Disney // 2009 // 50 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dan Mancini (Retired) // October 7th, 2009
Though billed on the cover of the DVD as a full-length movie, Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland is really a double-length episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which means it runs just shy of 50 minutes and adheres religiously to the show's formulaic structure. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a 3D computer-animated series for preschoolers that debuted on Playhouse Disney in 2006. The show revolves around the adventures of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto as they solve rudimentary problems involving letters, numbers, and colors with the help of a quartet of Mouskatools provided by Mickey's Mouskadoer computer. Mickey also seeks help from his pint-sized audience, pausing regularly to speak directly to kids watching the show.
In Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland, the gang riffs on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and solves a few problems in the process. Mickey and Donald are getting ready for Daisy's birthday party when the cuckoo from the cuckoo clock they're planning to give her as a gift escapes to Wonderland. Determined to restore Daisy's present, Mickey and Donald follow the clockwork cuckoo down the rabbit hole. During their adventures in the odd fantasyland, they meet a variety of unusual characters, including Professor Von Drake standing in for Carroll's White Rabbit, Chip and Dale as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Pete as the Cheshire Cat, and Goofy as the Mad Hatter. The duo must use their wits and trusty Mouskatools to make their way through the trippy, upside-down world of Wonderland, find the cuckoo, and return to the clubhouse in time for Daisy's party. While the episode hews closely to the series' rigid formula of light problem solving and nearly conflict-free gentility, it offers some mildly surreal visuals and a solid, rudimentary introduction to Carroll's famed story. If it's possible for any given episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to be better than any other (we're talking about a show made for preschoolers, after all), then Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland is among the cream of the crop.
Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland is the final episode of the show's second season. The first season's computer-generated animation was solid. The second season's is slightly superior, delivering improved detail in both the characters and backgrounds. Colors are vibrant, the character design adheres closely the old 2D, hand-drawn versions of the characters, and movement is fluid and natural. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has emerged as the flagship show for the Playhouse Disney lineup of shows for preschoolers on the Disney Channel, and it's obvious that the House of Mouse has invested some money in improving the show's look since its earliest episodes. Being a pure digital-to-digital affair, the DVD transfer is superb. The image is pristine and there are no artifacts of any kind. In keeping with the series' broadcasts on the Disney Channel HD, the presentation is 1.78:1 widescreen, enhanced for widescreen televisions. This is a major improvement over previous DVD releases, which presented episodes in the cropped full frame format broadcast on the standard definition version of the Disney Channel.
Audio is also superior to previous DVDs. Instead of Dolby stereo surround, we're given a full Dolby 5.1 mix. The track won't exactly rattle your windows or crack the sheet rock in your home theater's ceiling, but it is more robust and immersive than the earlier DVDs.
The primary supplement is an interactive viewing mode billed on the packaging as "Three fun ways to watch and play." Unfortunately, the first way to watch and play is Disney's standard FastPlay option, which allows you to simply pop the disc in your player and allow your children to be subjected to a small eternity of advertisements for other Disney releases before the main program begins automatically. There are also two adventure modes that allow kids to use the remote to answer trivia questions as they watch the show. The first adventure mode has questions geared towards children ages two to three, while the second is for children ages four to six.
In addition to the quizzes, there is also a bonus episode, "Goofy Goes Goofy." In it, Mickey and Minnie must reverse the effects of a Professor Von Drake potion that has created a sextet of clumsy and confused Goofies.
Given the general quality of the double-length episode and the improved audio-video presentation, Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland is easily the best DVD release of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. If your kids love the show, this is the disc to add to your collection.
Sentence first -- and then the verdict. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's
Adventures in Wonderland is free to go. The court finds it not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2009 Dan Mancini; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episode
* In-Feature Challenges
* Official Site