Let's face it, when it comes to bringing animated films to life, no other film-making company knows how to make these movies the way Walt Disney Pictures has. Through all forms of animation available, Disney has brought wonderful animated masterpieces to the world of cinema. It was through Walt Disney pictures that the first feature length animated films(Snow White, Fantasia, Dumbo etc.) were given access into our world. Since I've been recollecting my memories with Disney lately, I've decided to share my 10 personal favorite animated releases. You may my choices to be quite different from what most people would choose. (At the request of several comments on my last article, I've tried to make my descriptions a little shorter.
10. "Alice In Wonderland" (1951)
This version of Lewis Carol's literary classic is often considered one of Disney's weaker installments. No matter what, I can never find anything wrong with this film. It's filled with colorful animation, villains with great personalities, and really catchy stylistically diverse music. I love how Kathryn Beaumont portrays the cheerful, impatient, and premature Alice; especially since this was her debut film. I can tell through her acting that she offers good enthusiasm in the characters she has portrayed. To conclude it's not perfect, but good for Disney's standards.
9. "The Black Cauldron" (1985)
The 1980s is remembered for being a unique decade for animated family films. Many of the films contained intense material that could frighten children. Disney turned to the dark side only once with "The Black Cauldron". This movie has never scared me, but it has fascinated me. The diabolical mood of the movie is presented really well. The fiendish Horned King, is one of my favorite Disney villains and British actor John Hurt, does a fantastic job giving him a deep grizzly voice. Though the movie was a serious bomb to Disney at Box Office, I think it's an underrated and misunderstood classic. Along with some other animated films like "The Secret Of N.I.M.H", "The Last Unicorn", "Fire and Ice" and Hayao Miyazaki's early films; "The Black Cauldron" helped make Fantasy a phenominal film genre in the 80s.
8. "Robin Hood" (1973)
The story of Robin Hood has always been a favorite in my family; therefore, this Disney film is a big favorite in my family. Disney is quite creative with their anthropomorphic animals, and I like how all the characters are portrayed as animals instead of people. Robin and Marian as foxes, Prince John as a lion, and Friar Tuck as a Badger, make up some really good selections for the possible wild-sides to the characters. Disney is also really creative with it's music, and even though this entry has only 3 songs, these songs are really catchy and entertaining ("The Phony King Of England" always makes me want to dance.) Because this movie always makes me smile, I always want to say after watching it, "Golly what a day!"
7. "The Lion King" (1992)
There is so much about this movie that has made it such a memory including: it's characters, beautiful animation, and the accomplished music from English musician Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice. In creating a loosely based adaptation of "Hamlet" with all animals, the creators at Disney made some really powerful characters. I have a big passion for Simba's character. To me, he characterizes how anyone can achieve a dream as long as they fight through all obstacles to receive the proudest honors. Another character whom I really like is Scar, voiced by the majestic Jeremy Irons (In one of his finest performances.). To me Scar characterizes how the effects of greed and evil may seem minor in the beginning, but can eventually bring much regret even if you must wait many years to receive your punishment. All in all "The Lion King" is just about everything from a romance, to a fable, to perfect musical.
6. "Pocahontas" (1995)
This is an enchanting and wonderfully animated tale on a true story of America, long before we Americans over-populated it. As a big fan of nature and the colonial times, this movie makes me wish I was around to be one of the first men to explore America and all it's beautiful riches (Not the gold of course, but the adventure.). As with many of the movies he has worked with, Alan Menken made an amazing repertoire of songs. "Just Around the Riverbed" and "Colors Of The Wind", which are both sang by Judy Kuhn (The singing voice for Pocahontas) have a pure and lively feeling, and "Steady As A Beating Drum", "Listen To Your Heart", and "The Virginia Company" serve as good mood setters to prepare the viewer for a great movie moment. The animation is also some of the most vivid and detailed artwork I seen in a Disney film; especially during "The Colors Of The Wind" sequence. "Pocahontas" is sure to make people who stay inside a lot, want to go outside more and interact with the secret spirits of nature.
5. "The Sword In The Stone" (1963)
The only medieval legend, which I like more than Robin Hood and Beowulf, is the tale of King Arthur. Although there are better adaptations of King Arthur, this is an awesome film for Disney's family film standards. This movie is loaded with hilariously memorable moments including: Merlin trying to teach Arthur the most confusing stuff during the Dark Ages (Though it's true the world is round.), the duel between Merlin and Madame Mim, and Archimedes, the highly educated owl's trademark line, "You, You PUMBLING BLOCKHEAD!" The soundtrack may seem simple, but the songs help make one of Disney's catchiest entries. "That's What Makes The World Go Round", is my favorite song, because it feels very atmospheric and I like to sing it in my head during a swim workout. If you want to see a movie about King Arthur but think that many versions are too violent, look no further than "The Sword In The Stone".
4. "Fantasia" (1940)
The only thing better than listening to some of the greatest creations in music, is watching them all portrayed in stories that may or may not come to your mind when thinking of the music. This was one of the first Disney films I watched. Being a big fan of dinosaurs caused "The Rite Of Spring" sequence to be the moment I was tuned to the most. Now I like all the sequences, including the horrifying "Night On Balding Mountain/Ave Maria" scene, which used to give me nightmares. You can't forget the sequence this movie is most known for, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" featuring Mickey Mouse. I find it quite funny watching Mickey get beat by the brooms, who ironically were just following his orders. This movie can freak you out at times with its voiceless characters, terrifying villains, and powerful music, but after you're used to it, you'll be enjoying a concert that's free to watch and easy to be fascinated by.
3. "Sleeping Beauty" (1959)
When I mention this movie to many of my friends and family members, they tend to turn this movie down because of its really dark nature. From hearing all the criticism, I like to step in and say that "Sleeping Beauty" is a misunderstood classic, just like "The Black Cauldron". Out of all the really old Disney animated films I find this to be one of the most epic. The fight scene between Maleficent as a dragon and Prince Philip is magnificent and I think it makes Philip a standout among the other Disney princes as a hero who goes above and beyond to rescue his true love. Princess Aurora is also unique compared to the Disney princesses of the older films. I think she has the most graceful voice and she can sing like a Nightingale (thanks to her magic gift from the fairy Fauna). Even Maleficent is one of the cruelest Disney villains with a devilish appearance and tone like none other. "Sleeping Beauty" is so exciting it'll keep you from sleeping after all the adventure.
2. "Beauty and the Beast" (1991)
With its powerful romance, life-like animation, and up-lifting musical numbers, it's almost no wonder this was the first (and only until "Up".) animated films to be nominated for best picture. I never could get into this movie as a child, and suddenly it's a huge favorite of mine. In creating a family oriented version of the French fairytale "La Belle et la Bete", Disney did a superb job piecing it together. This is probably the Disney film, which Alan Menken is remembered the most for in his song writing career. The enchanting and breath-taking ballroom dance scene, with the famous theme song Menken wrote, always makes me wish I can come together with the true love I'm destined to have in the same way. One thing I realized just recently was that me and the movie's protagonist Belle, have so much in common. We both love to read, and like her I have trouble fitting in with many people because I love fantasy, science fiction, horror and anime, which almost nobody my age likes. "Beauty and the Beast" is a must see for any Disney fan. Who knows you might just learn something from it when you get older.
Now, for my number 1 favorite Disney animated film. Get ready to ring the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, beeeeeeelllllllllssssssssss of
1. "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" (1996)
Just like "Sleeping Beauty", this is another Disney Film that many people I know turn down quite strongly, due to its dark nature. No matter what they say, I love this creation of Disney with a deep passion. There are 3 big reasons why I really like this movie.
First I think the soundtrack is so intriguing and mesmerizing, that I think Alan Menken really outdid himself in the process. It's the first Disney film that uses the Latin language and Catholic themes in the soundtrack.
The second reason I like this film the most is the characterization of the antagonist Judge Claude Frollo. Unlike the other Disney villains, there isn't a trace of humor is his blood, he is made of pure cruelty (Despite his assuptions that he is a highly devoted catholic through his actions. The villain song of the movie "Hellfire", is my favorite villain song in an animated film. It's filled to the brim with intensifying drama where Frollo fears he will turn to sin from his lust for the Gypsy Esmerelda.
The third and probably the most important reason I treasure this Disney film the most, is the strong connection I feel I have with the movie's main protagonist Quasimodo. Like Quasi I have lived through challenging experiences in having trouble fitting in. I suffer from aspergers syndrome, a mental illness that has made acceptance from my peers hard at times, even if I never intend to be mean or say the wrong thing on purpose. Despite my lonliness at times, I've always had my friends at swimming and track to help me deal with my problems and feel positive, just like Quasi's gargoyle friends. Along with my swim and track friends, I've known a very bright, pretty, and helpful girl who has helped shape my High School experience in many great ways. Whenever she saw that I needed advice or just wanted someone to talk to she would be there beside me to help me become slowly more connected. Every year of High School she became more special to me, that it felt like she was a Guardian Angel shining Heaven's Light on my soul. By the end of High School I began to feel more connected to my peers whom I've known for a long time, just like Quasimodo being hailed as a hero by the citizens of Paris who once through produce at his hideously misshapen face. As for the jerks who still mistreat me, I look at them as nothing more than spirits that I barely knew at all.
Though it contrast significantly from Victor Hugo's tragic novel, which this movie is based on, "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" will always be my favorite Disney animated flick from the Disney animated film canon. If you haven't seen it before or need to re-watch it, it will give the viewer a better reason to go to Paris than for the gourmet food.
I hope you all enjoyed reading. I know this topic has been done a lot lately, but I saw it as a good way to pass the time while I plan out some other article I would like to write this summer before I go to college. Be sure to look forward to a list of my Top 30 favorite movies of all time.
Piece out for now! Shepard Of Suburbia!