Disney is still producing decent entertainment for kids-it's just not necessarily found among the company's high-profile releases. While the studio has abandoned its commitment to bring traditionally animated films to theaters, it is apparently still producing them for the rental market, as with the recently released Mickey's 'The Three Musketeers' (rated G). The feature-length cartoon is a slight but enjoyably old-fashioned first-time pairing (in a full-length movie) of Disney vets Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy.
While all three classic characters have appeared in shorts together, the DVD's behind-the-scenes documentary claims that they were "waiting for the right material" before signing on to a film project. The script "they" chose is nothing remarkable, but does contain enough goofiness (no pun intended) and sentiment to entertain younger kids and keep their parents from getting bored.
The story bears almost no relationship to Alexandre Dumas's original. Instead, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are three bungling Musketeer hopefuls who get their big chance to wear the broad hats and carry their own rapiers when they are unwittingly involved in a plot to kidnap Princess Minnie (Mouse, of course).
Old-school Disney mainstays Pete and Clarabelle serve as the story's villains, along with the highly entertaining Beagle Boys, who steal every scene they're in.
The pacing is snappy, the songs are fun (and mostly tongue-in-cheek, thanks to the musical aspirations of the turtle narrator). What parents may find most refreshing is that the borderline offensive dialogue found in so many cartoons (that's so quickly and easily picked up by a young audience) is almost nowhere to be found. The closest Musketeers comes to modern kid-speak is a ditty that stops just short of rhyming "duty" with "kick your . . ." (the song ends before the line does).
Some might miss or be tempted to dismiss Mickey's 'The Three Musketeers' because it was released straight to DVD. But although the cartoon doesn't break any new ground, many will find it more enjoyable than Disney's bigger-budget releases.