Have a lot of fondness for 'House of Mouse'. Love Disney and the concept was such an interesting and for Disney shows at the time a unique one. There are times where it could have done more with the concept, with showing more of some of the guests and not focusing all the featured cartoons on Mickey and the gang. It is however so much fun and how it makes an effort to retain the spirit of the classic old cartoons is to be lauded.
"Clarabelle's Christmas List" is not one of my favourite 'House of Mouse' episodes. It's certainly not one of my least favourites either, in a show where there is a lot to like about all of the episodes even when some are better than others. It is very good and entertaining even if it didn't blow me away. Really like that it and the rest of the show tries to and succeeds in making the personalities of Mickey and the rest of the gang true to those of their "golden age" ones when they first came out (1930s-1950s), especially Donald. Except that Mickey is far more interesting in personality in 'House of Mouse', feels like a lead character, is used well and isn't over-shadowed by the rest of the characters. Minnie is also more resourceful.
Loved the festive feeling that is present in the episode and the references to Christmas. Will say though that Santa is terribly animated, in a way that is at odds stylistically to the rest of the animation.
'Donald On Ice' is demonstrative of why Donald works so well his with nephews and it does adhere closely to the spirit of their classic-era cartoons. 'Mickey's Christmas Crisis' is just as funny with a real festive feel and great chemistry with Mickey and purposefully obnoxious Mortimer.
It is interesting always in 'House of Mouse' to see how it utilises various Disney characters from previous films and cartoons. Felt very nostalgic watching them and they are used well. The beginning sets things up well. Keep forgetting how fun and inventive all the different advertisements at the end of every episode are, promoting new products inspired by a certain Disney character, this one is no exception. The ending is very entertaining, especially Mortimer with Minnie and Donald again taking offense about needing to control his temper.
While not surprising in outcome, the story is lively and engaging, kept afloat by the character interaction, characters and the atmosphere. The writing is clever and very funny, even with the deliberately corny moment and pun which made me grin rather than groan (here the whole overdrawn part applies particularly).
Furthermore, the animation is very colourful, smooth in movement and with some meticulous detail. The cheap recycling footage for the audience reactions at the end of the featured cartoons does jar and annoy though. The music is suitably groovy and cleverly used, while the theme song is one of the catchiest of any Disney show in the past twenty years.
Voice acting is very good as always, Wayne Allwine is the most well known and longest serving voice actor for Mickey Mouse for good reason and April Winchell clearly has fun as Clarabelle.
Overall, well done and enjoyable. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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