A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this DVD includes five short stories about Christmastime, all of which are fine for preschoolers and up. There's no violence or language (just some pushing and shoving during an ice-skating competition and a few pratfalls that don't injure anyone), but one of the vignettes does feature some mild flirting, hand-holding, and a near-kiss between Goofy's son Max and his girlfriend. All of the segments teach little lessons about showing generosity and kindness toward both loved ones and strangers during the holidays.
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What's the story?
In this sequel to Disney's 1999 straight-to-video Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey and his closest pals face different challenges around the holidays. The first story, Belles on Ice, features Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse, who become jealous and angry with each other during a hometown ice-skating competition. In Christmas: Impossible, brothers Huey, Dewey, and Louie travel to the North Pole to try to get off the "naughty" list. Christmas Maximus follows Goofy's son, Max, who brings home his girflriend, Mona, to meet his dad, only to be embarrassed by everything Goofy does. Donald's Gift stars an annoyed and overwhelmed Donald Duck, who wants to skip Christmas festivities and just have some peace and quiet. The final story revolves around Mickey and Pluto, who ends up hopping a train to the North Pole after Mickey sends him to the dog house.
Is it any good?
These videos are just a passing holiday diversion, nothing memorable. Christmas-themed DVDs are so plentiful -- and profitable -- that it seems like every kid-friendly movie franchise, cartoon, and TV series creates one to release before each holiday season. This benign Disney entry in the Christmas genre seems like just another churned-out special. The computer-generated animation isn't up to Disney's usual standards, and the stories lack the kind of charm that you'd expect from the Mouse Factory. It's sweet (albeit a bit odd) to see Goofy's son realize that his silly father isn't purposely trying to embarrass him -- he just loves him to death. And those rascally brothers Huey, Dewey, and Louie are always funny.
If you watch this DVD, be sure to play the behind-the-scenes features, which include a fascinating look at how Daisy and Minnie's ice-skating routines were based on Olympic skater Michelle Kwan's movements. The thorough interview with Kwan and footage of her skating the choreographed scenes in the movie is a treat. And in interviews with the animators, they admit that in the Pluto sequence, the reindeer were originally drawn as a host of other animals "training" to become reindeer, which explains why they don't look like reindeer at all.
Talk to your kids about ...
What do Minnie and Daisy learn about being overly competitive with friends? How do they settle their differences?
Max is embarrassed of his father for being Goofy, but he later realizes that his father does everything out of love. What gave Max a change of perspective? Do you treat your parents like Max?
How do Huey, Dewey, and Louie redeem themselves after wreaking havoc at the North Pole? How can we make an effort to be "good," and not just so we can get toys?
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