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Toon Talk: Mickey Mouse in Living Color Volume 2 DVD
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Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
Mickey Mouse in Living Color
Neat and Pretty
The first volume of â€˜wave three' is actually the second volume for Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume One was released in the â€˜first wave' of Treasures; click here to read the Toon Talk review for Volume One), and comprises the star's output from 1939 to today. As our host Maltin states, this collection charts Mickey's evolution from the playful scoundrel of the earlier shorts into a "suburban home-ownerâ€?, much like his alter ego, Walt himself. You can also see here, as the solo careers of his frequent co-stars Donald Duck and Goofy flourished, Mickey's faithful dog Pluto became the sole scene-stealer through most of his latter period, a time where Mickey mellowed on the big screen, with fewer appearances and even less innovations or milestones save for his â€˜face-lift' in The Pointer.
But there are still oodles of charm to be seen from our leading man, most notably in such favorites as The Nifty Nineties, Mickey and the Seal and Pluto's Christmas Tree (with that classic Santa candle bit with Chip â€˜nâ€˜ Dale), not to mention the loony antics on display in Orphan's Benefit, Mickey's Birthday Party and, most especially, Symphony Hour. The remaining of his earl color shorts, from 1939's Society Dog Show to 1953's The Simple Things, are included on disc one (which can be viewed via a "Play Allâ€? feature or through alphabetical or chronological listings), along with his two feature film appearances from that era, his crowning achievement as The Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia and the equally impressive, often under-rated Mickey and the Beanstalk (just watch the breath-taking growth of the beanstalk sequence to see some of the best work from the Disney artists and story men from this period) from Fun and Fancy Free.
Some may see the later two films, found in disc one's bonus features, as redundant filler (after all, what certified Disney fan doesn't already own these two films on DVD already?), but completests can argue the convenience of having all of the Mouse's output in one place. Besides, their inclusion does nothing to diminish the quantity or quality of bonus material found on disc two. (Also included in the bonuses on disc one is a brief but illuminating peak at some unused pencil animation from The Sorcerer's Apprentice, as well as some â€˜Easter Eggs', sees below.)
Disc Two's main events are the two theatrical featurettes and one short subject that "brought Mickey into the 80s and 90sâ€?: First is Mickey's first big screen appearance after a thirty-year absence, Mickey's Christmas Carol, based not only on the Charles Dickens yuletide classic but also the beloved storybook record album from the 70s (which really should be released on CD as soon as possible), followed by another re-telling of a literary favorite, starring Mickey in a â€˜dual' role as both Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, and the fast-paced and bizarrely enchanting Runaway Brain, a frantic update of Mr. Mouse and his leading lady Minnie that casts them in a horror film setting gone amuck. These three films are all vastly different in styles and execution, and are perfect examples of how to continually reinvent an iconic character.