My Favorite Disney Animated Movies

I literally have no energy to talk about either of the anime that aired recently (quick note: BlazBlue is Jormungand-tier bad, Tokyo Ravens isn’t awful, but in a crowded season like this, it just doesn’t stand out, and I’m so burnt out from sampling crap that I can’t even be bothered with Noucome). Instead, I want to talk about some good old American animation. Specifically, the stuff from my childhood, as well as everyone else’s. Yep, it’s time to talk about Disney animated movies. Specifically my top ten favorites.

Disney

I think every one of us grew up with this company and its output, so I’m not going to bother describing to you why it’s so great and all that. With that said, I was surprised when going through the list just how little staying power Disney has over me. Only the top two or three movies would be amongst some of my favorite animated movies of all time whilst only my number one would be within my favorite movies of all time. I guess this is true for most people too, but for as much respect as I give Disney for being able to tackle both the kids and the adults, I’m surprised how little of their stuff I actually truly love (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Lady in the Tramp just seem so dated now, I can’t stand The Aristocats, and Home on the Range is still one of the worst theatrical experiences I’ve ever experienced).

So yeah, let’s talk about some Disney stuff, shall we?

10: Aladdin

Honestly, I was racking my brain regarding whether to put this or The Emperor’s New Groove on here, particularly since the task of actually making David Spade tolerable is nothing short of a miracle. However, Robin Williams is in this movie, so I had to give the edge to this. Most boys grew up adoring Aladdin and I was one of them. It’s that sort of rogue-turned-prince by means story that we all adored, but as we move on from that, we realize how much that story is bullshit and that the only way to gain true happiness is through your own means. It’s not as clever about it as Scott Pilgrim or Utena, but it works pretty damn well. Also, Aladdin was also the only one of the movies who sequels (well, mainly the third one) were actually pretty decent. That’s pretty damn cool.

9: The Lion King

I know a lot of people consider this movie the most epic and thus have this as their #1 to the point that it’s probably the Legend of the Galactic Heroes of Disney movies (even though it’s really Hamlet), but I honestly think it’s flawed in a bunch of the wrong ways. Scar is a great villain for the first half, but he stops being interesting once he gains power (guy needed to take a cue from Shere Khan in regards to staying a credible threat). Simba is kind of a boring lead. I can’t buy into the love story. Half the songs are terrible. But the sheer big moments more than make up for that. The scene where Scar’s paw comes crashing down. The final fight scene between the lions and the hyenas. That song, “Be Prepared”, which is possibly my favorie Disney villain song. It’s a big movie with big ambitions that mostly succeeds at them gracefully.

8: The Princess and the Frog

I know this film is a bit of a mess in terms of putting all its elements together, but as a guy who loves the jazz era that Princess and the Frog portrays so well, I don’t give a damn. Seeing a traditionally 2D-animated movie after over 5 years was such a great experience, and seeing it play with current trends whilst continuing the usual Disney princess cliches was pretty damn awesome as well. The villain is pretty cool too, with one of the best Disney villain songs I’ve ever seen. Not quite “Be Prepared” level, but damn that last minute or so when it turns into a psychedelic freakshow. The rest of the stuff is pretty great too. I love Tiana’s work-hard motivation, Naveen’s riches-to-rags plot, Louie’s attempts to be taken seriously, Ray’s…*sniff*. Why this got screwed whilst Tangled (which is a great movie too, if only for the horse) earned the moolah at the theatres is something I’ll never understand.

7: Mulan

Every time I bring up Mulan, somebody always brings up that “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” song. I love the song and it does sort of sum up what I love about this movie and all, but fandom can really be a bitch to the stuff you love, you know? But yeah, I love the story that Mulan conveys regarding gender roles in China and mixing it up with some pretty awesome action and comedy. Eddie Murphy was a bit of weird casting, but he gets a good line every now and then, plus his final attack with that rocket was awesome. It’s just a damn great movie. Pity it also had one of the worst Disney sequels ever. Seriously, that sequel was so bad it rivals that awful Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas crap.

6: The Rescuers Down Under

A thousand times better than the mediocre first movie, Rescuers Down Under was apparently the first animated movie ever to start using digital animation. And Jesus Christ was it a serious upgrade compared to the original Rescuers. The eagle scenes are just sublime, Bernard and Miss Bianca are way more full of life to the point that it made me sad that Bernard just can’t pop the question, and the villian is fantastically funny. If I ever needed to show an example regarding how to do a sequel right, I’d point to this thing in a heartbeat.

5: Dumbo

Pink Elephants on Parade! It’s one of the greatest scenes to ever come out of Disney. The rest of the movie is pretty good too (yes, I even like Jim Crow), but it’s just to take up space since even the shortest of Disney movies like Saludos Amigos weren’t five minutes long.

4: Fantasia

Beautifully animated setpieces accompanied by awesome orchestral music. Yeah, I have pretentious tastes. So what? As I like to remind people, animation is a visual medium, and you’re supposed to let the visuals do the talking. And whilst I like me some Genius Party (aside from Limit Cycle, because that short is shit) and Robot Carnival, Fantasia just beats them all hands-down with its ambition, scope, and animated music. The sequel isn’t quite as good, but it’s still worth watching for some truly unique tributes. Just skip the celebrity cameos.

3: The Winnie the Pooh Movies

Fuck your iyaikeishi or whatever you guys call “healing anime”. Winnie the Pooh surpasses all of them in every single way. He does it through genuine childlike innocence, a colorful cast of characters, and *gasp* actual jokes and creative stories beyond “oh look at that cute bear”. Now that’s what I consider a proper “healing” story. Also, I know this is probably tantamount to sacrilege, but I prefer the new version of Winnie the Pooh to the Many Adventures. The original and the new movie are both considered on this list so that doesn’t matter too much, but whilst I like how the former just shows fun characters doing fun things, I just love the latter’s improved comedic moments and the Backson (that stinger at the end is hilarious). I’m shallow like that.

2: The Great Mouse Detective

Possibly the most overlooked of the great Disney classics. It’s a great take on the classic Sherlock Holmes story with a brilliant main character and his equally competent nemesis. Seeing the two try to outsmart each other, even though the villain’s plan is kind of dumb when you stop and think about it, is fantastic stuff that rivals the rivalry (hehe) between Light and L, or Yang Wenli and Reinhard. Also, you have Vincent Price as the main villain, Ratigan, who is quite possibly one of the funniest (and greatest) of the Disney villains. That level of voice-acting actually surpasses most Japanese seiyuu. Just try to separate him from his character. I dare you!

1: A Goofy Movie

Yes, this counts as a Disney animated movie. It was released in theatres under their name and thus qualifies for the list. I know it’s not part of the official Disney animated canon. I give that sentiment the bird and include this one on here because I say fuck that shit. I love how this movie took Goofy, one of the most one-note Disney characters I’ve seen, and turned him into a relatable bumbling father who just wants to be there for his teenage son. I love how 90s it is and how we get stuff like a hot tub and an RV in a theatrical Disney film. Hell, I even like those cheesy songs. A Goofy Movie is my favorite animated Disney film, it’s one of my favorite films of all time, and anyone who is against my choice can go curse my choice on Reddit or something.

Edit: I eventually saw Noucome. Had potential to be funny, but it wrecked that potential with bad comedic timing and pacing, similar to Meganebu. Have no interest in seeing more of it.

8 responses to “My Favorite Disney Animated Movies

  1. The only one on here I genuinely enjoy is Fantasia, and even that’s a bit of a mixed bag. The Aladdin TV series is a lot more enjoyable than the movie. Everything else on the list just doesn’t do it for me.

    The actual story is pretty dull, but Sleeping Beauty is probably Disney’s best movie aesthetically. It’d probably rank pretty high if I did a similar list.

    I was pretty partial to Robin Hood when I was a kid, but it’s something best left in the past. Same goes for The Black Cauldron. That one stuck in my mind mainly because when I saw it as a kid in the theater, the theater manager came outside and warned everyone in line to buy tickets of the “satanic imagery” in the movie. Some parents took their kids out of line. Thankfully mine didn’t.

    I kinda dig Alice in Wonderland as well, but that’s about it, Disney’s far better at cartoon shorts.

    • Fantasia: Honestly, I think I ranked it too low. Moving it to #4 now (LOL). But yeah, I love its musical setpieces and stuff. Unlike Fantasia 2000, I didn’t see one I didn’t enjoy somewhat.

      Aladdin: Can’t remember the TV series that much, although I did enjoy King of Thieves, which was sort of like a long version of a TV episode.

      Sleeping Beauty: It’s not as dated as I probably made it out to be (in terms of animation and whimsy), but I remember the side characters being great whilst the main couple drained me.

      Robin Hood: Pretty dated, but I remember King John and Hiss being pretty funny.

      Black Cauldron: Haven’t seen that surprisingly.

      Alice in Wonderland: Been too long since I’ve seen it. Did see the Johnny Depp one though. It was awful.

  2. Saw Beauty and the Beast a couple years ago back when it was back in theaters and really liked it. That said, on reflection the film took a *ton* of cues from Jean Cocteau’s version of the story, which is even better (and definitely stranger) if that’s possible. Check it out if you have the chance, the ending’s kinda lame but there’s some seriously cool shit in there! Disney’s Beast isn’t bad but his claws don’t give off smoke after the kill

    Otherwise Sleeping Beauty is pretty thinly written but the visuals are gorgeous. The final confrontation remains absolutely astonishing as well. That said when it comes to films as stories rather than elaborately made visual and musical setpieces I have to say I prefer Pixar (though their recent work has been fairly disappointing.)

    • I liked Beauty and the Beast, if only for Gaston. Animation was great and I like some of the songs, but the other characters didn’t do much for me. I’ll keep Jean Cocteau’s version in mind.

      Sleeping Beauty is great aesthetically, but the story is so dated as of now. As I said to Landon, side characters hold up fine (and got a good amount of screen time), but the mains were dull as sin. ‘Course, if you see the fairies as the mains like most people…

      Regarding Pixar, I love the Toy Story saga, Ratatouille, and Wall-E. I liked the Incredibles, although not as much as most people. Monsters Inc and A Bugs’ Life lost their appeal as I grew older. Cars and Pixar’s recent stuff…yeah I share the same sentiments as everyone else.

  3. I really don’t remember much from a Goofy Movie (asides from Max being a broody kid) Which is odd since I loved Goof Troops back in the day

    Yeah, but asides from the stuff you listed here, I was quite a fan of Tarzan, quite a sad and unflinchingly brutal (the beginning at least) movie.

    Yes, like everyone else almost, I only like Pixar’s older stuff

  4. I really adored Princess and the Frog, loved how old-school Disney it was. Sick of seeing animated movies like Epic, really.

  5. Interesting choice of fav Disney movies. You have a few of my favorites, like Lion King (probably my #1) Aladdin, and Mulan. I think all of my favorites would be Disney Renaissance films – Little Mermaid, Hunchback, Tarzan, and Beauty and the Beast to name a few.

    I should watch The Great Mouse Detective again – it’s been so many years and I barely remember it. I did see A Goofy Movie back when it was in theaters, but again, don’t remember much about it. I remember not liking it that much as a kid but maybe I’d like it better as an adult =P

    • Agh! Forgot Hunchback despite it being one of the creepiest kid movies ever, which I usually like. Haven’t seen it since I was 9 or so, so I should get to rewatching it sometime.