Scene:Huey, Dewey, and Louie lob an everyday household
tear gas grenade at a killer gorilla.
Specs: Full Screen (1.33:1), English and French Dolby DTS
5.1 surround sound, English subtitles
Type of disc: Dual Layer Format
it's too many years of reading comic books, but the idea
of a shared universe for all the Disney characters has always
appealed to me. So even though it's really a framing device
for short cartoons, the Saturday morning show House of
Mouse seemed long overdue. It serves a few purposes,
really: building the concept that all the characters know
each other, proving that Disney still knows how to do a
cartoon short (Just in time, too, because Cartoon Network
threatened to corner that market), and with Mickey owning
a nightclub, reasserting the mouse himself as the Sinatra
of cartoon characters.
second home-video release using the nightclub backdrop,
Mickey's House of Villains has a vague plot about
all the villains banding together to overthrow the lawful
tyranny of the mouse. Led by Jafar, several classic Disney
evildoers (including the hitchhiking ghosts from the Haunted
Mansion) glower at their tables. One might quibble with
the hierarchy or even the likelihood that some of these
villains hang out and drink.
the Sea-Witch? Definitely a boozehound, trolling for her next
husband with Cruella DeVille. Captain Hook? Sure, but only
if it's Captain Morgan. (Take that as you will.) Jafar? Likely
a Muslim, therefore a teetotaler. Alright, he may not be that
observant of his religion.
Chernobog, the demon lord from Fantasia? What the
heck is he doing waiting for the signal from a reedy vizier
anyway? And wait a minute - would he be caught dead
in the same room as Hades? They're completely different
theologies; one more character and you'd have a Neil Gaiman
The plot is thinner than Jack Skellington (sadly absent).
But really, it's an excuse to show a bunch of Halloween-themed
shorts. On that count, the DVD (or videotape - if you must)
classic strange love/hate relationship between Donald and
his nephews takes up three cartoons. Two from the forties
throw a musical witch and a killer gorilla into the mix.
Don't think too hard on the logic of them, though, because
there's something a little disturbing about the amount of
heavy ordnance the Ducks seem to have just lying around
the house, not to mention the coincidental gorilla costume.
Disney's Television Animation division contributes a surreal
updating to the conflict, as the boys go trick or treating
at the houses of all the big guns (Mickey, Goofy, and Donald).
In order to snag their candy, Unca Donald disguises himself
as Jason Voorhees. When the tables are turned, he falls
into a Duckburg zombie movie. It's never too early to introduce
children to the terrors of the living dead.
the other new pieces is Mickey in a Twilight Zone-ish tale
of a too perfect house. It's clever enough, but really notable
because John Cleese provides the narration. Almost all of
the new work has an interesting '50's retro vibe to it,
though the limitations of a television budget do occasionally
betray its modern origins.
when the villains make their move, it's only to change the
name of the place, kick the goodie goodies out, and show
an update of Hansel and Gretel with Mickey and Minnie in
the lead roles. PURE EVIL. Actually, they sing a weak "showstopping"
number that could only be from Hell. But the kiddies will
love it again and again, and if you ignore the framing device,
the cartoons will keep you amused. (My favorite: Goofy in
"How To Haunt A House.")
for extras, they're appropriately sparse, with the usual
trivia game and an okay sound effects track just in time
for Halloween. Mickey's House of Villains isn't a
Disney classic, and they know it. But it is better than
you might have thought.
Mickey's House of Villains at Amazon