Television Reviews

DVD Review – Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color Volume 2 -1939 to Today

Believe it or not, there was a time when Mickey Mouse was known as more than a theme park icon. Many children of today know Mickey Mouse primarily as a character at one of the parks, or from his few appearances on shows like House of Mouse on The Disney Channel. There was a time, however, when Mickey carried the Disney Company on his shoulders. It’s really true what Walt himself once said: I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.

Leonard Maltin once again narrates this 2-disc DVD set. He gives a short introduction along with several introductions to the cartoons where there is content that may not be considered “politically correct“ in our time. In Pluto‘s Dream House there‘s a voice coming from a magic lamp that identifies itself as “Sampo”. I didn’t think there was anything that offensive about it, until I thought about the fuss people made over George Lucas’ depiction of Jar-Jar Binks and then I can understand why Disney felt the introductions needed to be here. However, before The Nifty Nineties, there’s Leonard again telling us how there’s nothing funny about drunkenness and that the cartoon is actually just making fun of the melodramas of the time period. This sounded ridiculous to me. Anyone who has a problem that they don’t want anything not “politically correct” entering their world ought to avoid anything made before the mid to late 1970s.

Mickey Mouse has slowly evolved throughout the years from a mischievous rascal in the early black and white animated shorts to a more responsible suburbanite by the end of these discs. Along the way, he’s picked up some new friends. Pluto is prominently featured throughout the animated shorts on the disc, cementing his place as Mickey’s loyal companion. Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy make appearances themselves.

The dates show a break in animation from 1942 – 1947. It wasn’t that there wasn’t animation produced during that time. Walt Disney had Mickey and his pals make their own contributions to the war effort, and those productions can be seen on another Treasures set, Walt Disney Treasures: Behind the Front Lines.

After World War II, Mickey was so popular that his character needed to “reform”. More and more restrictions were placed on what he was allowed to do in his appearances and he transformed into a “good guy”. Donald Duck took over the role of cartoon rascal, and his popularity grew. Any actor will tell you the bad roles are more fun to play, and most people enjoy watching the bad boys as well. By the last few animated shorts included on these discs, Mickey has become the straight man while everyone around him really gets the laughs.

In fact, in some of the films, it seems as if it focuses more on Pluto and/or Mickey’s other friends rather than on the Mouse himself. I have to wonder if as they were producing these discs they had too many for the Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto set and put some of them with Mickey’s collection instead.

The images are fantastic. Most of them seem virtually flawless. Walt Disney did a terrific job at preserving these later offerings in Mickey’s lineup and with the advent of digital restoration, they look terrific and are a pleasure to view.

Being able to see Mickey’s Christmas Carol, The Prince And The Pauper, and Runaway Brain was a surprise I did not expect. The Bonus Material of the deleted scenes from Sorcerer’s Apprentice was also a terrific addition. In fact, most of the Bonus Material here is terrific. It was by far some of the more interesting pieces I’ve ever come across and I enjoyed watching it as much as the animated shorts.

My kids, however, did enjoy the Mickey cartoons much more. They sat and watched a lot of it with me and enjoyed seeing Mickey in a different light than they are used to. My older daughter used to watch The Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence from Fantasia over and over again when she was little. Rewinding it on the VCR was such a headache – I wish I’d had this DVD with just that sequence!

The collection itself may not be as good as Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color, but it’s still a disc that’s worth buying for your collection if you’re a fan of animation, especially classic animation.

Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse In Living Color Volume 2 came in a collectible tin. Instead of the number being stamped on the front as it was with the earlier offerings in this collectible set, there is a numbered Certificate of Authenticity inside. There was also no paper band around the tin itself.

Titles on the discs:

Society Dog Show – 1939
The Pointer – 1939
Tugboat Mickey – 1940
Pluto’s Dream House – 1940
Mr. Mouse Takes A Trip – 1940
The Little Whirlwind – 1941
The Nifty Nineties – 1941
Orphans Benefit – 1941
Mickey’s Birthday Party – 1942
Symphony Hour – 1942
Mickey’s Delayed Date – 1947
Mickey Down Under – 1948
Mickey And The Seal – 1948
Plutopia – 1951
R’Coon Dawg – 1951
Pluto’s Party – 1952
Pluto’s Christmas Tree – 1952
The Simple Things – 1953
Mickey’s Christmas Carol – 1983
The Prince And The Pauper – 1990
Runaway Brain -1995

Bonus Material:

• The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Mickey’s appearance in the film Fantasia
• Deleted Animation From The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
• Mickey And The Beanstalk
• “Mickey’s Cartoon Comeback”
• “The Voice Behind The Mouse”
• Mickey Mouse Club Titles In Color
• “Mickey Meets The Maestro”
• Mouse Mania
• Mickey Cartoon Physics From “Plausible Impossible”
• Mickey On The Camera Stand From “Tricks Of Our Trade”
• “The Making Of Mickey’s Christmas Carol”
• Publicity And Memorabilia Gallery
• Story And Background Art Gallery
• Easter Egg on the Bonus menu by highlighting one of the musical notes.