Once in a blue moon, a single character comes along and makes the whole world laugh. From the moment Mickey Mouse appeared on the big screen whistling on a steamboat, Walt Disney's endearing little mouse captured hearts and tickled funny bones. And he hasn't stopped. In celebration of the world's most famous and best-loved character, his best friends -- Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and the gang -- present Mickey through the years in his most memorable movie shorts. From Mickey's color debut in "The Band Concert," to the never-before-released-on-video "Orphan's Picnic," and "Mickey's Surprise Party," to the inspired "Mickey And The Seal," THE SPIRIT OF MICKEY is an engaging collection of Mickey's best and brightest moments.
This is a solid collection of vintage Mickey Mouse cartoons, presented virtually complete, for once, and not just as a cut-and-paste clips assortment. (Introductory material is cobbled together from old Mickey Mouse Club and Wonderful World of Disney broadcasts.) The program is fun to watch, but it's also a revealing historical pageant. In classic action-comedy items like "Mickey's Trailer" and "Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip," it is clear that the Disney Studio's faultless technique, even when dealing with elaborate props and frantic activity, is a tradition that was established early on. And in tales of interspecies conflict like "Lend a Paw" and "Mickey's Seal" (both involving pitched battles between Mickey's dog Pluto and cuddly interlopers in the Mouse household), we can see how that institutional polish blunts the edge of the comedy--in sharp contrast, for instance, to the rough and raucous Warner Brothers style. Purists will fume over some of the choices that were made here: no original release dates are given for the cartoons, the credit sequences are missing, and the colors have been digitally homogenized. But get real: this is mass-market shelf-filler packaged for the Disney Stores, and as such it's a cut above. --David Chute