Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Since Twice probably never saw a frame of film, I expected a strong visual presentation, and that’s what I got.
Very few concerns appeared in the sharpness domain. Occasionally the show looked ever-so-slightly soft, but that didn’t occur with any frequency. Most of the shorts came across as concise and distinctive. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and I also noticed no edge enhancement. As I mentioned at the outset, I presume this program offered a digital-to-digital transfer, so source flaws were completely absent.
As one might expect from a holiday cartoon, Twice presented a broad palette. It showed all sorts of bright and vivid tones, though they looked a little more subdued than I might expect. They took on a slight pastel hint much of the time, which meant they never quite leapt off the screen. Nonetheless, the colors were clean and quite rich overall. Blacks seemed firm and dense, while low-light shots came across as nicely delineated and smooth. Twice offered consistently positive visuals.
While not as strong as the picture, the audio of Mickey’s Twice Upon a Time seemed more than acceptable. The DVD presented both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. As often occurs, the pair sounded identical to me. Except for minor volume differences, the two seemed very similar.
As one also might anticipate, neither soundfield went bonkers. Both concentrated mainly on the front, although they opened up to the rear pretty well. The surrounds mostly focused on general reinforcement of music and effects, but they added a moderate level of unique elements. For example, the shots at Santa’s workshop demonstrated nice involvement and created a good sense of place. In the front, the speakers presented a lively feeling of the environment as well as strong stereo imaging for the music.
Audio quality always seemed positive. Speech consistently sounded natural and crisp, with no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music showed nice range. The songs and score were bold and dynamic at all times. Effects also seemed accurate and vivid. They rarely taxed my system, but they came across as well-defined and smooth. All in all, the audio of Twice was satisfying.
Only a smattering of supplements round out the DVD. We get a collection of deleted scenes. Including introductions from producer Pam Marsden, creative executive Jeff Howard, and director Matt O’Callaghan, these last a total of 12 minutes. We learn of stories that never went into production as well as concepts for the program’s actual shorts. Mostly we hear about the development of some of the tales as well as the interstitials, and we see concept art and sketches as well. One piece of final animation appears via a cut from “Dog-Gone Christmas”. This offers a fun look at the creation of Twice with some nice details.
The “Backstage Disney” area presents a featurette called Inspiration on Ice. The three-minute and 12-second shows how the animators used skater Michelle Kwan to help with the motion of “Belles on Ice”. We hear from Kwan as well as choreographer/director Peggy Holmes and animator Ray Shenusay. Short and fluffy, the program doesn’t tell us much.
Finally, “Games and Activities” includes three elements. Santa’s Workshop Challenge forces you to answer 10 questions like “true or false: helping people is its own reward”. No, they don’t ever get more difficult than that. Accurately complete the quiz and you’ll see a “reward” that mentions your inclusion as a member of “Santa’s Great List”. You can print this and write in your name.
For the next game, we need to Guess What Donald Is Singing. Actually, it’s more “Finish the Lyrics Donald Is Singing”. The contest presents song snippets and requires you to finish them. It’s not very interesting, and it includes no reward.
Santa’s Sort is almost completely nonsensical. You’re supposed to pick one of three mail slots, and if you pick correctly, you get a surprise. However, even when I did select the right one, nothing interesting happened. It’s a pointless extra.
As the DVD starts, we encounter a mix of ads. We find trailers for Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, Bambi, and Mulan II. These also appear in the disc’s Sneak Peeks domain along with promos for The Aladdin Trilogy, Eloise at Christmastime, and Mary Poppins.
Another lackluster direct-to-video program from Disney, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas fails to come to life. It never seems terrible, but it also doesn’t turn into anything special. Instead, it presents modestly amusing shorts and that’s about it. The DVD offers excellent visuals with good audio and some minor extras. I’ve seen worse holiday entertainment, but I’ve also seen much better material.