Mickey Saves Christmas Has No Surprises In Store
It’s one day before December, but everyone who celebrates it already knows it’s Christmas time. There’s no escaping, and there’s no point in delaying it. So, we’re looking at Mickey Saves Christmas, a short special that disappointed me for reasons entirely my fault.
For clarity’s sake, I went into this hoping for three things. I hoped for some comedic dialogue. I hoped for some fun stop-motion animation. And maybe, just maybe, some fourth-wall shenanigans. Mickey and his friends have gotten stories and shows with surprisingly sharp writing.
But when I saw Mickey Saves Christmas was rated G, I suspected what I was getting into. This is not a cartoon for “all ages.” This is not some subtly stellar media piece. It’s what you think of when you imagine a movie made for a young child. It’s got a benignly basic stock story that still has plot holes and relies on Pluto to cause every plot complication. The stakes are lukewarm in presentation, and the characterization is extremely minimal. Minnie especially gets no favors. They wanted her to have the catchphrase “buttons and bows,” and I don’t know if that’s a recent development, but it’s not even a good catchphrase.
This Special Has Absolutely No Depth To Be Found
But you wanna know what’s funny? I still got one of the three things I wanted from Mickey Saves Christmas. This special, even for an older audience, has a saving grace: the stop-motion. It screams classic Rankin/Bass style but with modern touchups. Disney has infinite production power, so I’m sure they could make something on the level of LAIKA’s Coraline or Missing Link for Mickey, but they chose to match the old-style feel. Character motion is limited, poses snap into position, and liquids look weird—and I was charmed by all of it. Every time I was worried about boredom, Goofy would pose in perfect synchrony with a robot, or a reindeer would dance along to a song with all the mobility of an action figure. It’s endearing, and there’s so much skill and craft on display.
And, you know what else? The voice acting was a lot of fun. Brock Powell does a great Santa voice, full of warmth and cheer. Debra Wilson imbues Daisy with so much personality in very few lines. And Bill Farmer is superb at doing Goofy’s voice (and voiced Hop Pop from Amphibia!), and I enjoyed every line he got. This movie may have a lot of flat, by-the-numbers dialog, but all these voice actors still gave skilled and solid performances, and that’s always worth praising, no matter the project.
So, yeah, Mickey Saves Christmas is a movie for little kids and no one else. But, at the very least, if any adults or teens are forced to be in the same room, it’s inoffensive and paced well. It’s a pleasant little story with a mostly cohesive moral that easily slots into traditional holiday viewing.
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