May 3, 2014 by kbaldy15
It’s fair to say our collective childhood was influenced by Disney more than just about any other “brand.” We weren’t allowed to watch shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles due to violence, and we lost our cable privileges when my younger self couldn’t tear himself away from Scooby-Doo episodes long enough to do chores. Mom and Dad wouldn’t let us go without our “animation fix,” however, so instead of violent cartoons we got force fed the sunshine and rainbows of Disney’s animated classics.
You know, maybe it’s just Lion King…
Regardless, Lion King is one of those Disney films that exists in a pretty definitive upper echelon. At least in my family, it sits right up there with Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. A few other films may come close, but I think I’m fairly safe in saying that those three are the clear top 3, at least within my household. Care to argue?
However, the top films like these can really distract from just how great Disney as a whole. There are scores of Disney films that are nearly forgotten about, but are absolutely fantastic, with arguments that could be made for their inclusion among the greats. Now that’s not to say they haven’t had their misses, or that some of the films aren’t a little over-hyped. So that’s where our discussion this week leads us. We each have two posts to talk about Disney movies that are under-appreciated or over-acclaimed. Do one for each, two for one category, a short blurb on both in your posts–I don’t care. Just talk about Disney.
Honorable Mentions: Tarzan (such great music), Emperor’s New Groove (debatable–The Doctor), Pocahontas, Mulan, Meet the Robinsons, The Great Mouse Detective, The Rescuers, Fox and the Hound, Oliver and Company (?–I mean it’s got Billy Joel, right?)
Dishonorable Mentions: Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan (through no fault of its own)
To start off, I’m going to toss out Hercules as an underrated Disney movie. This may be a bit of a stretch, as I’m not really sure that there’s a large number of people out there that dislike Hercules. I’m just not sure there’s as large a group of people that really love Hercules like they should. I mean, it’s got all the elements of a fantastic, classic Disney film.
Sassy Love Interest?
Growing Up/Training Montage?
Clever References to Pop (Ancient) Culture?
Iconic Hero Song?
Ricky Martin Covering Said Iconic Song in a Different Language Whilst Standing On A Flaming Mountain, Hip-Thrusting Into Eternity?
^^seriously, watch it. It will change your life.
The Song That Everyone Sings Along To, Loud Enough To Cover Their Shame For Knowning Every Word?
The only thing that The Lion King has that Hercules doesn’t are the Nazi Parallels (believe me, I looked). Plus, Hades has that phenomenal line about how he hates verse when the Fates are making their prophecy. Even the throwaway characters have value, like how the kids that bully Hercules coin the phenomenal insult “Jerk-ules.” The soundtrack is right up there, given the two songs I’ve already said, “Zero to Hero,” and the song during the training montage (doesn’t get much better than Danny DeVito singing). I could go on, but I think I’ve made my case.
I literally had this conversation at work today. Actually. Late 80’s and early 90’s babies had the pleasure of growing up in the heyday of Disney movie magic–and yes, I just learned that “heyday” is an actual word, not a weird, archaic idiomatic expression like I thought, though I don’t like anything that the etymology section has to say about it. Disney evolved at a strange time and in a strange way. The political whoop-dee-doo that is Disney’s relationship with Pixar as well as it’s acquiring smaller animation companies and redistributing animation teams make for a fun way to spend an afternoon watching documentaries and reading Wikipedia.
Fun Facts I’ve literally just learned:
1. Lion King, since you pinned it as one of the greats, and since it’s to the best of my recollection the first and last movie I watched from the front row of a movie theater–quick learners, we Baldaufs are–was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “HAMLET!” you cry, “IT’S HAMLET!” Yet nobody cries “JOSEPH!” or “MOSES!” which the filmmakers also cite as inspiration for the film. The funny thing about this, is that the movie was put into production at the same time as Pocahontas, which Disney believed would be the more successful and to which their top animators were assigned. Therefore, Lion King was animated by a reluctant group of B team animators.
2. With the recent talk surrounding Disney’s acquiring the beloved Muppets, which I have heard about in response to the most recent Muppets film, I was surprised to know that Disney purchased the rights to the name back in 2003. They renamed themselves “The Muppets Studio” in 2007 in order to produce the revival “The Muppets” (2011) and “Muppets Most Wanted” (2014). What’s more is that Disney was working with The Jim Henson Company to purchase the Muppets all the way back in 1989. Had Jim Henson not passed away in May of 1990, it’s likely that Disney would have been able to go through with the deal.
3. Walt Disney’s first company, Laugh-O-Gram Films, went bankrupt in 1923. However, Alice’s Wonderland, the one short film he produced, spurred an ultimately unsuccessful series of comedies produced by M.J. Winkler Productions that allowed Walt and his brother Roy to start Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, renamed Walt Disney Studio in 1926.
Well, enough of that chatter.
As much as I’d like to bring in gems like James and the Giant Peach or A Kid in King Arthur’s court, I’m going to stick with animated films made without coproduction partners.
I believe Shane has some strong feelings about The Jungle Book, so I’ll let him go for that one and pick up with a most beloved character, one of charming speech, righteously deviant acts, cunningly witty disguise, and, well, foxy interests.
Robin Hood, made in 1973 if you can believe it, is pretty brilliant from start to finish. From the fantastic display during the opening credits in which nearly the entire plot of the movie is played out to the magnificent dance party stolen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats (1970–WTF!?) to the daring leap from a burning castle, Robin Hood is chockablock full of sunshine and rainbows. Pure magic from start to finish and all of the characters are amazing. In case you’ve forgotten:
First of all, there will be no gifs from me. That is because the wordpress app on the ipad is terrible. Seriously. I also can not see any of the pics or gifs that you’ve all put in here because, once again, the wordpress app is just terrible.
Yes, I could write this on my companion’s laptop (which is how I’m referring to Brittany on here from now on. If you don’t get the Doctor Who reference, you clearly haven’t been to this site before.) That’s how I usually post. But I don’t have her laptop and only just remembered I have to do this still because “A Whole New World” came up on my iPhone.
So yeah, I’m a little disconnected due to the ridiculous amount of coding for all of your pics/gifs. Because it’s all in text mode. Because WordPress app. Because fuck if I know (why they would do that).
And now I apparently can’t scroll up to check the rules again. Anyways…
1. Hercules was probably my top pick. Legitimately underrated. So many great and subtle jokes.
2. Fuck you Brett. I wanted Robin Hood. Probably the single most underrated Disney movie.
3. I have no clue what Aaron picked. Because WordPress app.
4. I am not going to pick Jungle Book. Partially because I think most people accept that the Jungle Book is great, and last time I rewatched it I was somewhat underwhelmed. I still love it, but it may have been overhyped.
5. Similar to Jungle Book, I think it’s pretty widely accepted that things like Little Mermaid, Snow White, etc are classics. So properly rated.
6. Beauty and the Beast. I would actually argue that we collectively underrate this. By we I mean the four of us. And when I say underrate, I mean that we don’t automatically include it in the obvious top movies. It was nominated for best picture! Has to be up there with Lion King. However–this one is clearly a classic. Properly rated.
(Sidebar: I also don’t have my wireless keyboard. Anyone who types with two fingers is crazy. This is terrible.)
7. There’s a lot of good choices left. Assuming those aren’t what all of Aaron’s media thingys are. I’ll save most for the honorable mentions. Although special shout-out to Mulan.
But my underrated pick is Fox and the Hound. It’s rarely talked about. Not as funny and a little weaker on the songs compared to some of the others–I think I just talked myself out of it. Damn it. Honorable mention.
Yup. Treasure Planet for sure. It’s funny. (Google the little amoeba dude. Gonna have to do your own work this post. WordPress app). Great music–“I’m Still Here” by Johnny Rzeznick(?) is fantastic. It was ahead of its time with the animation. Plus JGL! Although minus points for the rat-tail ponytail thing. I don’t know what the fuck that was.
First off, all of the yeses for Robin Hood. Secondly, even more of the yeses for Robin Hood. Brett get its. Third, are we not talking about The Little Mermaid for a reason? If so, somebody should tell me that reason. If not, I’m going to assume that it’s because it’s already a top tier classic.
So. Forgotten about Disney movies. Besides the ones already mentioned.
This one. Lilo & Stitch is fantastic. I should know, I just watched it like two weeks ago. Let me remind you why it’s fantastic…
1) Lilo is one of Disney’s best child characters. She’s funny, awkward, and surprisingly wise in a way that only children can be (Ohana means family!).
2) The movie as a whole is way funnier than I remember. Pleakley’s obsession with mosquitoes, Lilo’s antisocial behavior around other children, Stitch in a grass skirt, the whole movie really. Here are a few examples:
3) Elvis montage. Enough said.
4) Cobra Bubbles. Read that name again. Yeah.
5) It brings all the feels. Lilo and Nani are orphans, and a main plot point is Nani trying to be a good enough mom so that Lilo doesn’t get taken away. She’s trying her best, okay!?!? I’M NOT CRYING. Then Stitch busts out the “Ohana means family” line. Then I actually was crying.
6) Frozen was the first Disney movie to show the strength of sisterly love? I’ll just leave this here.
So there is actually a little dissension between us, as I’d consider Great Mouse Detective as not that great and Atlantis as pretty average. As was Princess and the Frog. And yes, Robin Hood is surely a classic, and yes, Treasure Planet is totally awesome as well. Since we aren’t writing these posts in order, I guess the comment I had planned for this section is going to be more of a foreshadowing for The Professor’s next blurb, but TANGLED IS THE GREATEST. Like seriously, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and I’d put it up there with the best of Disney, even if it’s not necessarily the same style of the “animated classics.” Also, it’s way better than Frozen. Don’t get me wrong, I love Frozen, but the way it has absolutely blown up kind of blows me away. It’s great and all, but it’s not even the best of their last two movies.
Instead of removing a movie from the honorable mentions that we have to write an entire blurb about it, I’m just going to give little reasons for each of them as to why they deserve their honorable mention.
Also, Tantor (“Are you sure this water’s sanitary? It looks questionable to me!”), and Phil Collins. Excellent.
Emperor’s New Groove:
Kronk alone is almost enough to push this movie into classic standing. He’s hilarious, and he has his own theme music. Also, Yzma cat is pretty great.
Meeko and Flit are awesome. Toss in some Colors of the Wind, Mel Gibson doing some serious acting playing a somewhat progressive thinker, that awesome war song, and Grandmother Willow, and you’ve got a solid movie.
The writing for that gif is terrible, but it says “Let’s get down to business,” and I’m sure you all know the second half of it because everyone knows this song because it is fucking awesome. Seriously, one of the best Disney songs ever. Then there’s Mushu (Eddie Murphy at his best), the hilarious Grandma (“Can you stay forever!?”), and some other good songs and characters (I definitely don’t know the words to Reflection or anything…). Just a really good movie.
I won’t mention the other honorable mentions, because I don’t deem them as honorable enough to be mentioned.
I don’t have much else to say, I guess. I sort of said a lot before. So here it goes:
Tangled: If you don’t love it as much as I do, you shut that blasphemous, leaking face-hole you call a mouth and listen up.
Tangled. Is. Amazing.
Watch it. Watch it again.
Watch it until you love it as much as I do.