Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other Disney toon superstars make their first appearances as CGI renderings outside of theme park attractions in “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas,” moppet-skewing vidpic released just in time for yuletide stocking-stuffing. Think of it as a gift that will keep on giving — to the giver. Even after repeated viewings, delighted tykes should keep ho-ho-hoing (and remain conveniently distracted) while parents tend to more pressing household matters. Disney can expect steady seasonal sales for years to come.
Anthology format allows helmer Matthew O’Callaghan and platoon of scripters to present five self-contained, holiday-themed episodes linked by pop-up book visuals and Clive Revill’s cheery narration. Not surprisingly, all segments are sufficiently brisk to sustain interest of restless small fry.
“Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas,” vidpic’s grand finale, has Mickey Mouse (Wayne Allwine) searching for runaway Pluto while the rambunctious mutt visits the North Pole for reindeer games with Donner (Jeff Bennett) and Blitzen (Jim Cummings). Other standout segs include “Belles on Ice,” which finds Minnie Mouse (Russi Taylor) and Daisy Duck (Tress MacNeille) competing fiercely (and briefly straining their friendship) during an ice-skating competition, and “Donald’s Gift,” in which irrepressibly cranky Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo) gets a dose of Christmas cheer in spite of himself.
Computer-generated imagery provides pleasingly colorful, seemingly 3-D eye-candy. Even so, novelty value of classic toon characters in CGI format likely will be lost on little ones raised on “Shrek” and “Toy Story.”
Grown-ups may be amused by occasional allusions to “Fantasia.” Dancing hippos and alligators loom large in “Belles on Ice.” Later, in “Dog-Gone Christmas,” Mickey surveys damage after Pluto inadvertently destroys the yuletide decorations, then remarks: “I’d have to be a sorcerer to clean up this mess!”