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Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers
2004 - G - 68 Mins.
Director: Donovan Cook
Starring: Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse), Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Bill Farmer (Goofy), Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck), Jim Cummings (Peg Leg Pete), April Winchell (Clarabelle Cow), Rob Paulsen (The Troubadour)
Review by: James O'Ehley
Official Site: disney.go.com/disneyvideos/animatedfilms/threemusketeers/home.html
   

Mickey, Donald and Goofy's unnaturally happy days in Alcatraz prison . . .
Uncle Walt must be spinning in his cryogenic unit or whatever, I thought, watching this straight-to-video “full-length” (actually clocking in at 68 minutes) version of Dumas’ well-known classic tale - this time starring Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck.

Recently I’ve been renting some of the older Disney offerings on DVD starring the abovementioned cartoon characters for my little daughter (age 2). And by older, I mean those cartoons old enough to have been supervised by Walt Disney himself. Without any quality control by the great man, the Mouse House has obviously gone to the dogs when one considers the shabby treatment these beloved characters get in THE THREE MUSKETEERS.

But it’s only a straight-to-video effort for kiddies, I can hear you say, but watching something like the classic THE PRINCE & THE PAUPER cartoon (collected on one of the Disney Fables DVDs, featuring the same three toons) a week ago I can’t imagine old Uncle Walt ever going “but it’s only video fodder for the little ‘uns” in his entire career. No sirree, and you know Disney is trouble when the most interesting thing on this entire DVD is a trailer for the upcoming Pixar movie THE INCREDIBLES.

Disney’s recent hits (FINDING NEMO, TOY STORY), have been collaborations with Pixar. What are they going to do when that relationship ends? Probably churn out more cruddy straight-to-video sequels (there is a trailer for MULAN II on this disc – was anyone asking for this?) and crud like THE THREE MUSKETEERS.

The animation in THE THREE MUSKETEERS is of the Saturday morning cartoon show quality. Watching an older Disney effort like THE PRINCE & THE PAUPER, one is struck by the lavish backgrounds and the incredible attention to detail in the animation. One keeps thinking about how much this effort and loving care went into something that isn’t even a full-length motion picture. Watching THE MUSKETEERS one keeps thinking to oneself that at least it isn’t as bad as CINDERELLA II – DREAMS COME TRUE and PETER PAN II – RETURN TO NEVER LAND. Sigh . . .

Admittedly there are some funny moments in which I found myself chuckling appreciatively. The voice talents are satisfactory, but the movie miscalculates by turning the character of Donald Duck into a coward. (Donald Duck is a chicken? Not as far as I can remember . . .) The plot has little to do with the Dumas tale as we know it from countless movie versions (is there anyone who has actually ever read it?). Instead it features Mickey, Goofy and Donald as pre-French Revolution musketeers who have to protect Princess Minnie Mouse from a kidnap plot spearheaded by the crooked chief of the Musketeers.

In fairness my daughter enjoyed it, but hey! She’s only two years old! Younger kids under eight or nine year old also ought to have a good time and parents will find it easier to endure than many other recent Disney fare. Also, if you’re worried about any cross-dressing jokes of the sort found in SHREK 2 corrupting your little ones, then THE THREE MUSKETEERS might be worth a purchase as a virtual babysitter.

(Oh, and yeah: classical music purists ought to give THE THREE MUSKETEERS a miss since it uses several well-known classical pieces as tunes to the movie’s songs. Me? I always thought that going to the movies ought to be educational so if it gets the kids to listen to Beethoven it’s all right with me.)
 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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