Anyone who has come here long enough to get to know my likes and dislikes probably knows what a Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse fan I am. The man and the character opened the road for so much of what we have today, from Pixar to Tom and Jerry. But, if you’re looking for the kind of cartoons you and I have grown to expect, this one is bound to disappoint you. It’s an episode of the current television series Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It’s an animated Sesame Street, however, and not really a cartoon adventure.
While I use the term Sesame Street, I don’t mean it literally. You’ll find the traditional Disney characters, to be sure. There’s Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and even Professor Von Drake. You won’t find a Cookie Monster or a Big Bird anywhere. What you will find is that strictly educational style. The characters talk directly to the children watching. They ask questions geared toward teaching such basic concepts as identifying colors and shapes to basic math addition problems. There’s a great deal of shouting encouragement as well. You should be prepared for your young one to answer Mickey’s questions and join him in some hollering. There’s a particularly annoying repetition as the gang calls for a character named Toodles. Toodles carries objects that the characters need to accomplish various tasks. Whenever they find they are in the need of one of these tools Mickey encourages everyone, including your child, to yell “Oh Toodles”, to bring the character to them with the needed item.
The story line is as simple as it gets. Professor Von Drake has developed snow that doesn’t melt in the heat. Not even in summer. Not even in Cincinnati. He developed it high atop Mount Mistletoe but has no way to bring it back to the clubhouse. He encourages Mickey and his friends to assemble a train from parts he knows are in the garage. Once assembled, the train can bring the snow back to Mickey’s Clubhouse. The train is assembled through the identification of basic shapes. The track is started by identifying colors in their correct sequence. Once begun, the train lays more track as they go. Once the snow is transported, Mickey and his friends go on a train route to pick up even more friends. You help Mickey keep his schedule by learning to tell time.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo Choo Express is brought to you in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Colors are bright, and the picture is certainly very clear. It’s not the most detailed animation so sharpness isn’t going go to be a major problem. The animation is rather large scale like something out of a coloring book.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track does exactly what it was originally intended to do. It delivers dialog and some mid-range music. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to distract.
Adventure Mode: You can watch the show in an interactive mode that has two levels of difficulty. Using your remote, you can answer questions while watching the show.
Bonus Short – Mickey’s Big Job: (24:03) It’s just an extra episode from the same series.
This one is strictly for the very young kids. It’s fine and basically educational; just don’t expect them to sit quietly here. That’s not going to happen. If that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, this one is likely as entertaining as any other young children’s program. So, put on the earmuffs, and “It’s choo choo time”.