"All for fun, and fun for all!" Mickey, Donald and Goofy team up in their first feature length film as a trio in Disney’s latest animated offering, The Three Musketeers. Our three heros Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, are but poor waifs in Paris at the start of our story when they are seized upon by a band of thugs. Suddenly, a daring band of Musketeers come the to the lads’ rescue. These Musketeers are none other than the legendary Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan themselves. The bravery, intelligence and strength of the swordfighters inspire the young trio to become Musketeers themselves when they grow up, but things don’t quite work out as the boys plan. While they do end up at Musketeer Headquarters when they grow up, they aren't there as swashbuckling heroes, but rather as janitors, and not very good ones at that.
Meanwhile, Peg-leg Pete, the Musketeer Captain, has hatched an evil plan to oust Queen Minnie from the throne and make himself king. Counting on their constant bumbling to assist his plan, Pete makes Mickey, Donald and Goofy official Musketeers and charges them with guarding the queen. When it becomes obvious what Pete is really up to, the three friends must rely on each other and overcome their lack of bravery, intelligence and strength in order to thwart Pete’s plan and rescue the queen and country.
It was a wise choice for Disney to send this tale straight to DVD. It’s not that it’s a bad movie. In fact, it has more heart and originality than most of the recent non-Pixar-related Disney animated productions. But really it reminds you more of an extended version of the animated shorts of the 30s and 40s than a full blown feature film. It’s the kind of thing that, no matter how old you are, you wouldn’t want to watch anywhere else but at home on a Saturday morning while eating a bowl of really sugary cereal.
While definitely aimed at the elementary crowd, there’s plenty for the “old people” to enjoy. Unlike the dubious producers of such drivel as Cinderella 2 and Peter Pan 2, the creators of this film don’t take themselves too seriously. There are bountiful shameless sight gags and numerous pokes and prods at the nature of animated movie songs (every single number in this movie is brilliantly set to cliché classical music selections). I caught myself laughing out loud several times throughout the 68 minute show. How can you not chuckle at the sight of Goofy singing a love ballad to Clarabelle Cow as she sadistically chains him up to drown him in a river? Little kids will love the slapstick humor and fast paced story. “Bigger kids" will enjoy the sheer outlandishness of it all and the abbreviated running time.
This isn’t a flick to rush out and rent. But, if you’re stuck indoors with the little ones for the afternoon, this will be one hour where everyone will be entertained... until the little ones want to watch it again - for the third time in a row. Beyond the movie, this is definitely a kids-only release.
It has the standard DVD driven games, teeny-bopper music videos, and sing-a-long karaoke features we’ve come to expect and disdain from Disney’s animated movie discs. But it also has an age appropriate making-of featurette and a single scene from the movie with made up commentary dialogue from Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pete. Throw in a few deleted scenes, mostly rough drawn pre-production sequences, and you have a complete bundle of features that will make the kiddies feel like they are watching extras just like the grown ups do.