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Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers
10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Digital Copy Review

Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004) Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Digital Copy combo pack cover art Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers
Movie, Blu-ray & DVD Details

Video Premiere: August 17, 2004 / Running Time: 68 Minutes / Rating: G

Director: Donovan Cook / Writers: Evan Spiliotopoulos, David Mickey Evans

Voice Cast: Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Bill Farmer (Goofy), Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse), Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck), Jim Cummings (Peg Leg Pete), April Winchell (Clarabelle Cow), Jeff Bennett (Beagle Boys), Maurice LaMarche (Beagle Boys), Rob Paulsen (The Troubadour)

Songs: "All for One and One for All", "A -- You're Adorable", "Love So Lovely", "Sweet Wings of Love", "Petey's King of France", "Chains of Love", "This Is the End", "L'Opera", "All for One and One for All (Finale)"

1.78:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic); Both: Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Portuguese); DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; BD-only: Portuguese; Extras Subtitled
DVD Closed Captioned
Blu-ray Release Date: August 12, 2014 / Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Two single-sided, single-layered discs (1 BD-25 & 1 DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available in new standalone DVD ($19.99 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video
Previously released as DVD, DVD & Plush Gift Set, and VHS (August 17, 2004)

Buy Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers from Amazon.com: Blu-ray Combo Pack New DVD Original DVD Instant Video

For a very long time, whether you want to chalk it up to restraint, excess caution or lack of imagination, The Walt Disney Company's oldest and most iconic personalities -- Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy -- had somehow never gotten an entire feature film to themselves. They had starred in shorts as long as 25 minutes and in segments of the Fantasia films and Fun and Fancy Free, among others.
But it wasn't until 2004's Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers that the world received a single narrative film with these beloved, enduring characters in the foreground throughout.

Even this production was not the big deal you might expect. It came not from the main animation studio that graduated to features after succeeding with shorts of Mickey and Donald, but from DisneyToon Studios, the low-budget, predominantly direct-to-video B-team who gave us The Lion King 1 and Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo earlier that year.

Now if you're judging only by titles, the aforementioned two might sound uninspired and inessential. Discerning Disney fans who have acquainted themselves extensively with Disney's DTV output, however, can tell you that this branch that had basically begun with 1994's remarkably profitable and cheap Return to Jafar had started to improve by the mid-Noughties. DisneyToon had been pouring more money and effort into their lucrative sequel-driven slate and the results were increasingly entertaining, in some cases comparable to the feature animation department's theatrical output (e.g. Home on the Range), if still a far cry from the studio's brightest masterpieces.

Royal janitors Goofy, Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse don't exactly appear to be Musketeer material in "Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers."

The Three Musketeers is no classic. You may even hesitate to classify it as cinema, if not because it skipped theaters then because it was purchased by many as nothing more than a suitable babysitter for young children. Despite Mickey and Donald being introduced as kind of rapscallions, the characters had long since had their edges softened. Parents knew better than to expect anything remotely objectionable in a 21st century production starring characters who have long functioned as innocent mascots for a corporation specializing in family entertainment. Sure enough, there is no envelope-pushing here and children as young as three can probably follow and enjoy this broad, colorful comic adventure. But you needn't have the mindset or attention span of a child to find this movie consistently enjoyable.

Though set in 17th century France, Disney's characters play versions of themselves. Since a childhood encounter, working class best friends Mickey, Donald, and Goofy have dreamed of becoming Musketeers. As unskilled adults, their dream is on hold while working as hopeless janitors. Captain Pete, the peg-legged leader of the Musketeers, scoffs at their ambitions, dismissing them for being a coward (Donald), a doofus (Goofy), and too small (Mickey).

Pete appears to have a change of heart when he makes the three clumsy friends Musketeers and assigns them to serve as the bodyguards of Princess Minnie. There's an ulterior motive; Pete intends to eliminate Minnie long enough to claim France's throne. He feels confident in the incompetence of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy to ensure his rise to king goes as planned, with some assistance from his henchmen (the Beagle Boys).

Can our heroes unearth some heroism and protect Minnie and the throne? Do you even have to ask?

Captain Pete declares Mickey Mouse too small to be a Musketeer. Princess Minnie shares her dreams of finding romance with lady in waiting Daisy Duck.

Three Musketeers is irreverent but in a way that suits these very old, slowly evolving personalities. It benefits from fun transitions, sharp editing-driven visual gags, plentiful wit, some fourth wall breaks, and Disney nods. Interestingly, the film's two credited scribes are The Sandlot writer-director David Mickey Evans and Evan Spiliotopoulos, who after years of DisneyToon work, co-penned the Dwayne Johnson Hercules movie now in theaters.

Inevitably, this is a musical and though the original songs aren't great, they use appealing and familiar classical melodies, from The Nutcracker Suite and Carmen to Peer Gynt and The Blue Danube.

Fitting lyrics into them requires some vocal gymnastics, mostly by Rob Paulsen (who's had plenty of practice for just such a task from "Animaniacs" alone) as our troubadour turtle host. You aren't missing much if you're not catching all the lyrics.

This is a slight production; end credits begin running right at the one-hour mark. But it's fast-moving and honestly doesn't need to be any longer (fatigued parents and babysitters might disagree). The presentation remains bouncy and diverting, as characters find love with their historical mates and work together to foil their lifelong nemesis.

One of the nicest things about this film is that Mickey et al. feel like themselves, not just some lame attempt to resurrect them. Though boasting a modern style, the movie has a sensibility you can directly trace back to some of the very old animated shorts that Disney has been having revoiced for the ears of young Disney Channel viewers.

While Three Musketeers is something Disney fans of all ages can watch without feeling weird (or any weirder than watching any of the Disney animated classics), Mickey and company would soon be tailored to the world of preschoolers in "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse", which premiered in 2006. That highly successful, still running franchise has kept these personalities dating back to Walt's early years alive and relevant without any fundamental change bigger than a shift to three-dimensional computer animation. But there's no denying the fact that you need to have a young child present (or a website read by parents) for you to be watching more than a few minutes of "Clubhouse", which is a bit of a bummer for those old enough to really know and appreciate these characters' histories, and can derive joy from a movie like Musketeers or a show like "House of Mouse."

Our troubadour turtle narrator motivates Donald Duck with his defeatist song "This Is the End." A chained-up Goofy falls for abductor Clarabelle Cow, whose singing causes the moon to crack.

Disney has been known to miscalculate anniversaries, rounding up or down to end in a 5 or 0. For Three Musketeers, however, their math is absolutely on point. The film reached Blu-ray this week as part of a Disney combo pack deluge in a 10th Anniversary Edition. It has been exactly ten years to the month since Three Musketeers premiered in stores on DVD and endangered VHS. This release retains the movie's original opening and closing Disney logos, which are of the blue variety that ran the entire '90s rather than the longer, more elaborate CGI ones used now and occasionally to replace older ones.

Watch a clip from Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers:

VIDEO and AUDIO

DisneyToon Studios was thinking of more than just DVD when they made this film. The Three Musketeers clearly benefits from 1080p and the results are dazzling. The stellar 1.78:1 presentation shows us 2D animation at its most modern, with the digital-aided visuals looking perfect here. The sharp, pristine element is complemented by a very fine 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack, which right from the beginning makes extensive use of the entire soundfield. The music has nice range and weight, while the dialogue is always crisp and, with the exception of Donald, intelligible. It probably isn't hard to bring a 2004 animated film to Blu-ray, but you've still got to admire just how great this looks and sounds here.

While many a popular classic comes to Blu-ray with nothing new, Disney treats "The Three Musketeers" to this bizarre "Get Up and Dance!" clip. A nighttime chat between Princess Minnie and her lady in waiting Daisy is among the deleted scenes presented in story reel form.

BONUS FEATURES

The Three Musketeers Blu-ray gains one new bonus feature and drops a few of those found on the film's DVD.

First up is the all-new "Get Up and Dance!" (1:47). This bizarre, brief addition has three kids dance and play with swords along with the troubadour turtle's "All for One and One for All" song
(set to Offenbach's Can-can anthem Orpheus in the Underworld). The only extra presented in HD, it appears to be newly produced, but the question "Why?" springs to mind.

Next up comes a reel of deleted scenes (4:56). Presented mostly in story reel format (with a bit of full animation), these four sequences provide an alternate opening, more from the Troubadour turtle, and an extended night scene involving Minnie, Daisy, and our three heroes. The scenes are accompanied by optional commentary from Brian Snedeker, then the Vice President of DisneyToon Studios, who explains their losses.

A cast audio commentary (5:08) has Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pete speaking over a single sequence as if they are actors who made the movie. It's a somewhat novel idea, though you can appreciate that they didn't try to sustain this corniness over the entire film.

Director Donovan Cook proves he's the right man for the job with a Mickey Mouse baseball jersey in "Get the Scoop." The cast takes its bows on stage in the animated new Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers DVD main menu.

"Get the Scoop" (9:39) is a making-of featurette that can't decide if it's for young children or serious Disney fans. Hosted by Monica Lee (who?), the piece dispatches plenty of real information. There is behind-the-scenes footage of storyboard pitches and sword fight test reference plus crew members give real thought to the characters' histories and on how they're only now making a movie with all three of these leads. The same conflicted featurette has crew talk about Mickey, Donald,
and Goofy like they are real actors whose busy schedules have prevented them from making a feature film together before and casting Pete from a pile of villain headshots. It may be an awkward blend, but at least it's substantial and memorable.

Last and perhaps least, Disney Song Selection lets you play any or most (7:16) of the film's songs with animated song lyrics over them. There is even the option to watch the whole film with plain lyric subtitles appearing only over the songs. No separate Sing-Along Edition DVD needed!

Ridiculously, though it barely uses enough data to warrant a second layer, the only bonus feature on the DVD is Disney Song Selection. That means those still content with DVD would be much better served by the 10-year-old disc now going out of print than the new DVD that's also available on its own without the Blu-ray and digital copy.

The discs open with ads for Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition, Legend of the Neverbeast, and Disney Movie Rewards. The Sneak Peeks listing only repeats the same three.

WHAT'S MISSING?

Since Disney opted to author a new DVD instead of simply reprinting the now-discontinued original (or updating its sneak peeks), a few bonus features are lost. While few will mourn the disappearance of the random "3 Is a Magic Number" music video by an unidentified teen boy band, the "Opera-Toon-Ity" activity, in which you made an opera by picking one of three characters and one of three backdrops, provided a few moments of entertainment. More significantly, "The Many Hats of Mickey" provided highlights from nine Mickey Mouse shorts over the years, spanning from 1931's The Castaway to 1990's The Prince and the Pauper. Seems like that career-charting content could have been salvaged, even if the interactivity didn't easily translate to Blu-ray.

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The new main menu adapts the climactic opera, with characters dueling it out on stage before a conductor, the troubadour turtle donning a wild white wig. The Blu-ray doesn't support bookmarking or easy resuming.

Topped by an extensively embossed slipcover, the side-snapped keepcase places a Disney Movie Rewards booklet (your code doubles as the redemption of the digital copy through the new Disney Movies Anywhere program) and a Disney Movie Club ad alongside the two plainly-labeled discs.

In the end, Goofy, Donald, and Mickey finally figure out how to have their swords gracefully meet.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Believe it or not, even though it's a direct-to-video DisneyToon Studios effort, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers actually offers pretty solid entertainment. Ten years since its release, the movie still diverts often with its fun yet faithful applications of these classic characters.

I kind of doubt this movie is something anyone watches with much regularity, but the jump to Blu-ray does provide evident gains in picture and sound. At the right price, this set could make for a suitable first-time purchase or an upgrade for the truly dedicated Disney collector.

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Reviewed August 13, 2014.



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