Well, navidad is coming closer and I think it is time to talk about Disney’s take on the most famous navidad story. Mickey’s navidad Carol is special in más than one regards. For one, it was the first of what I call the disney Featurettes: Stories which were longer than the usual shorts, but not long enough to be considered movies. This one was shown before “The Rescuers” and marked Mickey’s return to the big screen. 1. The Setting
As I mentioned back when I did my review of Oliver and Company, Charles Dickens lived during a time when poverty was on the rise, and a lot of his work is about pointing out this poverty, appealing to his readers to do something against it. So naturally, the original story describes the Londres he knew. The disney version is más a fairy tale version of it. While poverty is addressed, it is done in a less graphic way than in the original. 2. The Characters
Like in all caricaturas based on classic stories which feature Mickey ratón and friends, the characters stay más o less the same. No matter which incarnation, Goofy will always be clumsy and stupid, Donald will always have a temper (though it isn’t really displayed this time around) and Mickey will always be the earnest one. The pregunta is if they did a good job to give every character the right book counterpart.
And the answer is yes. I mean, Scrooge McDuck has been named after Ebenezer Scrooge for a reason. The choice to cast Goofy as his old partner is a little bit odd, but it make the scene with the ghost less terrifying. And the casting of the ghosts is inspiring, giving Jiminy Cricket a last appearance, picking Willie the Giant for the one which is described in the book as a giant and finally the casting of the Ghost of navidad future which I don’t want to spoil. Let’s just say that he terrified me as a child. All the little side characters are well picked too, the only thing I might want to change is margarita as Belle. I don’t know, I wish they had picked Goldie for this role, even if she didn’t had any screen appearances up to this point. But then, Daisy’s character fits the book character better than Goldie does. 3. The Story
Do I really have to tell this one? I mean, this story has an own Wikipedia page, just to lista all the adaptations. Everyone knows the basics: Ebenezer Scrooge loves nothing más than his money, but on navidad Eve, he gets visited por ghosts and finally understands the worth of sharing and charity.
The disney Version is way too short to contain all the scenes of the book. It skips over Scrooge’s childhood, the scenes at the house of his nephew, a lot of scenes which deal with the social differences in society back then, in short, it only leaves the very basics. Because of that a lot of the reasons why Scrooge is the way he is are omitted. But then, to understand the story, they are not really needed. What is needed is that the audience understands how the way he acts affects the people around him, but also himself. For example the scenes at the house of his nephew are mostly about the fact that Scrooge not only denies other people happiness, he is denying himself every bit of joy, too. In the disney version this is summoned up with a brief scene in which Scrooge claims that he doesn’t like navidad specialities, only to reveal later on that he actually loves them. The message in the book is más complex, because it throws also his amor to his dead sister into the mix, though.
Also the social aspect is omitted, but since this is a disney featurette, this is a good decision. It underlines the timeless quality of the story, and no one does “timeless” better than Disney. The choice of música helps too, btw, since they picked only well-known and traditional navidad Carols for this one. 4. The conclusion
Back when I reviewed Oliver and Company, I mentioned that Dickens and disney are in a way a perfect match. And this featurette proves this opinion true. I amor the story and I have watched countless versions of it. And I can honestly say that the disney one and the Scott one are my two favourites. They both do the best job of capturing the message of the story and making the characters relatable, while still keeping it simple. This story doesn't need fancy musical numbers o forced in CGI action scenes. What is need, is heart, and this version has a corazón of gold.