Mickey's House of Mouse Villains (2002)
Main Menu Introduction
Featurette-Fright Delight; 5.1 House Mix/5.1 Villains' Mix
Game-Reel of Misfortune
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||65:15 (Case: 68)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Jamie Mitchell|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Mickey's House of Villains is basically a series of Walt Disney cartoons loosely based around Halloween themes (and that's very loosely with some of them!), strung together with a very nondescript "plot" concerning famous villains taking over Mickey's club/cinema.
The "glue" part of the feature is rather painful, with Saturday-morning-cartoon standard animation and story-telling. The voices of some of our beloved Disney characters are also so departed from their originals that it made my toes curl up inside my shoes. I don't think that's something that would worry the younger children that this production is obviously aimed at though.
The real body of the show is the 8 cartoon shorts that are played one after the other, and I found these to be of varying quality. They are as follows:
There's quite a range of stuff here, with cartoons from 1937 up to 2002, and they've included a few classics such as The Lonesome Ghosts. There are also a couple of very forgettable shorts, and it really illustrates the changes in standards over the decades, both storytelling and animation-wise.
Having said all that, I really think that for kids this is a decent collection of cartoons that will hold their attention for the relatively short 65 minute running time, as well as providing some laughs. The inclusion of a few classics that the adult animation fans can enjoy too is just a bit of a bonus. I can't see the kids wanting to watch these over and over again, but then at my age I have trouble remembering what I used to enjoy sitting through repeatedly! These are certainly of a higher standard than some of the dross that passes for cartoons on TV these days, and I'm sure this DVD will come in handy for keeping the young 'uns occupied on wet afternoons.
Due to the huge range in age of the source materials, this is a bit of a mixed bag transfer-wise, but overall it's an excellent video transfer.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame and hence not 16x9 enhanced. This is the original aspect ratio of the content. The back of the DVD case claims this is a 1.33:1 transfer and 16x9 enhanced, so I can only imagine they're talking about the menus, since that's the only thing with a widescreen aspect ratio. Just be aware of this though, since it would be possible to only see the "16:9" on the back, and think you're getting something you're not.
Sharpness is excellent on all the recent material, and is pretty good on the older cartoons as well. Older shorts such as The Lonesome Ghosts are also contained on some of the Walt Disney Treasures DVD sets that are only available in Region 1. I was able to compare the ones I own with this DVD, and could see absolutely no difference in quality except the improved resolution on our PAL transfer, so I'd say they were taken from the already excellent digital transfers made for the Treasures collections, which would explain the relatively sharp images for such old source material.
Shadow detail was good, and blacks were nice and black with no visible low-level noise.
Colour, like the rest of the video transfer is quite varied. Some of the newer shorts are very drab and colourless, whereas the older ones are rich and vibrant. The in-between segments that take place, involving Mickey's House of Mouse, contain the level of colour you'd expect to find in a modern US-TV cartoon. In all of the cartoons, though, I didn't see any bleeding, chroma noise, or colour problems, and the old shorts were a pleasure to behold.
I didn't notice any major film-to-video artefacts, which was a nice surprise because I was expecting some aliasing due to the original medium of a lot of the recent material (being made for TV). However, the older cartoons had numerous film artefacts, which is somewhat to be expected when they were filmed from the 1930s to 1950s. A good illustration of this can be found at 40:32. It doesn't detract much from the overall quality of image though, and isn't nearly as bad as might be expected. There was also visible film grain in these older shorts, but again nothing that marred the enjoyment of viewing the image.
There are 4 lots of subtitles: English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Spanish, and Spanish Titling. I sampled both the English streams, and found them to be pretty much word perfect, with only the odd inconsequential word being missed out.
The case claims this is an RSDL disc, but in actual fact it isn't (and you wouldn't expect it to be with such a short feature). Therefore, no layer change is present.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, like all other aspects of this disc the sound varies with the age of the material. Technically it's a 5.1 audio track, but in reality the majority of the cartoons are 5.0 at best. However, I reckon this is the best these cartoons are ever going to sound.
There are two tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English track.
In general, the dialogue was clear and easy to understand (that's if you don't include Donald's lines), despite some mild hissing apparent during some of the older cartoons.
Audio sync was as spot-on as you can expect from a cartoon, with its inherent lack of an exact relationship between mouth movement and audio.
My broken record continues: the music varied in quality depending on the cartoons. It ranged from barely adequate to excellent. There are a couple of shorts here based around classical pieces that have little or no dialogue, which I found to be an aural treat. In my opinion no one does musical cartoons quite like Disney, with the synchronisation of the action and music being a source of humour in itself. There's also a catchy little song at the 44 minute mark, entitled It's Our House Now, which I'm sure the kids will love.
Surely there must be another way of saying this (but I can't think of any): the amount of surround activity was generally based on the age of the cartoon. The recent in-between sections contained quite a lot of activity, but the oldest shorts were often more like a stereo track. That's not to say they were bad, and even getting any surround activity for a cartoon from such eras is a bonus.
As mentioned earlier, the subwoofer really didn't have much to do at all. It did make the occasional appearance (such as at 45:55 and 55:52), and was used to add some bass to a lot of the classical music, but it's certainly not what you'd call a bass-heavy soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
Extras are very thin on the ground and are aimed at the younger audience.
The main menu has an animated intro, and is 16x9 enhanced with looping audio based on the main theme music. The other menus generally have a very brief animated intro and are all 16x9 enhanced as well.
This little selection of clips from past Walt Disney cartoons comes in two flavours; House Mix and Villains' Mix. The first have an accompanying music track, the second just have the sound effects. It's basically a collection of action scenes containing the villains that Disney has provided us with over the years, ranging from the witch in Snow White to some of the latest offerings such as Jafar. It's a neat little extra actually, and reminded me of just how many classic films we've been given by Disney over the years. It has good audio accompanying it; a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, with the sound effects-only version being reminiscent of the effects-only track on Toy Story - very cool. The video quality covered both ends of the scale. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
Definitely one for the kids, this is a little trivia game where 5 questions must be answered accurately to build a bridge across a river of lava. It's quite colourful with short clips from Alladin accompanying it, but doesn't really make for repeat plays. There are only 8 questions to choose from, and you need to get 5 right to finish it, so after only 2 games the chances are that you'll have exhausted the options.
There are some very easy to find little Easter eggs on the main menu, and extras menu. The pictures of the villains on the wall can be selected, and you'll then get a very short clip (less than a minute) of the relevant character in action.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
I couldn't find the complete list of trailers on the Region 1 version, but apparently there are 10 of them. Unless you really want the trailers I'd go with the Region 4 PAL version.
A collection of cartoons that I'm sure will go down well with the kids, and there's even a few classics in there for the older animation fans. I'm sure this will do its intended job easily - keep children happily occupied for over an hour. If you're looking for purely classic Disney shorts though, then order some of the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs from the US instead. (Note: It's been pointed out to me that you can no longer find even the latest animated "Treasures" anywhere except on ebay)
The video quality is great.
The audio is about as good as you'll get it with these cartoons.
The extras are minimal, and aimed at the younger audience.
|DVD||Omni 3600, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Accusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer|