Disney // 2010 // 45 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // September 11th, 2010
The Race Is On!
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally takes place in a world where nothing bad ever happens, nobody ever loses, and everyone gets along; it's a cold sterile world that, on the evidence of this animated feature, is unbelievably boring.
Okay, I'll put my cards on the table: I've never been that big a fan of Mickey Mouse. I know, I know, "but everyone loves Mickey," I hear you cry...except I don't. His saccharine sweet disposition, helium voice and stupid pants just don't sit right with me. Perhaps I'm just an old curmudgeon, but I've always preferred the likes of Foghorn Leghorn and Bugs Bunny, who weren't averse to a little mischief from time to time.
Still, as I look for suitable entertainment for my young son, I'm happy to give Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and company another chance, especially as they're all now rendered in that new-fangled CGI I've heard so much about.
Regrettably -- and I tried, oh how I tried -- I have to report that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally is, if anything, a regression from the Mickey cartoons that I grew up with. Rather than have some fun with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and the rest of the gang taking part in a Monte Carlo or Bust style road race; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally instead spends most of its 45-minute running time lambasting Piston Pete for being the only participant who wants to win. I mean, really, are we at such a low state that we must teach our kids that winning is a bad thing? I whole heartedly agree that children should be brought up to understand that it's the taking part that counts, and to find the fun in playing games and sporting events first and foremost, but I also find it worrying that shows like this attempt to destroy any sense of healthy competition.
The cartoon itself is undeniably repetitive, as the racers travel to different locales to find "Mickey Markers." There's no excitement at all to the event, as apart from Pete, nobody goes above walking pace-Pluto even manages to keep up with Mickey's car while traveling on a skateboard! Predictably, despite being the fastest participant, Pete ends up coming in last, which I'm sure is supposed to teach us some "Tortoise and the Hare" style lesson.
What's worse, though, is that while I sat barely able to stay awake watching this retched pile of nonsense, my son sat through the whole thing perfectly entertained. It was to be his first act of betrayal. And perhaps this is where the truth of the matter is revealed: there are always going to be kids who love Mickey Mouse, my son apparently amongst their number, and for them Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally is going to provide plenty of joy. And for that reason, and that reason alone, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally gets a recommendation.
Presented in a 1.78:1 "Family-Friendly Widescreen" transfer, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally looks pretty good on DVD, with nice strong colors and a predictably sharp image, although I'd argue that the CGI incarnation of Mickey loses some of the charm he had when he was just a mere pencil drawn rodent. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is technically sound, but is wasted when dross such as "Hot Dog" is pumped through it.
A "never-before-seen" bonus episode, "Pluto Lends A Paw," tops the list of extras included on the disc. Although it fails to raise the bar in any way, it at least adds another 24-minutes to the discs running time. In addition to this, there are also two Discovery modes, each aimed at different age groups which stop the feature intermittently to ask questions, which the viewer answers using the remote.
Mind numbing for adults, but great fun for kids, and in this case I guess the
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 45 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Discovery Mode
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site