Top Ten … Animated Disney/Pixar Films!~
This is a personal list, so it is not my view what should be seen as the end all be all for Disney animated films, just my personal viewing.
Now if this list was created by my Disney-Fanatic girlfriend, The Little Mermaid would rank as #1, but this isn’t her list, it’s my list. Speaking of her…in case any of you would like to read about her love of Disney and running you can do so at The Final Forty [/ShamelessPlug] But for me The Little Mermaid was the first Disney film I ever saw. It came out in 1989, making me around 3 years old and my parents took me to see it, cause it’s a cartoon and I’m a little kid, so that math equals success for parents looking for an hour and half of rest. I didn’t get the meaning of the film; the only thing to resonate with me was the color, the animation and amazingly catchy songs.
Starting to catch a trend with these early two films? I’m a child of the 90’s, more so, I’m the generation of the Disney Renaissance. The time period of when Disney came back into prominence and regained control of being THE cartoon film company. Not only where their films making big money, but also putting out hit soundtracks, critical praise, and countless merchandise. Beauty and the Beast was the FIRST and still ONLY 2D animated feature film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. There is no mistake in that nomination, the film might be looked back at a story of Stockholm syndrome, but the music is fun, the story is engaging, and at the end of the day, Beauty and the Beast is a timeless classic that got the Disney treatment, which will live on and be the measuring stick of that classic tale.
If there is anything that defines a little boys childhood, or at least the little boys childhood that I once knew of and grew up with, it was cartoons and video-games. They didn’t always go hand in hand, sometimes they did, where there were some awesome video-games based off of cartoons, but rarely are there great video-game adaptations. But who knew the key was to adapt a fake game with hints of real ones to unlock the secret. Wreck-It Ralph is a simple story about a villain that wants to be a hero and his journey of getting that medal of success and the different style video-game characters along his journey.
That is all that needs to be said. That nearly ten minute love story about Carl and Ellie is probably the greatest example of Pixar’s talent at its absolute best. Smart, funny, touching, beautiful, and ultimately heart breaking.
This one stands out, because its not really a timeless classic like Beauty and the Beast, nor is it a Pixar classic, but this film to be was both in the sense classic Disney animation, mixed with new life. You had Goofy, a staple of Disney animation for over nearly 50 years at the point when this film came out and his son Max. This film ties in with the greatly underrated Disney cartoon series Goof Troop in terms of nostalgia overload for me. You have the simple story of a dad trying to relate and connect with his teenage son on a road trip, while the son is just trying to impress a girl. Disney takes the simple stories and make them great by the characters. Throw in a few catching songs, this is a very overlooked treasure hiding in the Disney vault.
What Toy Story meant to the 9 year old version of me, Toy Story 3 meant just as much to 24 year old version of myself. I knew from the get go because its Pixar, because its Toy Story, because its Woody and Buzz…this film was going to get to me on a personal and emotional level. It was about Andy growing up and leaving for college and leaving that part of himself that use to play with toys and …I know that. We lived that. Where at one point, playing with your toys just isn’t the priority anymore in life like it was when you were a kid. But it was much more, it was about how serious this film was, how when a bunch of CGI created characters come together, hold hands in the face of death and accept it…accept their fate and demise…and this happened in a “kids” film. That’s what Pixar does, they let you think you know what you want and then kick you in the stomach and tell you what you will accept and when you will cry like a baby.
For the longest period of time The Lion King was the highest grossing film out of all its animated features. By now you should be tired of hearing me saying “amazing songs” but during its renaissance period of the late 80’s to early 00’s, it felt like every animated movie came along with a hit soundtrack and amazing songs. Lion King is no different, but what I think separated TLK from all the other films was the story, an unique adaptation of Hamlet told with lions. Everyone shed a tear at the death of Mufasa. Everyone was talking about “Hakuna Matata” and how it meant no worries on the playground. And everyone secretly loved evil and devilish (and slightly gay) Scar and his Nazi-hyena army.
I was almost in awe after watching Wall-E in the theater. I knew instantly that I saw something that was not only creative film-making at its most imaginative, but something special that connected with me. I always wonder how people realize when a film is special enough to be their “favorite of all time” is it after one viewing? After many? Is it the characters or the writing? It was all of it for this film. This movie is 50% silent film and 50% futuristic robotic love story and it shouldn’t work, but it does. A mostly silent animated film shouldn’t work in today’s quick cutting world of film-making, but it does and it will live on for its beautiful imagery and characters.
Toy Story was my introduction to Pixar and I feel like that makes it even more special. Kids no a days have a catalog of about 12-13 Pixar films to watch at any given time. You grow up during the 2000’s when Pixar was hitting their stride of film-making, you could be introduced to any of the great ones…but my first introduction to Pixar and CGI animation was the measuring stick…it was Toy Story. It’s the most simple idea in the world and the one that resonates with kids and adults, what if your toys came to life when you weren’t around? That’s it, you didn’t need some over the top plot to pull the people in, just great writing and great voice acting. Woody and Buzz will live beyond the lives of the people that created them, because they are timeless characters.
Aladdin will always be my number one and it is just because… it was the first Disney film I remember connecting with. Aladdin came out in 1992, making me six years old and just the perfect age to watch (of the time) cutting edge special effects blended into traditional animation. Watching a flying carpet, a pop culture spewing genie and one of many Disney timeless love stories between a street rat and a princess. The songs are catchy; Princess Jasmine is unlike other princess where she strong female character that isn’t in desperate search of love, but just wanting freedom. Aladdin is the first time that young boys watching Disney films really had a true lead male character to connect with. I even dig the direct to video sequels that followed.