Making the Grades
In reality, famous groups who have broken up years earlier are rarely able to put aside their differences and come back together. Thankfully, in the animated world, it's a little easier to convince your talent to get along.
In the 40's and 50's, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy were too busy doing their own things to ever find the time required to bring their animated personalities into one feature film. However, in this new century, the trio has finally come out of retirement to star in their first real movie.
Working janitorial jobs in a French castle, Mickey (voice of Wayne Allwine), Donald (voice of Tony Anselmo), and Goofy (voice of Bill Farmer) dream of the day when they will join the kingdom's troop of Musketeers. However, the devious Peg-leg Pete (voice of Jim Cummings), captain of the elite group of soldiers, only sees the three friends as too small, too cowardly, and too goofy.
Peg-leg is also busy with his own secret plan-to rid the kingdom of Princess Minnie (voice of Russi Taylor), the sole person standing between him and the throne. After a botched attempt to mash the royal mouse under a giant safe, Pete is forced to grant her request for three Musketeer bodyguards. Suddenly those guys with mops and brooms look like just the right people to fill the job because Pete is certain they won't be any match for his nasty gang of Beagle Boys (voice of Jeff Bennett).
By this point you can probably guess the only thing this movie has in common with Alexandre Dumas' classic story is its title. Yet, for many other reasons, this Disney direct-to-video title is a sword's point above most productions that skip the big screen.
Moments after seeing the stunning animation, it's obvious this isn't your typical Saturday morning style of production. Characters are drawn with bold palettes while the backgrounds are full of intricate details, like a spider web tucked in a corner. Offering the best of both new and old techniques, the film displays the clean, crisp look we've become accustomed to in this digital generation, as well as the fluid movements echoing the hand-drawn era when we first met this mouse, duck, and umm Goof.
The musical score holds about half a dozen songs that are entertaining twists of classical standards, although hardly memorable. Showing more potential is the surprisingly witty script, which includes a few subtle nuances to past Disney lore. For instance, after capturing Mickey, Pete greets him with a "Hey there, hi there, ho there you're as welcome as can be." Later, a sign in a flooding chamber where Mickey is held captive, pays a clever nod to Disneyland's theme park rides: "You must be this tall to survive this dungeon."
Swashbuckling violence is the primary content concern some parents may have, although there's nothing here you wouldn't find in Disney's historical cartoons. At the same time, it's wonderful to see the spirit of these Disney stars maintained. They may have a new fresh look on the outside, but the "all for fun and fun for all" script holds an innocence that makes this a reunion you'll want to attend.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Three Musketeers (Disney’s).
Mickey, Donald, and Goofy each have aspects of their personalities that make it difficult for them to individually defeat their foe. Ask your children what they feel their own weaknesses are, and then see if they can identify ways they can work together (with siblings or friends) to help each other overcome their deficiencies.
The Three Musketeers is a classic adventure written by Alexandre Dumas. Recommended for older children and teens, it can be easily found at most libraries and bookstores. Also, this film draws on music composed by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and the light operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Parents may want to use this movie as an opportunity to expose children to the original pieces, which are also readily obtained at most libraries and music outlets.