Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Minnie’s Masquerade DVD Review

Most parents that have young children and the Disney Channel are aware of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse television show aimed at pre-schoolers.  My son has loved the show his whole life so of course I’ve already seen every episode tons of times, so I was happy to to be given a chance to review something that my son could watch with me for a change.

Film (4 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the show, it features the Disney sensational six: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, and Pluto.  The characters have some kind of adventure every episode where through the course of solving the issue, they teach kids about teamwork, friendship, colors, shapes, numbers, and just about every else that a pre-schooler could need.
While the show is definitely aimed at young children, there maybe some appeal to the parents or older siblings that may have grown up loving the Disney characters too.  Let’s face it, there isn’t a whole lot of new movies or cartoons that feature these beloved characters anymore so it’s nice to see them in action even if it’s for little kids.
The haven’t changed the characters all that much and overall they are true to how they were originally presented years ago.  They even have the official voice over artists doing the voices for the show so this isn’t a cheap knockoff to make some money.  Disney obviously has put a lot of time and money capturing the characters in CGI which is the major difference between this show and the earlier cartoons. The only other difference is that they have made the characters less knowledgeable about basic things to be able to be relatable to young children. Oftentimes, the characters ask their audience for help, so it it makes it easier if they are all on the same wavelength.
As a fan of the characters, I sometimes cringe at some of the illogical or absurd aspects of the show, such as when they have fly a plane into outerspace which is ridiculous to begin with but it’s even worse when they don’t even have any kind of flight or space suit to protect them. Now before you tell that it’s just a kids’ show, I would like to point out that the show selectively goes for reality as in a different episode to Mars (stay with me) they at least use space suits.  Like I said, I’ve seen these shows too many times!  My main complaint about the show is that it’s not consistent with it’s own world rules and I could provide a ton more examples but let’s move on.
There are five episodes on the disc:
  • Minnie’s Masquerade (new episode)
  • Minnie’s Mouseke-Calendar
  • A Surprise For Minnie
  • Secret Spy Daisy
  • The Friendship Team

Video (4 out of 5 stars) 

The video quality for this is pretty good for a DVD.  It maintains the show’s aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and it’s a good transfer.  The colors are bright, detail is acceptable, and black levels are acceptable, but of course this show looks a lot better when seen on the high definition Disney Channel.  I’ts too bad Disney hasn’t released the series season by season on Blu-ray since it would look great and probably do well.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)  

The show’s Dolby Digital track is sufficient for what it is but that’s about all there is to say about it.  This is a kids show on DVD so no one should be expecting a lossless track.  The dialogue is easily understood (even Donald’s) and the music comes through well.  Although it’s mostly a front channel mix, the show’s theme song gets special treatment across all the channels which sounds pretty good.

Special Features (3 out of 5 stars) 

Other than the new Mickey Mote, and the Discovery Mode interactive experience, there isn’t any other extras.  The way the Discovery Mode works is that while the show is playing, it will freeze and ask a question that is answered by one of the buttons on the Mickey Mote.  Once the question is answered, the show resumes until the next question.  My son enjoyed using the Mickey Mote to play along, but I found it a little annoying that the sound dropped out for a second whenever an answer was given and the show resumed.  This feature would work a lot better on Blu-ray which wouldn’t have that kind of an audio gap.
I also have to warn parents that the way this Mickey Mote is programmed involves you using your current DVD remote to shoot the infrared signal directly into this Mickey Mote so it learns what kind of signal it needs to send for it to work for your child.  I found out that the Mickey Mote does not work with the Playstation 3 remote nor the XBOX 360 remote.  If you want to use this, then you will need to use a remote from a standard DVD player.  There are eleven other titles that this Mickey Mote will work with if you are interested.
  • Works With Your Mickey Mote! Mickey Mote is a kid friendly, easy to use remote control. It’s the perfect size for little hands. Mickey Mote works with any Disney Preschool DVD that has Discovery Mode.
  • Discovery Mode is the interactive feature that provides multiple ways to watch and play including:
    Discovery Mode Level 1 (ages 2-3)
    Discovery Mode Level 2 (ages 4-6)
  • Auto Play – Allows children to play along with the game without using the Mickey Mote.

Final Thoughts (4 out of 5 stars) 

What the show does well is teach kids a variety of useful skills through an interactive experience.  By asking the kids a lot of questions about what they should do and how it should be done really makes the kids pay attention and participate.  As my son has gotten older, he participates more and more with the show, whether its answering questions or singing songs, he is ready to play with Mickey and the gang. Anything that encourages kids to learn new things in a fun way is great in my book.
Order your copy today!

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