Lewis Carroll is best known as the author of the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. These books have been transformed into films a few times, but the most notable ones belong to the Walt Disney Company. They use Carroll’s as inspiration for their 1951 animated classic and 1936 animated short Thru the Mirror. Not to mention a television series from the early ’90s called Adventures in Wonderland. Next year, Disney will be releasing a new adaptation of the classic tale, starring Johnny Depp, that will use both CGI-animation and live-action, which was Walt’s dream in the first place. So you knew that Disney would be trying to promote that film as early as possible. One way it seems is to target young kids in the latest Mickey Mouse Clubhouse special called Mickey’s Adventures in Wonderland. Although, that film will likely be rated as such that young kids couldn’t watch it, but nevertheless this “double episode” special has now found its way to DVD.
In Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Adventures in Wonderland, Mickey has a visitor at his Clubhouse. It’s Donald, and he’s brought over Daisy’s birthday gift to show to Mickey. It’s a cuckoo clock, and Mickey shows Donald how it works. But naturally, Donald becomes overexcited at seeing little Cuckoo come out at 3:00 o’clock, so he shakes and shakes the clock and breaks it, with little Cuckoo flying the coop. Spotting Cuckoo up on the Clubhouse slide, Mickey and Donald think they have him now, but suddenly, the slide continues down into the earth – along with Cuckoo. Now it’s up to the boys to chase him in upside-down Wonderland, using their Mouseketools along the way to solve puzzles and help the various people they meet – including Goofy Hatter, Tweedle Chip and Tweedle Dale, Queen Clarabelle, and Pete the Cat – so they can return at 6:00 o’clock for Daisy’s surprise birthday party.
If you have seen any of the episodes from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse series on The Disney Channel, you will be happy to know that the formula is pretty much the same for this special direct-to-DVD “double episode” special. In every episode of the television series, a minor problem or mystery gets introduced and Mickey Mouse usually invites all the pre-schoolers watching at home to help him access his gigantic Mickey-shaped computer, which will identify the “mousekatools” needed to the solve problem or mystery. One could say that it’s basically Disney’s version of Blue’s Clues, but Mickey as the host of this type of show just seems to work better. It also helps that Disney has figured out a way to avoid the feeling of forced interaction between the show and viewers like Blue’s Clues with all of its long pauses after various questions bu introducing the two “Adventure Modes” to watch this film. Of course, the goal of the series is to help children develop their cognitive and problem-solving skills. They also get to practice their color recognition, shapes, and numbers skills that they need to know before they start kindergarten. Adventures in Wonderland certainly continues to do just that.
Thankfully, there is just enough of a twist in this almost hour-long episode of the show to likely keep kids entertained throughout. First, there are segments at the beginning and end that setup the story and finish things off and aren’t restricted to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse formula. All of the tools that kids use to solve this mystery also fit right in with where they are in the story. The visuals and new surroundings are also nice. The only complaint could be that some of the characters are still the same in this new Wonderland world as they are in the MM Clubhouse world. This is especially true of Minnie Mouse and Ludwig von Drake. The other clubhouse characters have basically just morphed into some of the classic Wonderland characters like Goofy Hatter. But they are essentially the same characters with just slightly different personality quirks to fit the story.
But only adults will probably be the only ones complaining about that, and that’s minor. This series is meant for young children and this DVD release is definitely an entertaining and educational addition to the series. With great visuals and a unique environment, it should be enough to keep the attention spans of anyone under six.
The video is in Family Friendly widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It basically gets stretched out to fit widescreen TVs. But the animation and colors are bright and beautiful. Pretty much above average for direct-to-DVD special like this.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround sound, or French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French.
Bonus Episode –
There is an episode from the regular Mickey Mouse Clubhouse television called “Goofy Goes Goofy” included. It runs 23 minutes and in it Goofy accidentally gets soaked with the Professor’s latest experimental goop and he ends up splitting into six different Goofys. It’s up to Mickey and his friends to help him deal with those split personalities until the effects wear off.
“Adventure Mode” Viewing Option –
This is interactive way to view this special that uses your DVD remote. Viewers are asked additional questions throughout the movie. When those questions are asked, a special menu pops up on the screen and the movie freezes, which allows your child to answer the question with the remote. Mode 1 is for ages 2 – 3, and Mode 2 is for ages 4 – 6. Both are simple enough for kids. Mode One uses only the left and right arrow keys and asks simple questions about what’s on screen. Mode Two uses all four arrows and it actually removes key elements and asks the player to identify what’s missing. A great way to bring more interaction to the special without slowing down the actually special, if you don’t want that.
Adventures in Wonderland is another great addition to your your child’s educational DVD library. It not only will entertain kids under the age of six for almost an hour, but it will also teach them some things. But you shouldn’t expect anything less from Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse series.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Adventures in Wonderland. Created by Rob LaDuca and Bobs Gannaway. Voice Cast: Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse), Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Dee Bradley Baker (Various), Bill Farmer (Goofy, Pluto), Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), Jim Cummings (Pete), Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck), Corey Burton (Professor Ludwig von Drake), April Winchell (Clarabelle Cow). Running time: 50 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: September 8, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
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