Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Must See Disney Movies

By Beryl Dalton

The Walt Disney Animation Studios, based in Burbank California is responsible for fifty-four Disney feature films. The first is a must see Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, hitting the silver screens in 1937. The most recent, Big Hero 6, released in 2014.

Disney movies fall into numerous genres, including musicals with catchy tunes such as the Jungle Book (1967) and Frozen (2013), traditional fairy stories (Cinderella (1950) and Sleeping Beauty (1959))and historical stories (Pocahontas (1995) or The Hunch-back of Notre Dame (1996)). The most popular however are the must see Disney feel-good animal tales (The Lady and the Tramp (1955), The Aristocats (1970)).

Characteristic of Disney are the movies where actors interact with the animated characters with such classics as Mary Poppins (1964), with Julie Andrews playing Mary. It is interesting that this movie is also famous for the most appalling English accent courtesy of Dick Van Dyke which is ironic as the author of the Mary Poppins books, upon which the film was based, had insisted all the actors should be English.

Another classic live action/animation movie was Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) where the lucky kids got to travel to Isle of Naboombu on their bed. I can't have been the only kid who turned the knob on my bedpost and hoped.

Disney movies appeal to both children and their parents, although naturally the biggest hits are those that appeal to adults as long-suffering parents are forced to watch these movies on a daily basis. A long list of A-list celebrities show their support for Disney by providing their voices for the characters. For example no one can forget the lively performance of Robin Williams in Aladdin (1992), or Whoopi Goldberg in The Lion King (1994).

Everyone has a favourite Disney movie, and not always one from their own childhood; just one that appealed, amused, or generally made the viewer feel good. A classic Disney movie is The Jungle Book (1967), with ridiculously catchy music which has survived the test of time. No one can fail to dance around to I wanna be like you. The latest musical is Frozen (2013), where Let it Go has been used in TV adverts in the UK, played on a loop through December 2014. Not the best Disney movie, but everyone should see Frozen just so they can see what the fuss is about.

Adventures are approached by Disney regularly and one of the most endearing and colourful example is Peter Pan with the ticking clock and the crocodile, and lots of flying and bounding through trees. No one can discuss Disney without mentioning the romances, which are many, although the one that sticks out as special is The Little Mermaid (1989) which tells the story of a man who falls in love with a mermaid and all the singing, and adventure that ensues. Beautiful, colourful scenes Under the Sea and some lovable characters.

Disney decided to tap a different audience with The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) which appealed to kids, adults and goths. This is the story of Jack Skeleton who kidnaps Santa to take over the Christmas holiday. A dark, macabre movie with great (if dreary) songs and an un-Disney appearance to it ensures this movie could only be successful.

This list is not definitive and is likely to change. As the audience matures the choice of favourite movie will change. With a choice of fifty-four movies (and counting) there will always be one or ten that stands out.

About the Author: