Title: Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Directed: Bunny Mattlinson
Release: December 16th, 1983
Starring: Alan Young, Wayne Allwine, Hal Smith, Will Ryan, Eddy Carroll,
Patricia Parris, Dick Billingsley, Clarence Nash, Tony Anselmo
*Warning, this review may contain spoilers
Yes, we know…another Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol adaptation. This time though, the giant animation behemoth Disney gets involved in the production. We’ve been rather careful trying to not include so many adaptations of the same story, pretty much settling on a single live-action and animated version. Different mediums normally result in very different versions. Anyway, let’s jump right into it with Mickey’s Christmas Carol!
Adaptations With Disney Magic
Mickey’s Christmas Carol plays rather close to the vest in its variation of the classic Dickens story. Scrooge McDuck steps into the shoes of Ebenezer Scrooge, owning the role well as the rich business owner who essentially enslaves his employees during the Christmas season. His loyal employee Bob Cratchit (portrayed by Mickey), exemplifies Scrooge’s greed by asking for half of Christmas Day off and losing most of his pay for the day due to his request. Scrooge, in desperate need of the true meaning of Christmas, is visited by four ghosts to show him the results of his actions and his impact on his family. Scared to death of what he has seen, he goes throughout London on Christmas Day and spreads cheer as much as he can.
In this world filled to the brim with countless A Christmas Carol adaptations, it is hard to stand out among the masses. Mickey’s Christmas Carol doesn’t break any barriers or take any liberties in its version, except for replacing each of the characters with their own Disney-branded IPs and characters. Perhaps this is due to the time constraint, as this special is no more than 30 minutes long. Scrooge McDuck is a perfect choice for Ebenezer, animated to feel like the greedy curmudgeon that Ebenezer embodies. I felt Mickey was a bit of an odd choice for Bob Cratchit, yet it feels genuine once we see the character struggle in the role. It also was enjoyable to see Goofy into one of Scrooge’s advisors, even if he is dead and long gone.
Return to the Screen
What makes Mickey’s Christmas Carol actually interesting is that it marks the return of many of Disney’s main characters to the television screen. Mickey’s Bob Cratchit portrayal is Mickey’s first screen return since his last debut back in 1953, nearly 30 years after his initial retirement! Both Donald and Goofy fall into this category too, marking Mickey’s Christmas Carol as their return after a mere 22 years. These characters may be mainstays in the Disney world now, but even their signatures took a break. The special boasts an all-star cast in general, bringing back many characters from the golden age of Disney animation. Jiminy Cricket anyone?
Part of Disney’s whimsical nature is the often beautiful soundtrack that pairs itself with the supreme animation. However, perhaps due to the fact that it is a traditional adaptation the creative team didn’t take any major interpretations with the score. With experienced arranger Irwin Kostal manning the helm, you’d expect that the music would stand out even just a little. Irwin Kostal split his time between the screen, Broadway, and scoring for Disney, obviously showing he hast the chops. Hell, he arranged The Sound of Music!
Scrooge’s or Mickey’s
When you first look at Mickey’s Christmas Carol, you may have the same question I did. How the hell are they going to adapt Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in a mere 30 minutes? Well, they obviously don’t go into any specifics or dive deep into any of the roles, but Disney keeps the framework intact. Mickey’s Christmas Carol takes every necessary beat in the traditional story, even managing to wrap up within the allotted time frame. A story that normally takes 90-120 minutes to tell, surprisingly works within a Disneyfied 30 minute window. The main acts don’t feel rushed and flow evenly throughout the special’s runtime.
I don’t have any major qualms with Mickey’s Christmas Carol, except for one major issue. Despite being the 30-year return of the Mickey Mouse character and his name being in the title, Mickey doesn’t nearly have as much screen time in his role. It only bothers me slightly because it is just a clear marketing tactic from Disney to snag people’s attention to their special. After 30 years, would the hype still be strong for the character if it was anyone else? Just rebrand Mickey’s Christmas Carol to Disney’s Christmas Carol and market it that way, or at least let Mickey have a larger role.
That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed a quick look at my thoughts on Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I promised that there will no more adaptations of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol any time soon. What are your thoughts on this classic piece of Disney animation? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for reaching the end of the article! This piece is apart of our Modern Neon Christmas Bonanza, where we are looking at 25 of our favorite or well-known Christmas movies. So click through to see the previous and next movie, or go back to the home page to find your favorite movie!
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