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In 1937, Walt Disney released one of the most groundbreaking films of all time. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was a monumental achievement for Disney's production company, but more importantly the world of cinema. He, along with the rest of Disney Animation Studios, continued the tradition with 48 more releases, a several of which could be considered a classic in it's own right. We don't saying that every film is perfect. Hardly. There are a couple of duds that came out of the studio believe it or not, and we don't just speaking from a financial standpoint. Some of these movies just don't work, but we digress.
It's hard to deny the impact that Walt Disney and his legacy have had on the world. In their theme parks, television network, music, and of course their films, the world of Disney has reached out onto new horizons, always putting themselves at the cutting edge of technology and current trends.
Cool-story.com now give you list. Starting at the bottom, we will climb the ladder of the Disney animated filmography, and in doing so enlightening you readers out there that there is still some magic in these films no matter how old you are. 49.Home on the Range (2004)
It's hard to call a Disney movie awful, but this is as close as it gets. There's simply nothing here that works really well. From the voice acting to the animation, it all doesn't add up. Most of the classically illustrated (hand drawn) Disney films have a certain flair about them. This one seems to have all of the creativity drained out of it. The animation looks somewhat lazy and the story is too predictable and uneventful. For those who look to follow in my footsteps in watching all of the Disney animated movies, this one will be a bit tough to get through, even though it's run time of 76 minutes is on the shorter end. 48.Meet the Robinsons (2007)
The third of four (and soon to be five) computer animated movies made solely by Disney Animation Studios is their worst of the bunch. There is nothing to really sink your teeth into. The villain is an imbecile and we almost feel to bad for him to dislike him. There are brief moments of comedy but it's all overshadowed by a simple story with nothing substantial to offer the audience. 47.Bolt (2008)
Another computer animated film from Disney that didn't work for me. I don't know if it's because I am spoiled by Pixar or what, but these computer animated films fall short. The story was alright but a little too cute for my taste. This is definitely one for the kids that teens and adults will have to sit through and hold out until the end credits. 46.Brother Bear (2003)
This movie seemed to be a bit too much like some of the other movies Disney has made over the years. It was Pocahontas mixed with some of The Lion King,The Emperor's New Groove, and generic Disney animation (also another score accompanied by Phil Collins, who won an Oscar for his work in Disney's Tarzan). Again, perhaps a better film for children, but I couldn't connect with the story. 45.Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Of all the movies Disney made in the 2000s, I expected to like this one the most. Perhaps that's why I as let down a good amount. I never really got into the story. There were too many personalities to compliment the main character. It got distracting. The animation is pretty good, but the story was just not for me. I think if I had watched this when I was younger I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Be that as it may, this one just didn't sit right with me. 44.The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
The only truly redeeming quality of this movie is the work by Patrick Warburton. His voice acting is some of the best out there right now (even his cameo in Home on the Range is halfway decent). The way he reads off his lines is perfect for the character of Kronk, who would later go on to have his own sequel released on video. Other than Kronk, there is some alright animation and an okay story. The real killer for me was how they tried to modernize the story by throwing in little jokes involving modern day appliances, costumes, etc. I don't like it when animated movies do that a lot. This is supposed to take place in ancient South America. I also wasn't fond of David Spade's voice acting. I was very aware I was listening to David Spade. 43.The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Fantastic animation and a few good song are the take away points from this movie. The voice acting is not perfect, casting Kevin Kline to basically play an animated version of himself. A few of the songs weren't very enjoyable and one in particular sung by Jason Alexander's character (a gargoyle) sounds like it should be in Aladdin. Not a bad movie, but it definitely could have been a lot better. 42.Chicken Little (2005)
Disney Animation Studio's first completely computer animated film (Dinosaur is the first to be made almost entirely of CG, but not completely) is not a terrible one. It's a little too cute at times but I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It's a little to immature and the animation is a little far behind compared to what Pixar had been doing at the time. Still, not an awful film. 41.Oliver & Company (1988)
I love this idea. Taking a classic work like Dicken's Oliver Twist and having Disney give it their own "twist" if you will. Maybe Disney has used cats and dogs too much in their history, but this one never really grew on me. The animation is sort of caught in transition between the the 80s style and the upcoming 90s. Maybe after another viewing I like it even more. For now, I'll just look at it as the only Disney movie starring Billy Joel. 40.Pocahontas (1995)
Considering all of the great music Disney produced in the 90s, Pocahontas remains one of their more underrated scores, both for it's music and lyrics. Following The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast is a tough act to follow. Perhaps that's why this one never really lived up to it's potential. It's not a bad movie. It just has the unfortunate duty of following three of the studios biggest hits, leaving us wanting a little bit more. 39.The Princess and the Frog (2009)
After the unfortunate release of Home on the Range, the pens and brushes at Disney lay dormant for five years (at least in terms of release). Finally, Disney gave us something enjoyable to watch. It's not their best but it's certainly better than what they had been producing. The soundtrack was decent, the animation was on par, but the story was the biggest improvement. Not a masterpiece, but a sign that things at Disney Animation Studios are starting to look up. 38.The Aristocats (1970)
A prime example of classic Disney entertainment. It's not their finest work, but for what it does, it does well, and that's make you smile. It's an amusing story about a family of cats who are taken from their home by their master's butler. With the vocal stylings of the great Phil Harris as Thomas O'Malley (Harris also voiced Baloo and Little John in The Jungle Book and Robin Hood respectively). I thought parts of the movie were a bit over the top, but overall a good effort. 37.The Rescuers (1977)
Were it not for it's sequel, I might have this film higher. I love the idea of having a secret society of little critters devoted to helping out children around the world. It's a wonderful idea and executed marvelously. I don't know if it's the animation or just the story, but I do enjoy the sequel more. Still, the pairing of Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor is one of Disney's best. Two completely different personalities that mesh so well together. 36.Melody Time (1948)
Here is one of Disney's compilation features. It's comprised of several animated shorts, all of which having to do with music, be it through dance, song, or just the timing of animation with sound. They tend to have shorter run times and voice talents from the big artists of the day like Dinah Shore and the Andrew Sisters. I particularly like the segments "Little Toot" (pictured above), "The Legend of Johnny Appleseed", "Pecos Bill", and "Bumble Boogie." It's not their best compilation feature, but it's still worth a viewing. 35.The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Fox and the Hound is cute, heartwarming, and is one of the more tear jerking film Disney has ever made. The second half especially is pretty dark, especially for Disney. Two friends pitted against each other in a fight for survival, an epic battle with a bear (superbly animated), and the soul crushing scene where Widow Tweed releases Tod (the fox) into the wild. Heartbreaking. Still a good movie, though it might be a bit much, especially at the end, for young ones. 34.Saludos Amigos (1942)
This is another of Disney's compilation features, though it's run time under 50 minutes makes it the shortest feature Disney ever released. There's an interesting story behind the making of this film that could take up several blogs. In short, Disney was hired by the U.S. government to go into South America to establish friendly relations with our friends to the south. It was in an effort to keep them as allies from the axis of evil during World War II. The film itself is very interesting, featuring historical and cultural bits of information, thrown together with some classic Disney characters and animation. 33.Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
Two animated shorts comprise this feature, one of which is the famous Mickey and the Beanstalk, a retelling of the classic fable Jack and the Beanstalk retold with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. The second short is the forgotten, overlooked, and very underrated Bongo, the story of a circus bear who dreams of escaping to the forest, only to find that once he is there it's not at all what he thought it would be. Why this one was forgotten, I'm not sure. I can assure you that it's a very good short and combined with Mickey and the Beanstalk makes for a great film. 32.Dinosaur (2000)
One of Disney's more innovative features. It combines both live action photography with CGI characters. The landscapes are for the most part real settings. The characters (dinosaurs believe it or not) walk around and interact with their surroundings like they are really there. It's sort of unsettling at first, but once you recognize this and focus on the story, it's quiet enjoyable. 31.Tarzan (1999)
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Song ("You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins), Tarzan leaps onto the screen with vibrant, fast paced animation. At times it's a bit like a roller coaster and the action gets out of control, but for the most part it's a very well done adaptation of one of cinema's most beloved characters. I wasn't a huge fan of the voice acting from some of the animals (I'm sorry Rosie but gorillas shouldn't have New York accents), but I looked past them and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the film. Great score and great vocals from Collins. 30.Robin Hood (1972)
I would like to have been around when this film was being animated. There are too many similarities between this film it's the two films immediately preceding it (The Jungle Book and The Aristocats). Scenery, character movement, design, voice acting, to name a few. Still, regardless of these parallels, this is one film that always reminds me of my childhood. Something about this movie always makes me feel nostalgic. I love the character of Robin Hood and I like the characters surrounding him. Plus, how can you go wrong with one of the greatest stories with one of the greatest heroes of all time? 29.Treasure Planet (2002)
No, this isn't a typo. I really enjoyed this movie. This was one I saved for viewing last. I wasn't sure how I would feel about a futuristic retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, but I was not to be disappointed. I loved the animation and was captivated by the story and it's characters. It's not a classic per-say like so many others of the Disney catalog, but it deserves praise. This film has a sort of historical significance in being the first film released in both theatrical and IMAX platforms simultaneously. 28.Fantasia 2000 (2000)
When Walt Disney made Fantasia in 1940, he intended on a continuous re-release of the film, cutting and adding segments, like a traveling show. Unfortunately, the response from both audience and critics were not as favorable and the idea was canned, something that Walt never really got over. Fortunately for us, his nephew Roy would pick up the reins years later and follow through in Walt's vision. This spectacular piece brings new pieces with vibrant, breathtaking animated sequences, as well as an old favorite. Though not as potent as it's predecessor, it's an outstanding tribute and a marvelous film. 27.The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
Thirteen years following the release of The Rescuers, this sequel leaps off the screen as we follow Bernard and Miss Bianca to Australia where a boy has landed in a heap of trouble involving a poacher (voiced by one of my favorites, George C. Scott) and a nest of eagle eggs. Breathtaking CG animation compliment the setting of the Australian outback. Wonderful addition of John Candy as the voice of their transportation, an albatross named Wilbur (cleverly named after Wilbur Wright of Kitty Hawk fame). 26.Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Bella notte! What a beautiful film. The iconic spaghetti and meatball scene in the alley of Tony's restaurant has been seared onto the history of cinema. Disney released five features in the 1950s, all timeless. This came in the middle where Disney animators were really in stride with their animation. The smooth lines, bright colors, and fluid movements became a staple of the decade. Though not my favorite from the decade, this is a treasure that I look forward to showing my children. (The movie also inspired a restaurant in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom; Tony's Town Square Restaurant). 25.Bambi (1942)
The prince of the forest could be Disney's most heartfelt release. The beauty of nature and all it's inhabitants is challenged by the dangers of man and the fragility of life. Bambi is born with the title of Prince of the forest, and his instincts are tested early in one of cinema's more heartbreaking scenes. The animation is triumphant, much like a painting you would find in a museum. Nature is show in it's purest form alongside the harsh reality of life for the woodland creatures. I dare you not to feel anything. 24.The Black Cauldron (1985)
One of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted films in Disney's catalog. Being the only animated Disney film to garner a PG rating (how edgy!), this is not your typical Disney venture. Bleak, dangerous, and wicked are not apart of the norm when describing a Disney film. This is more like Tolkein's Lord of the Ring series (sometimes eerily similar). Still, I loved the animation, I loved the story, and I was entertained. This is also the first Disney animated film to utilize computer aided imagery, a claim sometimes associated with The Great Mouse Detective (we'll get to that later). Don't be scared of this one. It's a goodie. 23.Hercules (1997)
One of the few animated films I remember going to see in theaters as a child. It's always held a special place in my heart in part because I have such fond memories of watching Disney movies almost 24/7 (I love those over sized VHS cases. Over sized solely for the purpose of being noticed, or because kids could carry them more easily, but that's a blog for another day). What I love about Hercules is the character of hades. Both the animation of his fiery head of hair and the voice acting by James Woods seems like a match made in heaven, or hades. He's one of the best in the pantheon of Disney villains. 22.Make Mine Music (1946)
This has (with the exception of Fantasia) the best assortment of shorts compiled into one feature. Both the music used and the animation chosen to go alongside it are nearly perfect. There is one segment in particular that struck me deep inside. Sung by the Andrew Sisters, "Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet" is a beautiful love story that let's us know that "true love will come smiling through," no matter what. I also love the "Peter and the Wolf" segment, as well as "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met." Each segment has it's own place and does well in the film. This one is a real winner. 21.Mulan (1998)
Here is another film I recall seeing at the theatre in the days of my youth. Great music, great characters, and one of the few voice acting performances from a major star that I truly enjoyed (I am speaking of course of Eddie Murphy as Mushu). Normally I don't like to recognize the performance, but his voice suits the character very well. Another great soundtrack from a decade filled with brilliant songs and scores. Excellent animation, especially during the battle/avalanche sequence. Well done Disney. 20.The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
This is one film that does not get the praise it truly deserves. It's the last of the compilation films, or as I recently read, package films (excluding Fantasia 2000). It includes two of the finest shorts the Disney animation studios ever produced. The first being The Wind in the Willows, the classic tale about a toad whose lifestyle takes a toll on his wallet, bringing him into financial troubles, as well as some dealings with some "weasels." The second short is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a fantastic piece that truly captures both the story and the setting of colonial New England. Basil Rathbone and Bing Crosby give stellar narration. 19.Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Hands down the best film Disney Animation Studios released in the 2000s. It tells the story of a little Hawaiian girl who longs to find somebody who understands her. She finds companionship with an alien creature (Stitch) who is disguised as a dog as to evade his intergalactic captors. It's a really beautiful film (considering all of the extraterrestrial life forms) that teaches the true values of family and never giving up on each other. Lilo is adorable and a character both children and adults can cheer for. Don't let the poster fool you. This one is not to be taken lightly. 18.Cinderella (1950)
A true classic both in literature and on film. Disney's Cinderella has become a childhood staple for generations. The story, the music, the characters, everything. It's one of Disney's most resonating films. The story of a girl whose wicked stepmother makes her life a nightmare, only to find true happiness lies right within her heart, thanks to the help of her fairy godmother. "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" remains one of their more beloved songs. The film was also recognized at the First Berlin Film Festival, earning a Golden Bear nomination (the festival's highest honor). The film has even become a permanent staple of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom where right in the center of the park is a replica of Cinderella's castle. 17.The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
One of the bright spots of the 80s, The Great Mouse Detective is a lost treasure of the Disney catalog. Based on a popular children's series, we are plunged into the miniaturized world of Victorian London, where a mouse, Basil of Baker Street, one of the world's most cunning and renown private investigators, is called upon to investigate the disappearance of a toy maker. Stunning visuals and an outstanding score from the great Henry Mancini make this a remarkable film. The climactic finish inside of Big Ben is one of the greatest sequences ever done by Disney. It's one of the earliest uses of computer aided animation and one of the most complex of it's day. If you haven't seen this one, do yourself a favor and watch. 16.The Jungle Book (1967)
This is the first of three in what I consider the jazziest of the Disney animated films, the other two following directly after with The Aristocats and Robin Hood. It is really evident in the language and especially the character of Baloo, voiced by Phil Harris. He also would star in the other two "jazzy" films. You can almost see how "cool" Harris is just by listening to him. Anyway, The Jungle Book evokes a lot of the classic storytelling done by Disney, only this time we get a more modernized version of it, with swinging numbers like "I Wanna Be Like You" and "The Bear Necessities." The animation pops with vivid and lush backdrops of jungle in this retelling Rudyard Kipling's immortal story of the same name, where a boy is raised in the wild and learns about life through the eyes of his wild brethren. 15.The Three Caballeros (1944)
This was one of my favorite films to watch when I was younger. Much like Saludos Amigos, this was very much inspired by Walt's visit to Central and South America. Here we have an interesting version of the compilation or "package" film where we have two separate shorts early on, and then we have a third segment with mini segments within it. Donald Duck meets up with his two "birds of a feather," José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles. We learn about native customs in places like Brazil and Mexico, as well as having some fun along the way thanks to the often flustered but always comical Donald. The film has also had a rebirth thanks to an updated attraction at Epcot's Mexico Pavilion in Walt Disney World. 14.Pinocchio (1940)
In just his second feature film, Walt managed to not only improve drastically in animation and technical department, but also in his storytelling. Here we have a much more personable character in Jiminy Cricket, who retells the story of the puppet who dreamt of one day becoming a boy, only to find out along the way that it takes more than just wishing to get what you want. The animation here is flawless, really capturing the magic of the story. For those who can, try and watch this film in Blu-ray. I don't often recommend this format, but you will not be disappointed. 13.The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
What an ingenious way of telling the stories of A.A. Milne. Although this is not a "package" film, it is broken up into three segments, each telling a different story from Milne's collection of Winnie the Pooh adventures. I love the interaction between the characters and the narrator, and even with the physical layout of the book. Occasionally a character will walk from one illustration, leap across the book crease, and land on the next page. It's a brilliant format that works so fluidly. It doesn't grow tiresome, but rather gets better over time. A remarkable film that will enchant, delight, and entertain. 12.Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
The film that started it all. The position I have placed this film at does not diminish it's historical and cultural significance in any way. This is a brilliant film. This film in particular bares a similar resemblance to the animated shorts made prior to it's release, with musically choreographed action synced with rhyming dialogue. This film is a testament to the durability of film. Disney has since improved in every single aspect of filmmaking, yet this remains one of their most popular films because of it's story and especially it's heart. I wonder what the reception would have been had Walt decided to stick with the Brother's Grimm version. I don't think his career would have lasted nearly as long. 11.The Lion King (1994)
In many circles this is the best film to come out of Disney not just in the 90s but for all time. From the very opening with the rising sun over the African Savannah, we are immersed into a world unlike any other, filled with danger, life, and laughter. The animation is stunning, especially considering the wide variety of landscapes used throughout the film. The characters pop off the screen thanks to the great cast of voice actors including Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Jeremy Irons. The music here might be the best complete soundtrack, with pop icon Elton John lending a hand. It's a film about survival and that you can't make it on your own. A truly amazing film that can be added onto the pile of movies to pass onto my children. 10.Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The second in what I consider the golden age of Disney animation. This adaptation of the Lewis Carroll's classic novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland serves as a fun, zany, and kid-friendly version of the sometimes dark and intense story line. Here we have rich, saturated colors filling the screen, creating a beautiful interpretation of Wonderland. What Disney does so well here is choosing certain songs, rhymes, and sections of Carroll's work and puts them into song, my favorite being "The Walrus and the Carpenter," a charming song with a rather bleak message, but done tastefully. The film lives on in theme parks and remains a staple of the Disney classics. Ignore, if you can, the recent adaptation by Tim Burton, I would go straight for this one. 9.The Little Mermaid (1989)
Disney broke out of it's slump in the 80s with a vengeance in 1989. The Little Mermaid is a perfect package of story, music, and animation. This retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale is a sensational production. The story of a mermaid who would give anything to become human, including her soul. The music is out of sight, ranging from ballads to lyrical bonanzas like "Under the Sea," which if you really listen to is so much more than just a Disney song; it's a work of art. This film is the stepping stone that would catapult Disney into the 90s, where some of the studio's best work would be done. 8.The Sword in the Stone (1963)
This is THE most underrated Disney film of all time. I'm always so happy when I hear that someone has actually seen this and enjoyed it. It's an intelligent adaptation of Arthurian legend, based on T.H. White's novel of the same name. It tells the story of the boy who would grow up to be King Arthur and his relationship with Merlin the magician. This is some of the best animation to come out of the studio, similar, but not equal to, the animation of the film made prior, 101 Dalmatians (more on that later). I love the characters and I love the story. There is something about this film that just makes me smile. It's touching, smart, and has some very underrated musical numbers. 7.Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Here is another case where if you can watch/own this film on Blu-ray, do it. What a beautiful film this is. The animation really captures the medieval landscape both in the castles and in the forest. It's a story similar to Snow White, where a beautiful girl is envied by a powerful sorceress, Maleficent, probably one of the more terrifying villains to come from Disney. It's another example that only true love can defeat evil. Although it does have the same themes as it's predecessor, what the film does visually is astounding. Bright colors, wonderful details, and also the first defined features on a Disney princess (alas, a chin!). The female characters especially have a lot more detail than before. 6.Beauty and the Beast (1991)
There is something about this story that makes it perfect for film. The great Jean Cocteau adapted the film in 1946, creating a visually stunning, almost magical film. Flash forward 45 years later, Disney attempted to capture the same magic, and went well beyond that. The first thing you need to know is that this is the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and this is when there were only five nominees. There is no question that this film deserves the nomination. The animation is excellent, especially during the big broadway style song "Be Our Guest." Where the animation really steps out is during "Beauty and the Beast," where Belle dances with the Beast. The CG used for the background allows the animators to make a 360 degree dollying effect, meaning the camera moves freely around the characters, rather than a stationary shot. It's breathtaking. To compliment the animation, the score created is a masterpiece, really bringing the story to life. 5.Dumbo (1941)
In one of the studio's shortest feature films (just over an hour), Dumbo tells the story of a baby elephant, outcast by the world as a "freak" because of his large ears. His mother defends him but it lands her in trouble. Dumbo, with the help of a little mouse (not Mickey), must survive the world of show-business. It's simple, wholesome, and pushes the envelope as far as storytelling. The main character doesn't say a word yet we know so much about how he is feeling and what he wants. Beautiful music and spectacular animation make this an early gem. There is also a wonderful segment, "Pink Elephant's On Parade," a nightmarish, trippy sequence of shapeshifting elephants, a segment that would be parodied to an extent years later with Winnie the Pooh. Dumbo remains one of my top "cheers," telling the audience that anybody can be a somebody. All they need is a little push. 4.Aladdin (1992)
It wasn't easy, but out of all the great films to come from the 90s, Aladdin comes out on top. This is a timeless treasure, blending all the right elements to create a smooth, flawless film. For me, this film wouldn't be nearly as successful without the talents of Robin Williams. His voice acting behind the Genie remains one of the greatest voice acting performances ever documented. The character is aimed at all ages, thanks to the rapid fire nature of his dialogue. It's brilliant. If his performance wasn't enough, the music is without a doubt some of the best Disney has come up with. The credit goes to Alan Meken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice, the hallmark of which, "A Whole New World," has turned into one of Disney's more memorable songs, as well as animated segments, featuring Aladdin and Princess Jasmine soaring above the city on a flying carpet. It's hard to believe that this film was met with some heavy opposition for some "questionable" lyrics and portrayals of Arabs, but hey, it wouldn't be Disney if they didn't push the envelope. 3.Peter Pan (1953)
When I think of classic Disney animation, this film undoubtedly pops into my head. Where to begin with this film. Aside from being my favorite throughout my childhood, this is a truly wonderful film. Walt Disney, whose love for the classic J.M. Barrie story goes back years before the film went into production, is perhaps the perfect choice for a Disney adaptation. It's a perfect balance, grounding us with real characters (the Darling children) and the fantastical cast of Neverland characters (Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook). I have said before that the 50s produced some of the studio's most beautiful films, using brilliant colors, soft edges, and fluid movements, especially since the main character is hovering above the ground for a good portion of the film. The "You can fly!" sequence is one of my all time favorites. You can really feel the excitement for the Darling's as they take flight for the first time. There iconic flight over the rooftops of London has become a staple at Walt Disney World in the attraction Peter Pan's Flight, where visitors board a pirate ship and sail through the scenes of the movie, including fly overs of London and Neverland. For those who did not have the good fortune of watching this film in their childhood, I am truly sorry, but it's not too late to capture the magic. 2.Fantasia (1940)
Walt's vision for this film was to have a continuous release of this film, changing out segments and replacing them with new ones as the years went by. It was to be like a traveling show. It's a shame his dream didn't come true (unlike so many of his others), but we are fortunately blessed with this spectacular display of music, animation, and unique storytelling. The film is unlike any other Walt made in his lifetime. Using the works of master composers like Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Strovinski to name a few, we are given the pleasure of listening to these great composer's masterworks accompanied by beautiful animations. The most famous sequence of which takes Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," using Mickey Mouse to bring to life the wonderful composition. The final chapter of the film pairs Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" with Schubert's "Ave Maria," two drastically different pieces brought together in a simple, awe inspiring segment. Fantasia was sadly way ahead of its time and misunderstood by too many. Though Walt never truly got over the failure of his dream project, I think he would be happy to know that his film is still alive, especially in this blogger's eyes. After sifting through all 49 films to come from the drawing tables of Disney Animation Studios, we have come to our final film. One you might not expect to be atop the list, but one that is near and dear to my heart. 1.101 Dalmatians (1961)
Yes, 101 Dalmatians is my selection for greatest Disney film of all time. If you asked me to pick my favorite one, two, maybe three years ago, it would have most likely been Peter Pan, or maybe Aladdin. Thankfully we are not asking what my favorite was then but what it is now, and the answer is 101 Dalmatians.
If you look at the entire catalog of Disney animated films, you can put them into groups based on the animation. The first five films can be lumped together, then the rest of the films in the 40s for another group, followed by the five films of the 50s in a separate grouping. 101 Dalmatians marks a huge turning point in Disney animation. Just looking at the frames of this film compared to the films of the 40s and 50s, we have somewhat jagged, incomplete backgrounds, rough edges on characters, and sharp, defined features giving the characters more "character." Take for instance Cruella De Ville, whose painfully thin physique, sharp nose, and pointed chin makes her look mad at times. This is contrary to the thicker, puffy Captain Hook, with his frilly overcoat and soft edges. This new style was a little more raw, very modern, and so much fun to look at.
Aside from the animation there is a terrific story, based on the novel by Dodie Smith. It is the story of two Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita, whose puppies are stolen by the wicked Cruella De Ville. It is told through Pongo's eyes, with some clever voice over narration in the beginning. It's a breathtakingly beautiful adventure through the streets of London and into the outlying countryside. We meet other dogs and a variety of animals as they join forces to try and rescue the litter of puppies before Cruella has them made into coats.
Disney is not afraid to tell us a story through the eyes of an animal, but it's never before been more human, as if Pongo were the human and the humans are the animals. The conversations between the animals is almost too humanized to the point where you forget you are watching dogs and are solely focused on the story. To accommodate the story is an incredible score from George Bruns, whose jazzy intro is one of the best in the Disney catalog.
For those who don't understand why I put this one at the top, I urge you to watch a movie made before this one. Look how drastic the animation has changed, then look and see how much it has influenced the Disney films to follow. Whether or not you like the story is up to you, but you can't ignore the craftsmanship put into the making. If you do like the story, all the better. I've had a lot of fun looking at all of these great (rarely not so great) films over the past few months and I anxiously await the next feature coming out this season. Let's hope Disney Animation Studios can continue the magic, otherwise we might have to wait another year or two to be dazzled and amazed.
Written by Igor Schlangerberg
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Colors. We’ve seen them. We’ve had to recite them. We know them. We use them each and every day. You probably know your basic colors such as red, green, blue, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and possibly many more. You may know that the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow and that they can’t be made through the mixing of other colors. You ...Read more
The famous saying about diamond is that “Diamonds are forever” because a diamond symbolizes eternal love, purity and strength. Diamonds were formed at least 990 million years ago, although some are estimated to be as many as 4.25 billion years old. A diamond is known by its 4 C’s. There are four different characteristics- the Carat, the Col...Read more
Numerous volcanoes are found in the different parts of the world. The most popular ones were picked based on their beautiful environment and their power. By power, we mean their status as causes of mass destruction or their potential to cause severe damage in their surroundings.