The Nutcracker

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : October 23, 1999

Synopsis

When Maria (Minnie) is captured by the Mouse King (Donald), her beloved nutcracker doll turns into a handsome Prince Mickey and rescues her from becoming the Mouse Queen. This familiar story is told by a comical narrator with big band versions of the familiar Tchaikovsky "Nutcracker" music.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Goofy
Donald Duck
Ludwig von Drake

Credits

DVD

United States
Mickey's Magical Christmas : Snowed in at the House of Mouse
Germany
Micky's Grosstes Weihnachtsfest Mickys Grosstes Weihnachtsfest
Italy
Bianco Natale Di Topolino

Television

Mickey Mouse Works: Season 2 - Episode 10
Mickey Mouse Works: Season 2 - Episode 5
House of Mouse: Season 3 - Episode 19

Technical Specification

Comments

From Patrick Malone : A little anarchy never hurt things on "Mouse Works" and here things are completely unleashed to create a wonderful adaptation of Tchaikovsky's ballet. John Cleese, the narrarator, is finally allowed to loosen up and talk back more to both the characters and the audience. The interplay between him and Ludwig Von Drake (as Drosselmeyer) and later with Donald (playing the Mouse King, showing up in a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and a preposterous set of teeth; a great play on what Mickey might have looked like if he had played the role) is put to hilarious use. Goofy also shows up, not exactly knowing what role he's supposed to be playing, but gamely goes on.

The short slows down a bit in the middle during the fight scene with some overused gags, but comes back to life at the end. (Personally, I thought it would have been a hoot to have a quick flash of Chip 'n' Dale as Mickey and Minnie are climbing the inside of the tree to remind viewers of Pluto's Christmas Tree.) But all in all, there were a few more surprises and a lot more breaking down of the fourth wall which added up to a riskier short which is what Mouse Works has needed for a while.


From J.D. Weil : This has got to be a send-up. Right? It wouldn't work any other way, Right? And the casting is pretty weird too. In E.T.A. Hoffman's original story, "The Nutcracker and The Mouse King" the mice are the villains. But if Mickey and Minnie are in this, they can't very well play the heavies so Donald is thrown in as a ad hoc mouse (creative casting). Ludwig Von Drake is cast as Herr Drosselmeyer cum Sugar Plum Fairy and Minnie is cast as Maria (By the way, if Minnie is Maria how come Minnie's name (not to mention Mickey's and Pluto's) is on those fireplace stockings?) and Mickey is the Nutcracker with Goofy as a kind of substitute snowflake fairy. John Cleese lends a Pythonesque narrative to this convoluted adaptation. but let's face it if you're going to compress a two-hour ballet into twelve minutes, something's got to give. As for the music, there's too little of it left to comment on. I liked the Nutcracker music better in "Fantasia" even though the visuals in that film had nothing to do with the ballet. As for this short, it was just so-so.
From Davey-kins : They should show this short closer to Christmas it'll be a big boost for "Nutcracker."

This ep's a toss-up, to be honest. It's got it's good points (John kicks Drake up for three . . . YES!!) and it's . . . . well . . . . For a moment there, I thought Minnie was trying to be Dot Warner at some times. With all the shots she's been getting (Mickey to the Rescue, Midsummer Nights Dream, Maestro Minnie, etc) I hope Michael has assigned a trainer for her.

I'm almost expecting Mickey v Donald in an ECW-style match next week!


From Thomas Mulligan : I give it a "D" for "Disney Dyn-O-Mite"!
From Juan F. Lara : A big improvement over the last two "MouseTales" shorts.

John Cleese was back again as the narrator. Von Drake started the short with his shtick. But then Von Drake and Cleese got into an argument with each other. This scene led to Cleese having an interactive role with the other characters. Cleese finally got the chance to show how funny he could be whenever he got fed up and confused. Cleese's routine was good counterbalance to Von Drake's. Fourth-wall breaking became a central theme of the short through scenes like Goofy's first appearance and Cleese's troubles keeping the cast straight. This theme made the short more involving than the previous "MouseTales" shorts.

Highlights of this short were scenes paired with Stephen James Taylor's jazzed up versions of Tchaikovsky's music. A TV budget limited the action in these sequences. The scenes consisted mainly of characters repeating an action over and over again, like when Mickey and Minnie were bouncing off of the tops. But I still liked the props that Mickey and Minnie played with in their dance, and Mickey looked cool dancing as a doll, and then fighting Donald. And Taylor's score brought these scenes up a lot. I loved watching the scenes just to hear the music.

It's been years since I've seen "The Nutcracker". So I have only scant memories of the plot. I did remember the "it was a dream" plot twist and liked seeing it again at the end of this short. They also kept the theme of Maria being smitten with her nutcracker toy, and portrayed that very well in the scene where Minnie tied her nutcracker's head back on. The Mickey/Minnie romance seemed more meaningful in this short than in the other "MouseTales" shorts.

One thing I DID remember though was that the villain in "The Nutcracker" was "The Mouse King". I wondered how they were going to handle this character considering Mickey's species. I thought that Donald's hilarious costume (silly looking mouseears and buck teeth) and the confusion his casting caused was a clever sendup of this problem. But was Cleese's assertion that the Mouse King "wins in the end" a reference to an actual plotpoint in the ballet?

Von Drake seemed funnier than usual because he had Cleese to play off of. Cleese made sure to keep Von Drake from overstaying his welcome by kicking him out at just the right time. In the end Von Drake returned to reveal an inspired plot twist for his character, and his scenes bookended the short.


From Quentin : Brilliant, just Brilliant. An interesting twist on a classic story. This story was more upbeat than most interpretations. I really liked the narrator who at times was about to lose it at some points. And Minnie, the sweet darling-was "jumping" early on, the most active I've seen her in a while. While its not all perfect, its very enjoyable and I would watch it again on tape over and over again!
From Lee Suggs : This short is a good example of Von Drake's strength as a supporting character. He was very funny in this short, and I think it helps that he wasn't in it very long. This is another short I enjoyed from beginning to end. John Cleese's narration was very amusing, and the short's breaking down of the fourth wall worked wonderfully. Donald (great costume) and Goofy worked well as supporting characters. Minnie continues to develop as a strong character, and Mickey was his usual outmatched heroic self. I think the MouseTales shorts are a strong concept, they have consistently been good or excellent shorts.
From James Tetreault : This short was a really great short, regardless of the cast lineup. The sequences may have been a little stale, but the ordeal of Donald not wanting to play the Mouse King is very rememberable. If Mortimer Mouse would've made his debut in this Mousetales cartoon as the Mouse King, he'd wear a suit to match the robe, and a big crown! Plus, since Donald's a duck, and not a rat, Mortimer outclasses Mickey in size, intelligence, and strength, and that would've made the fight a little more balanced! And another thing, either Daisy or Clarabell would've made a cameo appearance as the Ruler of the Sugar Plum Fairies, just so the poor narrator wouldn't have a hard time narrating the story. I give this short an 8 because of this! Ha-cha-cha!
From Michael Sewart : One of the worse cartoons in the series!

This cartoon was nothing but a piece of mindless slapstick. Von Drake had no reason to be in this short! He was just there to eat up time! I could say a lot more about how horrible this cartoon is, but I won't. I'd rate it a 1 out of 10.


From Billy Joe : In my opinion, this cartoon would of worked better as a theatrical short and produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation (so it could be fully animated). However, this is still a pretty worthy cartoon. It retells the Nutcracker story in a hilarious way.

I especially enjoy Donald's mouse king costume, and Lugwig Von Drake's role of being the king of the Sugar Plum Fairies. I didn't know John Cleese narrated it. If it worked better as a theatrical and a production by Walt Disney feature Animation, it would of been to par with classics such as Mickey's Christmas Carol.


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