Stuff I Watch in December: Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

Happy Holidays and welcome! We are counting down the days until December 25th and, in that time, I will be reviewing each and every Christmas/holiday film I watch during the month. They’re mostly a selection of films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

Holiday Inn (1942)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
White Christmas (1954)
Santa Claus (1959)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
I Believe in Santa Claus (1984)
Lethal Weapon (1986)
Die Hard (1988)
Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Scrooged (1988)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Home Alone (1990)
Die Hard 2 (1990)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Jingle All the Way (1996)
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Home Alone 3 (1997)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

Once Upon a Christmas

DIRECTOR(S): Jun Falkenstein, Alex Mann, Bradley Raymond, Toby Shelton, and Bill Speers. The five of them have various animation credits ranging from children’s weekly animated TV to straight-to-video Disney animated sequels to feature films.

WHAT IS IT?: Another Disney entry pushed out for the Christmas holiday featuring three stories, split into 20-minute segments.

THE PLOT: Here are the three stories:

“Donald Duck’s Stuck on Christmas” is basically an extension of the 90’s Disney show “Ducktales” and features the same voice cast reprising their roles. Basically, Huey, Dewey, and Louie all love Christmas and make a wish that they could have Christmas every single day. Of course, this puts them into a “Groundhog Day”-style loop which inevitably and predictably fatigues them to the point where they will do anything to get out of it.

“A Very Goofy Christmas” is an extension of the Disney cartoon “Goof Troop” and features Goofy and his son Max who is a little older and wiser and is looking for proof that Santa Claus exists — which Goofy attempts to prove, being the good father that he is. Things go awry because Goofy is so disaster-prone but we do get the requisite Disney ending.

“Mickey and Minnie’s Gift of the Magi” is a re-telling of author O. Henry’s “The GIft of the Magi” and features Mickey and Minnie working hard at their respective jobs so that they can buy each other the perfect gifts that would compliment what they already have — but when things take a turn, the two end up sacrificing what they have in order to buy those gifts and learn the true meaning of what it is to give and receive.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: Critics and reviewers thought it was fair, remarking that it was nicely animated but average in storytelling.

WHAT DID I THINK?: We’ve had two Home Alone sequels, a few musicals, a film about a burglar dealing with family strife during the holidays, a silly comedy about a man trying to buy his kid the most requested toy, and an insane, intense action flick by Shane Black.

Please allow me this pallet-cleanser.

I actually got this free from Amazon 15 years ago (I don’t recall how) and I added it to my Christmas viewing list. I’m not gonna lie. This is sappy and maudlin and schmaltzy, even by Disney standards and it’s hardly what one might dub a “classic”.

But if you’ve got kids, they’ll love it and the movie is easy to take and a little moving in some spots — provided your level of cynicism and/or exposure to material it’s based upon, that is.

If I were to grade the thing, I’d say the last story (“Gift of the Magi”) is my favorite just because it’s based on a great story that still holds up 100+ years later. The Goofy story is probably the one I’d put in second place with the Ducktales extension taking the bronze.

GRADE: C+

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