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Mickey Mouse, Goofy
Writing Credits:

Embark on magical adventures in this Disney Animation Collection DVD, part of an exciting series of classic Disney short films! Your favorite Disney characters star in "Mickey And The Beanstalk," the imaginative telling of a beloved storybook tale! Based on the timeless adventures of "Jack and the Beanstalk," Mickey, Donald and Goofy climb a fantastic beanstalk up into the sky to a place where everything is huge - the food, the castle and the fearsome giant named Willy who guards a beautiful golden harp! Will Mickey and his friends outwit the giant and make it safely back home?

Rated NR


Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 69 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 4/7/2009

• Collectible Litho Print
• Sneak Peeks


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Walt Disney Animation Collection: Volume I - Mickey And The Beanstalk (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2009)

If I had a nickel for every time Disney repackaged their classic shorts… well, I’d have a lot of nickels. 2009 presents more opportunities via a new series called the Walt Disney Animation Collection.

Today I’ll look at the first volume in this set. It collects five shorts, all of which star Mickey Mouse. I’ll offer some thoughts about each one along with a number rating.

Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947): "Beanstalk" offers a fun retelling of the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk" with Mickey, Donald and Goofy ably filling Jack's shoes. Actually, Mickey's the real replacement for Jack, with the other two more or less along for the ride. And I'm happy they are, or at least that Donald's there. Goofy has little to do in the story, but Don provides some of the cartoon's funniest moments. Neither Mickey nor Goofy ever did much for me, but the Duck always could be counted upon to spice up a story, and he doesn't fail to do so here. The scene in which he goes nuts from hunger is terrific.

The rest of the program doesn't quite live up to that, though a few other scenes of Don's are pretty good, such as when he sees the dragonflies. Mickey's just so darned dull; he makes a decent hero, but his dreariness almost leads us to root for the much more colorful giant. In any case, "Beanstalk" has some slow spots, but it's generally a pretty entertaining piece. 7/10.

The Brave Little Tailor (1938): I expected to like “Tailor” since it’s a fairly well known and highly regarded clip, and indeed I did think it was fun. The story pits Mickey against a giant with amusing and inventive results. 8/10.

Thru the Mirror (1936): In this fairly surreal cartoon, we get a piece obviously influenced by the work of Lewis Carroll. The short generally works well. 8/10.

Gulliver Mickey (1934): To entertain his nephews, Mickey tells the tale of how he ended up in the land of Lilliput. Am I the only one who thinks this rendition would’ve been more fun with the irascible Donald than with the mild-mannered Mickey? Mickey does act a little edgier than usual, but always with a smile, so don’t expect him to go kooky. The short provides a cute adaptation of the Swift work but nothing memorable. 6/10.

Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip (1940): Mickey and Pluto go on a train voyage and attempt to avoid Pete’s wrath. “Trip” doesn’t fit with the fantasy theme of the other shorts, so it seems like an odd match for this set. Nonetheless, it’s a clever and amusing short that uses its characters well. 7/10.

The DVD Grades: Picture D+/ Audio D+/ Bonus D-

Walt Disney Animation Collection Volume 1 appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. All of the shorts in this set can be found elsewhere, and it would behoove you to track them down on other discs, as they looked bad here.

Rather than lift "Mickey and the Beanstalk" from Fun and Fancy Free - its source location - Collection takes it from a TV special "hosted" by Ludwig Von Drake. Why? I have no clue, but this choice meant that the short – one that filled about half of this DVD – suffered from a mix of problems. Source flaws abounded. Throughout the short, I saw lots of specks, marks, lines, blotches and tears.

Those weren’t the only concerns. Colors were runny and messy, and they also tended to be a bit pale. Sharpness was mediocre at best. The short never looked terrible unfocused, but it also failed to present real definition and clarity. Blacks were mushy, and shadows seemed too dense; since some parts were too bright, that issue was an odd one, but it’s what I saw. “Beanstalk” simply looked awful.

The other shorts fared better, but they had concerns as well. Most of “Brave Little Tailor” was satisfactory except for source flaws. Dust was the main problem, as the image literally crawled with little specks at times. That became a major distraction in an otherwise decent looking transfer.

Print defects continued to distract with “Gulliver”. I noticed a fair number of specks and marks throughout the short. It also displayed somewhat iffy contrast, as the black and white cartoon tended to look somewhat blown out and bright. Its grey tones were a little bland and without the sheen I like from B&W productions.

“Trip” proved to be the most satisfying of the five shorts. It suffered from minor specks but otherwise looked quite good. It displayed vivid colors and clean definition without much to detrect from the experience.

“Mirror” was acceptable but not great. Print defects created some distractions, and I also noticed more edge haloes than usual. Colors were decent to good, while sharpness was generally okay; the image could be a bit tentative but not to an extreme. Some positive elements appeared in this set, but too many negatives materialized for me to give this package a grade above a “D+”, primarily due to the disaster that was “Beanstalk”.

The folks behind the Collection decided to rework the material for Dolby Surround 2.0. Bad idea, at least in the case of “Beanstalk”. That short created an awkward soundfield that localized vocal elements in a hard manner. The majority of the speech came from the front left speaker, though some related bits – like Herman’s sneeze – popped up out of the right front channel. Does that make sense to anyone? One second Herman spoke out of the left, and then he sneezed out of the right!

The rest of the soundfield seemed more satisfying, but not by a lot. The music and effects tended to present mushy delineation. They spread across the front, but not with real delineation or clarity. Instead, they filled the speakers and left us with no sense of clean placement or integration. The surrounds added a bit of vagueness and that was it.

For “Beanstalk”, audio quality was weak. Speech tended to be rough and brittle, while the rest of the track was flat and lumpy. Both music and effects came with a strong bass layer that overwhelmed everything else; that meant those elements were dull and boomy. The disc’s presentation of “Beanstalk” was a disaster.

At least the other shorts went with their original monaural audio. “Brave Little Tailor” showed some brittle and edgy elements but seemed acceptable for its age. I got the impression someone had tarted up the sound for “Gulliver” though, as it presented more low-end than I’d expect in something from 1934. This gave it an artificial and boomy sense that didn’t sound right.

“Gulliver” also came with some source flaws; it suffered from a low rumble and some pops. Some of those issues marred “Mirror” as well; it provided hiss and a few noise-related concerns. Unlike “Gulliver”, though, low-end wasn’t an issue. Instead, “Mirror” sounded a bit too harsh and trebly. It remained acceptable for its era, but it didn’t do better than that.

As was the case with its visuals, the audio of “Trip” fared the best of all the set’s shorts. The cartoon displayed good clarity and definition for its age, and it also failed to suffer from notable source concerns. Honestly, the four mono shorts sounded acceptable, but the severe problems with “Beanstalk” caused me to lower my grade to a “D+”.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Up, The Princess and the Frog, Bedtime Stories and Disney Movie Rewards. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for Monsters, Inc., The Black Cauldron, Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Mickey’s Big Splash and Disney Parks.

The set also provides a collectible litho print. This simply shows an image from “Beanstalk” on a card. Yawn.

In terms of the quality of its shorts, The Walt Disney Animation Collection Volume 1 succeeds. We get a nice set of cartoons here. Unfortunately, the disc fails to present these shorts in a satisfying way. Actually, most look and sound decent, but the horrible treatment given to “Mickey and the Beanstalk” saps the package of its value. Most fans will already own these cartoons via various other releases, and they should stick with those DVDs; this one is a problematic waste of money.

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