clowns and stumbles through a comic dance routine, but it feels like he's working for the laughs. In 1936, when a more impish Mickey danced with a deck of cards in "Thru the Mirror," the fun came from the stylish grace of his movements: That Mickey didn't need to mug for the camera. In the later films, Mickey serves as a genial straight man, with Pluto and other side characters supplying the comedy.
A new generation of animators faced the same problems and restrictions when they tried to revive the character in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983) and "The Prince and the Pauper" (1990). The extras include some deleted animation from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and the five opening sequences from the "Mickey Mouse Club" (1955), the last time Walt Disney provided the character's voice. (Rated G, suitable for all ages: minor cartoon violence, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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One of the most interesting things about watching a collection like this is you get to see how each artist would draw the character to look the same, but were very different at the same time. This first disc includes 18 shorts, The Sorcerer's Apprentice sequences from Fantasia, deleted animation from TSP and the entire Mickey and the Beanstalk segment from Fun and Fancy Free. There are two Easter Eggs to find one of Walt voicing Mickey and Walt Disney's Standard Parade of 1939. While collector's may have some of these pieces from Fantasia and Fun and Fancy Free, it would for a Mickey Mouse collection to feel complete without them.
Like past volumes the shorts can be viewed either in Alphabetical or chronological order, but this time they added a 'Play All" option(YAY!!!) I guess the studios does listen sometimes?
Disc two starts with two of Disney's best feature-ette length shorts(approx. 26 min) which were the studio's return to the big screen with the iconic mouse. Mickey's Christmas Carol the classic holiday cartoon is presented for the first time(at the time) in it's full length and correct widescreen aspect ratio. The second is the beautifully animated The Prince and The Pauper. which is simply gorgeous to look at. Disney always had the edge when it came to making their cartoons have that special luster. This short looks fantastic, a testament to what Walt was always striving for, to be the best and to always make the next project better. Although this wasn't always the case after he died, the studio has come back in recent years.
The next short is from 1995 and is a return to the 7 or 8 minute shorts. Runaway Brain is an excellent homage to gothic horror and one I think is sure to become a classic. The second disc has some great extras including Mickey's Cartoon Comeback, The Voice Behind Mickey Mouse,Mouse Mania, The Making of The Christmas Carol, Mickey Meets the Maestro, all five color intros to The Mickey Mouse Club and some excerpts for The Implausible Impossible and The Tricks of The Trade Disneyland TV show. There are two stills galleries, one for publicity and memorabilia and the other for story and background on four of the shorts included on this set. This is an impressive set and should not be passed up for thinking it's just too much Mickey Mouse.
A lot of people have complained here that Leonard Maltin's introductions to some of the shorts are annoying and unnecessary. I agree to an extent, that they can get repetitive. But Maltin was a major player in getting this great material released to the public in all of its uncensored glory. It does seem rediculous that we need to put shorts like "Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip" into perspective when Mickey dresses like an indian, because it was all done in fun and not meant to offend. Personally, I think that anyone who gets offended by a cartoon has bigger issues to deal with in their lives. We live in such a politically correct world though, that if he did not do this we may not be able to see the original versions. So you should thank Maltin for working so hard to get these to us.
Okay, as far as the content goes, it is great and each has its own charm. Highlights for me were "Mr. Mouse Takes A Trip", "The Little Whirlwind", "Orphan's Benefit"(Donald steals the show again), "Mickey and the Seal", and "Mickey's Christmas Carol(my new holiday favorite. Of course that only is the tip of the iceberg. Others are included that were already available, like "Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Mickey and the Beanstalk" that are nice to have in a complete set. Extras are plenty on this volume as well.Included are the following:
"Mickey's Cartoon Comeback"
"The Voice Behind the Mouse"---The evolution of Mickey's voice
Mickey Mouse Club Titles in Color---5 original openings to the show.(This will be a Treasure in the next wave by the way)
"Mickey Meets the Maestro"
Mouse Mania-- A very strange stop motion short that you gotta see
Mickey Cartoon Physics from "Plausible Impossible"
Mickey on the Camera Stand from "Tricks of Our Trade"
"The Making of Mickey's Christmas Carol"--My favorite extra
Publicity and Memorabilia Gallery
Story and Background Art Gallery
In my area this and the Donald treasure have been the biggest sellers. This has a lot of entertaining content between the shorts, featurettes and the extras, which include great behind the scenes looks at how a lot of this material was brought to the screen. The picture never has looked better and probably never will. Children and adults alike will enjoy what this set has to offer, so get your copy now before they are gone. So far I have viewed this, Donald and Tomorrowland and I would rank this #3 behind Donald(1) and Tomorrowland(2) and I am about to go through On The Front Lines. But I say I rank it third and that is not a bad thing, fans of Mickey and animation in general should appreciate this set. It is definately worthy of bearing the Walt Disney Treasures name.