Re-Disney: Week 1 Progress Report

After telling myself I was only going to re-watch the Disney animated movies I actually own, I’ve since rented two from Amazon Instant Video and another 6 from the school library (with 5 more on the way).

So…I’m gonna do it, world: I’m gonna watch all 51 of the canonical Disney animated movies.  Really, am I really fulfilling the “challenge” part of a “personal challenge” if I’m only going two-thirds of the way?

Here’s the list, with those I’ve finished crossed off:

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  2. Pinocchio
  3. Fantasia
  4. Dumbo
  5. Bambi
  6. Saludos Amigos
  7. The Three Caballeros
  8. Make Mine Music
  9. Fun and Fancy Free
  10. Melody Time
  11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  12. Cinderella
  13. Alice in Wonderland
  14. Peter Pan
  15. Lady and the Tramp
  16. Sleeping Beauty
  17. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
  18. The Sword in the Stone
  19. The Jungle Book
  20. The Aristocats
  21. Robin Hood
  22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  23. The Rescuers
  24. The Fox and the Hound
  25. The Black Cauldron
  26. The Great Mouse Detective
  27. Oliver & Company
  28. The Little Mermaid
  29. The Rescuers Down Under
  30. Beauty and the Beast
  31. Aladdin
  32. The Lion King
  33. Pocahontas
  34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  35. Hercules
  36. Mulan
  37. Tarzan
  38. Fantasia 2000
  39. Dinosaur
  40. The Emperor’s New Groove
  41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  42. Lilo & Stitch
  43. Treasure Planet
  44. Brother Bear
  45. Home on the Range
  46. Chicken Little
  47. Meet the Robinsons
  48. Bolt
  49. The Princess and the Frog
  50. Tangled
  51. Winnie the Pooh
A couple of notes on those that I’ve finished:
  • My initial reaction with the Xeroxing films (starting with One Hundred and One Dalmatians and ending with Oliver & Company) is to dismiss them as something lesser than some of Disney’s more celebrated efforts, since there is such an obvious difference, I dare say “simplification,” of the animation style.  After re-watching some of them, like Robin Hood and The Sword in the Stone, I have to say, I still have some reservations about the “sketchiness” of the animation (really, it only works with Winnie the Pooh, since that film is actually supposed to take place within the illustrations of a book), but I’d never noticed before just how much uniqueness and expressiveness, in terms of design, faces, and body movements, are infused with each of these characters.  Whereas the animation in Cinderella is very refined, it lacks the energy of the Xeroxed films.  Madame Adelaide from The Aristocats and the characters from Robin Hood are great examples of this.  For what the animation lacks in a refined beauty, it makes up for with
  • I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a huge fan of the animation in some of these films, particularly the films between Saludos Amigos and Peter Pan. Characters rarely stay “on model” (i.e., proportions change, body parts move, etc.).  “On model” basically means that each character has certain physical rules that they have to follow, and anything step outside of those rules results in a little sloppiness.  It’s something I used to notice on cartoon series like “Animaniacs,” which had different artist facilities animating different episodes, so character models looked slightly different.  It always used to irritate me when I was a kid; I guess I just prefer animation that sticks to some sort of style, instead of moving in and out of one.
  • Treasure Planet, which I’d only watched once before and didn’t care for, and which is considered one of the biggest flops–animated or otherwise–in film history, is indeed a mixed bag.  Some of the visuals are stunning (“pirate ships in space” is a pretty cool concept, after all), and the relationship between Jim and Silver is really well done.  But MAN, Delbert and especially the irritating robot BEN are like concrete shoes to this film.  That “Go Delbert! Go Delbert!” dance  is really cringe-inducing.  And the less we say about the alien who communicates by farting, the better.
  • I was reminded upon this re-watch that The Fox and the Hound is really great, but terribly traumatizing!  Betrayal, death, abandonment–heavy themes for a Disney movie.  Definitely worth revisiting if you haven’t seen it in awhile.
  • Hercules is a great, criminally underrated film.  I would actually argue that Hercules may have the best songs since The Little Mermaid (I mean, c’mon, even Beauty and the Beast had that “Something There” dud).  The animation style is uniquely warped for Disney films (the character designs were provided by the guy who did the artwork for Pink Floyd’s The Wall), and Meg is probably one of my favorite Disney characters ever–sassy, dry, and sarcastic.  I kinda imagine she was the initial inspiration for that Disney Princess Hipster meme that went around awhile back.

I’m also going to be completely crazy at this moment and also pledge to watch all 12 Pixar movies (yeah, even Cars 2) before we leave for Disney World on June 27th.  Heck, I’ll even catch a screening of Brave before then, too, just for kicks!  I mean, that will only leave me with, what, 51 more movies to watch in the next 27 days?  TOTALLY FEASIBLE.

You know I have to do it, because I said I would on the Internet and that’s all binding and stuff.

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