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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Numbers Roundup (Mickey Mote + DVD Play Set) Review

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Numbers Roundup DVD cover art -- click to buy Mickey Mote + DVD Play Set from Amazon.com Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Numbers Roundup
Show & DVD Details

Executive Producers: Rob LaDuca, Bobs Gannaway / Directors: Rob LaDuca, Donovan Cook, Howy Parkins, Sherie Pollack / Writers: Mark Seidenberg, Bobs Gannaway, Leslie Valdes, Kevin D. Campbell / Producer/Story Editor: Mark Seidenberg, Leslie Valdes / Line Producer: Bradley Bowlen

Voice Cast: Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse), Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Bill Farmer (Goofy, Pluto), Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck), Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), Corey Burton (Professor Ludwig von Drake), Dee Bradley Baker (Various), Jim Cummings (Pete), April Winchell (Clarabelle Cow)

Running Time: 96 Minutes (4 episodes) / Rating: TV-Y
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Surround 2.0 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
DVD Release Date: November 16, 2010 / Suggested Retail Price: $26.99
Episodes Originally Aired May 2006 - April 2010; Bonus Episode Unaired Until 2011
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); White Keepcase in Cardboard Box with Mickey Mote
Also available without Mickey Mote: Standalone DVD ($26.99 SRP)

Buy from Amazon.com: DVD + Mickey Mote Just the DVD

Disney looks to make over the preschool DVD experience this week with the introduction of the Mickey Mote, a remote control in the familiar 3-circle shape of its most famous character's head. Specially designed for little young hands, the red remote has four buttons, each a different color and shape. It is meant to enhance the Playhouse Disney DVDs with which it is compatible.
Two of those are released on Tuesday in regular standalone fashion ($26.99 SRP) and in a Mickey Mote + DVD Play Set ($29.99 SRP) that bundles the remote control with the DVD.

Appropriate given the device's name, one of the launching DVDs is "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse": Numbers Roundup, the tenth disc born out of the hugely successful computer-animated TV series. Like most of those that have come before it, Numbers Roundup has a main course of four standard episodes. They span the show's unusually long run, which has passed the 100-episode mark and will celebrate its fifth anniversary next May.

Right off the bat, you're likely to be frustrated by the Mickey Mote in a couple of ways. Firstly, the back panel is screwed shut, presumably to make it better able to withstand the clumsiness of youth. So if your kid throws the thing at your new plasma screen, the good news is you probably won't have to reassemble the remote. The device's second questionable feature is its choice of power: two AAA batteries, not included. I thought it was pretty well established that people prefer to deal exclusively with AA batteries. Triple-A's are like coins that aren't quarters; you know they exist, but you'd rather not deal with them. (Truth be told, I'm not all that crazy about quarters either.) I was relieved to dig the needed pair of AAAs from a cat's most engaging prey, a laser level.

Do you see one of Daisy Bo-Peep's missing sheep? Well, do ya, punk? Mickey and Minnie Mouse opt for cowboy/girl hats in their quest to round up ten numbers.

It was for naught. My Mickey Mote didn't want to be programmed. I followed the instructions booklet and the directions spoken on the DVD itself, but couldn't get the Mickey Mote to react to any buttons that I pressed on my own DVD remote. That's disappointing. It's not like I have some obscure DVD player. It's a 2-year-old Sony model. And yes, the batteries were still good, and no, I don't believe the Mickey Mote was defective; it lit up as intended except when it was supposed to be receiving my remote's signal.

I didn't have to fidget much to realize that all the Mickey Mote is supposed to do is send the same signals as the directional keys of your DVD player's remote control. So instead of pressing Up, Down, Right, and Left, your kid can press Yellow Star, Orange Triangle, Green Circle, and Blue Square. The final lesson of the tutorial explains that, revealing all this fuss is over a roundish directional pad more easily handled by children. Of course, without the Mickey Mote, your kid won't benefit as much from the visual cues and color/shape reinforcement of questions.

Beyond that, this DVD is business as usual. There are four standard episodes, each running a few seconds past 24 minutes and allowing Mickey, Toodles, and the Mouseketools to take viewers through decision-making and problem-solving with regular "interaction."

Can you figure out Mickey's rebus? If so, you're one step closer to uncovering Mickey's big surprise. (It's "I Love Hot Dogs", by the way.) Puzzler Pete's final puzzle requires you to fill in the missing numbers of this broken clock.

1. "Mickey's Round-Up" (Originally aired August 9, 2008)
Mickey and friends have to rustle up missing numbers for Professor Von Drake.
Counting down from 10, they learn some math in the process.

2. "Daisy Bo-Peep" (Originally aired May 5, 2006)
In this series premiere episode, Mickey helps Daisy find her ten lost sheep.

3. "Mickey's Big Surprise" (Originally aired February 20, 2010)
To uncover Mickey's big surprise, the gang must solve five different kinds of puzzles.

4. "SuperGoof's Super Puzzle" (Originally aired April 10, 2010)
The puzzles keep on coming, this time from Puzzler Pete to SuperGoof.

VIDEO and AUDIO

All the episodes are presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen and Dolby 2.0 Surround. Certain past DVDs have presented the show with 16:9 picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Disney must assume that the target audience for this won't care for or about that kind of experience. As a digital-to-digital product, everything is exactly how it should be. Colors are bright, the animation is clean, and the soundtrack is sufficiently lively. Sure, it stands to reason that someone buying this show on DVD expects it to look and sound its best. It's also possible that some of these episodes were produced in 1.33:1 and 2.0 sound, although the infallible Wikipedia claims it's produced in 16:9 hi-def and then wastefully cropped for airing in most countries.

Mickey helps his extraterrestrial doppelganger Martian Mickey retrieve his missing pet shapes in the unaired bonus episode "Mickey's Show and Tell." The Active Play Discovery Mode pitches a math question regarding Daisy Bo-Peep's missing sheep. Small numbers and goofy bounce around on the DVD's main menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

First and most noteworthy among the bonus features is the never-before-seen episode "Mickey's Show and Tell" (24:02), which isn't scheduled to air until all the way in January 2011. Martian Mickey (a glowing green Mickey Mouse from Mars) visits and enlists Earth Mickey and others to retrieve his missing pet shapes, culminating with show and tell with shapes.
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Perceptive viewers (or listeners) will notice that this is one of the first episodes featuring Bret Iwan as the voice of Mickey Mouse (replacing Wayne Allwine, who passed away eighteen months ago), although the credits state otherwise.

Under the heading Game Time comes "Discovery Mode", offered on seemingly all the featured episodes, and chosen at random. There are two levels (one easier, one more challenging), both of which can be enjoyed as Active Play (using remote control) or Auto Play (just answering). With Active Play, you are pulled away from the show every few minutes for questions about colors and shapes that could take advantage of the Mickey Mote (which it hollowly implies you need). Auto Play still pulls you away from the show but to pointlessly tell (not ask) you things. There are even alternate versions within the same level and episode, should you really enjoy this way of playback.

Finally, there is the aforementioned "Program Your Mickey Mote" tutorial. Good luck with that!

Naturally FastPlay-enhanced, the disc opens with ads for Disney Blu-ray, Playhouse Disney DVDs with the Mickey Mote, Bambi: Diamond Edition, and Tangled. The Sneak Peeks listing follows the same promos with ones for Disney Movie Rewards, The Search for Santa Paws, "Handy Manny", Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, and the long-delayed and soon accurately-timed Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Blu-ray + DVD.

The 16:9 animated main menu breaks away from the standard Clubhouse scene with antics pertaining to the Round-Up episode.

To accommodate the Mickey Mote, the play set is packaged in a thick cardboard box like old computer software. Its embossed front opens and closes with velcro to show off the remote through a clear plastic window and explain what it does. The DVD case inside is probably the same as the standalone version (give or take a slipcover; there's none here). Inside the white keepcase, one finds a Disney Movie Rewards code, a Quick Setup Guide for the Mickey Mote, and an ad booklet that includes a short-lived coupon for $3 off one of seven compatible Mickey Mote Playhouse Disney DVDs.

Donald and Daisy Duck assist Puzzler Pete on this "spot the differences" challenge. Goofy uses tweezers, the right Mouseketool for completing a tiny jigsaw puzzle.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Disney Tabletop Christmas Tree: The Wonderful World of Disney
Numbers Roundup provides a comparable experience to most of the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" DVDs that have come before it, albeit with more episodes and a slightly higher price tag. If you're excited about the Mickey Mote, though, be forewarned that there is certainly a chance that it just won't work for you, as it didn't for me.

More on the Play Set / Buy from Amazon.com / Buy just the DVD

Buy from Amazon.com

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DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on DVD:Mickey Saves Santa and Other Mouseketales Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt Mickey's Treat
Mickey's Storybook Surprises Mickey's Big Splash Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland
Choo-Choo Express Minnie's Bow-tique Road Rally Numbers Roundup Minnie's Masquerade

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Reviewed November 14, 2010.